Today I have a fabulous guest blog from Medical Herbalist Hannah Charman from Physic Health Consulting
Herbal Medicine For Hormone Balance
Many women will feel the need to work on hormone balance at some point in their lives, whether it
be during their reproductive years or around menopause. Hormone imbalance sits behind most
gynae disorders, including many cancers, but what are your options if you’d like to get back on
Obviously there are medications like oral contraceptives and HRT which artificially top up certain
hormones where there’s a relative shortage. Many women swear by these and get on really well
with them, and others have concerns about safety, ethics, and the environment when it comes to
hormone replacement. For those who are looking into alternatives, herbal medicine is an option well
worth looking into.
What Influences Hormone Levels?
Over the last few years we’ve found out that there are lots of factors which affect hormone balance
in both women and men. Many of them are fairly new in terms of our evolution, which might at least
partly explain why we’re noticing more gynae problems now than before. During our childbearing
years, our hormone levels naturally ebb and flow throughout each cycle, before changing as we
reach perimenopause. But despite that we’re seeing more problems like oestrogen receptive
cancers, indicating that we have more circulating oestrogen than we should have. Our levels of some
hormones seem permanently rather too high, or too low, causing a wide range of gynae problems.
Why Are Our Hormones So Out Of Balance Now?
There are lots of reasons why this can happen, including:
Chronic stress, which diverts the building blocks for either stress or reproductive hormones
mainly down the stress hormone route.
Poor digestion and elimination, leading to stress on the liver, which affects its ability to clear
Poor diet which encourages us to store fat, leading to insulin resistance and problems like PCOS.
Lack of exercise, which means that we don’t burn enough fat, and our lymphatics are not
able to carry hormones effectively.
Hormones in tap water which are excreted in the urine of women who take oral
contraceptives and HRT.
Chemicals in skincare products which upset hormone balance.
Lots of these factors come from our modern way of living, but fortunately there’s a lot we can do to
reduce our exposure to them. Changing our diet to one which encourages fat burning, getting more
exercise, and switching to clean skincare products are all good examples.
Herbal Medicine For Hormone Balance
Women have always had to deal with gynae problems of one kind or another, and making medicine
from herbs was a safe and useful way to help themselves. Where mainstream medicines force the
body into a state it wouldn’t otherwise be in, herbs tweak, nudge, and nourish us back to good
health. Our bodies recognise herbs as foods, so they’re generally very safe to use, but at the same
time we can’t assume that because something is natural it must be safe. Some herbs are not suitable
for use in certain conditions or alongside certain medications.
How Herbs Re-balance Hormones.
These herbs contain substances which have a weak hormonal activity in the body. There are a few
kinds and they all work slightly differently but are very effective at helping a woman to regain
balance. Phyto-oestrogens have also shown to help protect against oestrogen receptive cancers, as
they sit on the same receptors as real oestrogen, and stop it from entering the cells. Sage, fermented
soya, and flaxseed are all examples of plants which contain phyto-oestrogens.
The processes need to create and clear hormones are very much influenced by our stress levels. That
makes sense, because our inner cave woman would have found herself in life threatening situations
on a regular basis. It would have been unsafe and unwise to bring a baby into a dangerous
environment, so during times of extended stress, the hormone levels would change to make
conception more difficult. Whilst most of us are rarely in fear of our lives nowadays, these primeval
mechanisms are still there to protect us, and stress still upsets our hormone balance.
In my herbal medicine practice I often add nervine herbs to a prescription where hormone balance
needs to be restored. These herbs have a direct action upon the nervous system, helping to lift
depression, calm anxiety, or aid restful sleep. Chamomile, Valerian, and St John’s Wort are all
examples of nervine herbs.
These herbs work beautifully alongside nervines, but in a different way. Adaptogens are used to help
a person out of their stress response even when a stressful situation is still ongoing. They help us to
cope physically and mentally, taking the pressure off whichever organs are most affected. Where
stress will cause one person to have a flare up of their IBS, another will get migraines, and another
will get backpain. Our herbal presciptions are always made up specifically for each person according
to what’s going on for them, and we can indirectly influence hormone levels by reducing the impact
What Else Can Herbs Do?
As well as helping you to create the right hormones, in the right amounts, at the right time, herbs
can also be used to help clear out used hormones. By getting your lymphatics, liver and kidneys to
work at optimum levels, they can help avoid a build up of used hormones which can also upset the
Whilst some herbs can work in the background on redressing hormone levels, others can work on
the individual symptoms you may be experiencing. My dispensary contains specific herbs for pain,
cramping, heavy bleeding, migraines, and lots of other problems. They usually start working fairly
They can be safely used alongside any other medication you’re taking, but your Herbalist will go
through those with you and make sure they don’t give you any herbs that could interfere.
How Can I Find Out Whether Herbal Medicine Could Help Me?
Book a free call with me online at www.physichealth.uk
Or contact me using the details below:
T 07763 595879