Many women, especially post-menopausal women, have lowered estrogen levels. Estrogen is the female sex hormone associated with reproduction and menstrual cycles. It is produced in the ovaries and naturally decreases over time. Low estrogen levels are associated with infertility, irregular ovulation and missed periods. The conventional medical approach includes hormone replacement therapy and dietary modifications. In addition, there are herbs that are recognized for their ability to raise estrogen levels naturally.
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Black cohosh is one of the most common herbal treatments for menstrual irregularities and post-menopausal symptoms. It has been used for centuries by herbalists to treat a variety of female disorders. It has also been widely studied in Europe, and black cohosh extract, or Cimicifuga racemosa, is commonly prescribed in Germany. It contains a natural precursor to estrogen. Holistic Online, an online herbal directory, recommends 250 to 500 mg or 1 tsp. of liquid extract daily for therapeutic use.
Although chaste berry was traditionally used to control libido in women, it does not appear to affect the sex drive of post-menopausal women. It is used by herbalists to treat gynecological problems, PMS, heavy or suppressed periods, infertility and swelling of the breasts. It does stimulate the pituitary gland, and Clayton College of Natural Health warns that it should not be taken with oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy.
Damiana, as its name suggests, is a natural aphrodisiac. It contains natural estrogens, and, according to the CCNH Herb Guide, aids in ovulation and helps balance hormones in both sexes. It is beneficial in combating exhaustion, and may increase sexual prowess. It has also been used traditionally by herbalists to treat menopausal hot flashes. The dosage for damiana varies, depending on the reason it is taken. Check with your natural health practitioner for proper dosing.
Licorice contains phytoestrogens. It stimulates adrenal glands and supports the endocrine system. Herbalists use it to treat a variety of conditions, including menstrual and menopausal disorders. It should be used with caution as it is a mild laxative and may even increase blood pressure. Do not take licorice for long periods of time, or if you are currently taking blood pressure medication. The amount taken varies with individuals. Check with your natural health practitioner for the amount that is right for you.
Evening primose contains natural prostaglandins and nourishes the ovaries. It is also useful for PMS, fibrocystic disease, and ovarian disorders. It has been used by herbalists to treat both pre-menopausal and menopausal symptoms. When used with red raspberry leaf, it is believed to help induce labor, and therefore, should not be taken except later in pregnancy. Jessica Hudson of Maternity Corner recommends 500 mg, twice per day, to prepare the cervix for labor.