Most fertility problems are caused by hormonal imbalances. Clinical studies indicate that women who have unexplained infertility or those who are struggling to conceive after the age of 35 could be helped by getting their hormones back into balance. Some examples of hormonal imbalances are:
- An estrogen imbalance (usually excessive) can cause conditions such as fibroids and endometriosis, which cause problems within the uterus. An issue in the uterus can make implantation of the fetus difficult.
- The hormones FSH (Folicle Stimulating Hormone) and LH (Luteinizing Hormone) are responsible for ovulation. An imbalance in these hormones can reduce or stop menstruation altogether and make ovulation infrequent, giving you less chances to conceive.
- Men with low sperm counts often lack sufficient levels of testosterone to produce the millions of healthy motile sperm required to conceive a baby.
Fertility Prescription Medications
While there are many drugs on the market that work on hormone levels, they all have side effects. Some of these side effects are dangerous and can actually stop you from getting pregnant. For example Lupron can stop menstruation, and Clomid can cause Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. Clomid is a medication prescribed to women who are lacking in estrogen, thus making ovulation infrequent. Studies have indicated that women taking Clomid have a 20% chance of miscarriage and a 1% chance of stillbirth. There is also an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Similarly, Lupron can decrease sperm production and testicle size in men.
The Natural Approach
Thankfully there are natural alternatives to these drugs. There are herbs that have been used for hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of years to help men and women to conceive. Modern research has confirmed that these herbs work to help you conceive faster. Double-blind clinical studies put the herbs through the strictest and most vigorous testing.
Chaste Tree (Vitex)
Chaste Tree is used to balance the hormones and increase ovulation by increasing the release of progesterone, the hormone required for ovulation to take place. Also known as Chasteberry, Doctors at Stanford University School of Medicine found that it could increase progesterone levels by an average of 56% and increase the average number of days in the Luteal Phase with basal temperatures of over 37 degrees by 42% Researchers at Basel University, Switzerland found that the herb PMS symptoms by 42.5% over a period of 3 menstrual cycles, and double-blind placebo-controlled studies have proven that Chaste Tree contains compounds beneficial for regulating menstruation. 93% of women in one study noticed a decrease of PMS symptoms after talking Chaste Tree for just 3 months. An Austalian Reasearcher at the University of Queensland noted that Chaste Tree is sometimes used by Professional Practitioners to help women avoid miscarriage.
Green Tea (Matcha)
A 2006 double blind, placebo-controlled study carried out by Stanford University of Medicine found that mixing Green Tea extract with Chaste Tree and other vitamins and minerals normalized menstrual cycles in women with both long and short cycles, and resulted in 26% of the women becoming pregnant (compared to just 10% in the placebo group) making it a 260% increase in fertility. Another 2004 study which contained Green Tea and Chaste Tree extracts resulted in 33% of the women becoming pregnant (and none of the women in the placebo group managed to conceive). The Epigallocatechin Gallate in the Green Tea extract was reported in the Food Chemical Toxicology Journal to assist fetal development, as it protected animal fetus from toxicity.
The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Kwong Wah Hospital, Hong Kong reported use of Dong Quai to help infertile women to conceive. Dong Quai is used in Chinese Medicine for at least 2000 years to treat female reproductive problems including infertility, frequent miscarriage, ovarian function disorders, uterine cramping, fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, painful periods, heavy periods, amenoria. Dong Quai is rich in plant estrogens (phytoestrogens) which help to bring the body back into hormonal balance. It is also a good source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, choline, and iron.
Black Cohosh helps to balance estrogen levels and relieve menstrual complaints. A 2002 Biomedical Pharmacotherapy report showed that women taking a mixture of Black Cohosh and Dong Quai reduced menstrual symptoms by 54%. Unlike many estrogenic substances, Black Cohosh is safe for women with estrogen-related problems such as endometriosis and fibroids, as it does not stimulate endometrial tissue. Black Cohosh also has anti inflammatory and antioxidant benefits and protects against aging and DNA damage. This is particularly helpful for women who are over 35 or who have been exposed to toxicity.
Muira Puama has been used by indigenous cultures in South America for aphrodisiac purposes and this has been backed up by the The Institute of Sexology in Paris, which found that 65% of women with a low sex drive who took a blend of Muira Puama reported an increased libido. In the USA, herbalists use Muira Puama to ease menstrual disorders such as PMS, menstrual cramps, and to increase fertility. Muira Puama supports the central nervous system and has antidepressant qualities, helping you prepare mentally and emotionally for conception.
Siberian Ginseng has been used in Chinese Medicine to help the body to deal with both mentally and physically stressful situations, and to boost energy levels. It stimulates the endocrine system which contains all the glands responsible for fertility and hormone balance. Siberian Ginseng has anti-aging properties and is particularly useful for older women and it has been widely used as an aphrodisiac and as a general fertility tonic for both men and women. Siberian Ginseng also stimulates the flow of blood to the reproductive organs, and has been used to improve uterine muscles and boost the chances of successful implantation after conception.
Some people like to buy each herb separately and boil them up to three times a day. This will create a potent mixture of herbs that will help them get pregnant in the fastest time possible.
Steeping herbs in alcohol for a few days will create a tincture to be taken one per day.
You can purchase your herbs in capsule form from any natural health store, or even the supermarket. This is the most popular and most convenient way to ingest your fertility herbs.
Photo by LisaW123