Ovulation is the stage of the menstrual cycle during which a mature egg is released from the ovary into the fallopian tube and is available for fertilization. Usually, one egg is released per ovulation cycle and the egg can survive for 12 to 24 hours after leaving the ovary. If the sperm does not fertilize the egg during this period, the egg disintegrates and gets absorbed into the uterine lining. Ovulation occurs naturally in most women. However, for women who are finding it difficult to get pregnant due to irregular ovulation, certain herbs may help them conceive.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil (EPO) supplements are made from the oil extracted from the seeds of evening primrose or Oenothera biennis plant. EPO is rich in essential fatty acids such as linoleic acid and gama-linoleic acid and is recommended by the website Home Remedies to increase fertility. It should be taken from the inception of the menstrual cycle to ovulation to increase fertility but should be discontinued after ovulation as it may lead to uterine contractions and cause abortion. EPO also helps increase the quality of the cervical fluid which helps the sperm survive longer in the female reproductive tract. EPO is generally safe to use, although mild side effects such as nausea, stomach pain, and headache may occur. It may also interact with certain medications. Hence, it is best to talk to a doctor before using it.
Flaxseed oil comes from the seeds of Linum usitatissimum or flax plant and is available in liquid and capsule form. It is a rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids that help maintain the overall health of women and thereby, improve fertility, says Jorge Chavarro in the book "The Fertility Diet." Flaxseed oil also contains phytohormones and lignans that help balance the hormone levels within the body and regulate the menstrual cycle and ovulation. The supplements may lead to gastric disturbances. They may also interfere with certain medications. Hence, flaxseed supplements should not be used without the supervision of a doctor.
The dried fruit of vitex or Vitex agnus castus plant is used to make the vitex supplements which may help regulate hormone production in the pituitary gland and rectify ovulation irregularities. Vitex supplements may, however, cause side effects such as diarrhea, acne, stomach cramps and headache. Severe allergic reactions may also occur. Dosage depends upon the age and the overall condition of the patient. Drugs.com also recommends talking to a doctor diagnose the actual cause of irregular ovulation before using vitex.
Unkei-to has been used in traditional Japanese medicine to treat female fertility problems. In fact, according to an article published in a 2003 edition of the "American Journal of Chinese Medicine," Unkei-to can help improve gonadotropin and estradiol levels in women with irregular ovulation. Like other herbs, Unkei-to may lead to side effects and drug interactions as well. Hence, talk to your doctor before using it.
Tori Hudson, author of the book "Women's Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine," says that green tea stimulates sex hormone-binding globulin, which can lower the estrogen and androgen levels in the body. This can correct the underlying hormone problem and induce ovulation. Overuse of green tea may, however, lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and headache. Women with psychological disorders, stomach ulcers, and kidney disorders should consult a doctor before drinking green tea.
- Home Remedies: Women Infertility Natural Treatment
- "The Fertility Diet: Groundbreaking Research Reveals Natural Ways to Boost Ovulation and Improve Your Chances of Getting Pregnant"; Jorge Chavarro, et al; 2009
- Drugs.com: Vitex Extract
- "The American Journal of Chinese Medicine"; Effects of Unkei-to on FSH, LH and Estradiol in Anovulatory Young Women with Hyperor Hypo-Functioning Conditions; Takahisa Ushiroyama, et al; 2003
- "Women's Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine: Alternative Therapies and Integrative Medicine for Total Health and Wellness"; Tori Hudson; 2007