A miscarriage, also known medically as a spontaneous abortion, is the natural loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. Miscarriages occur for a range of reasons, including illness, infection, and hormonal or genetic abnormalities. After a miscarriage you may experience infertility, or irregular or delayed menstruation due to an imbalance between the reproductive hormones progesterone and estrogen. Herbs may help you correct the imbalance between these hormones naturally. Consult your health care provider before starting herbal treatment to balance your hormones after a miscarriage.
Herbs that balance hormones work in various ways. Herbal hormone normalizers, also called amphoterics, may affect your endocrine system and set off a chain of hormonal events that lowers high hormonal levels and raises levels that are too low. Some herbs may also contain chemicals that act on receptors to mimic hormones and regulate hormone levels. Check with a qualified practitioner for advice about safe dosage and preparation of these herbs.
Black cohosh, or Cimicifuga racemosa, is a perennial herbs with a long history as a remedy for menstrual and menopausal disorders. Black cohosh is a hormone normalizer that can mimic estrogen and alleviate estrogen deficits. The roots and rhizomes are rich in isoflavonoids and triterpenoids. In their 2009 book, “Medicinal Plants of the World,” botanist Ben-Erik van Wyk and biologist Michael Wink state that these plant chemicals act as estrogen receptor modulators. Naturopathic doctors Asa Hershoff and Andrea Rotelli explain in their 2001 book, “Herbal Remedies,” that black cohosh normalizes your menstrual cycle after a miscarriage. Do not use this herb if you are pregnant or nursing.
Wild yam, or Dioscorea villosa, is a climbing vine whose rhizomes are rich in steroidal saponins, chemicals that provide the natural starting material for estrogen and progesterone. Herbalists use wild yam to treat menstrual pain, and uterine and ovarian pain. Wild yam binds to progesterone receptors, increasing progesterone and reducing the effects of estrogen. Naturopathic doctors Asa Hershoff and Andrea Rotelli state that it helps correct a low progesterone, high estrogen ratio. If you suffer from infertility, or your periods are scanty or absent after miscarriage, wild yam may help restore hormonal balance and treat these conditions naturally. Do not use this herb during pregnancy.
Vitex, or Vitex agnus-castus, is a European shrub with lilac flowers and berries. Herbalists use the berries to treat gynecological problems, such as menstrual pain, breast pain, menopausal symptoms and PMS. The berries affect the pituitary gland, which regulates hormone production. In his 2003 book, “Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine,” clinical herbalist David Hoffmann, FNIMH, AHG, notes that vitex will correct any progesterone deficiency. Naturopathic doctors Asa Hershoff and Andrea Rotelli explain that vitex rebalances the estrogen-to-progesterone ratio, which can be upset after miscarriage. Do not combine this herb with hormone replacement therapy.
- “Medicinal Plants of the World”; Ben-Erik van Wyk and Michael Wink; 2009
- “Herbal Remedies”; Asa Hershoff, N.D., and Andrea Rotelli, N.D.; 2001
- “Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine”; David Hoffmann; 2003