Hormones are chemical signaling agents produced by different endocrine glands that help us regulate our biological functions.
They are complex molecules, since some of them even have opposite effects antagonists.
For example, insulin is secreted by the pancreatic beta cells and other glucagon hormone secreted by alpha cells of the pancreas. They form an antagonistic couple.
When sugar levels in the blood are high after a meal, insulin helps the sugar is absorbed into cells and liver, thus reducing glucose levels in blood.
When glucose levels in blood are too low, glucagon is activated, converting and storing glycogen in the liver and glucose released into the bloodstream.
Similarly, the hormone ghrelin – the hormone called hunger for obvious reasons – has an analog antagonist of leptin hormone associated with satiety.
When we have been without food for a long time, ghrelin levels increase, giving us hungry.
When we eat, ghrelin levels are reduced and leptin levels increase, suppressing the feeling of hunger. As you can see, our endocrine system helps us to maintain a balance between the different hormones.
The pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands, ovaries in women and testes in men, secrete a variety of hormones with different actions.
When all are perfectly balanced, we enjoy good health.
However, several factors such as disease, changes in the environment and in the body, changes in diet, etc., can lead to imbalances that produce undesirable symptoms and disorders.
Since the actions of hormones still not fully understood, it is very difficult to treat these hormonal imbalances in the traditional way.
But there are certain herbs that have a balancing effect on hormones, although not fully understood exactly how they work.
These herbs usually have a beneficial effect on general health and well-being of a person.
These herbs are known as the adaptogenic because they help the body adapt to changes in the environment, as well as metabolic changes in the body.
The following are some of the best herbs to balance hormones.
Commonly known as milk vetch, this herb is used in Chinese medicine to treat a wide variety of health problems, including heart disease, liver problems, infections of the upper respiratory tract and asthma.
Now anti-aging effect is commonly used for its immune stimulating action, as well.
2. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha is a popular herb in the Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine.
Its comprehensive action on the endocrine system makes it an excellent adaptogen.Ashwagandha has a balancing effect on the adrenal glands and thyroid.
People with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism benefited from taking Ashwagandha extract.
Ashwagandha plant can reduce stress, improve blood circulation and prevent premature aging.
It is considered an aphrodisiac, and is used to treat erectile dysfunction in men. A similar effect performed on women, since some increase blood flow to the reproductive organs suffer.
3. The root of maca (Lepidium meyenii)
The root of this plant belonging to the family turnip sprouts called Peruvian ginseng.
The root of high nutritional value is used as a vegetable, and consumed in haute cuisine.It is believed that this plant increases energy, strength and endurance provided.
Athletes now used maca root powder to increase resistance. The effect of this root hormone provides additional benefits such as stress relief.
Maca root has plant hormones that confer special benefits to women, such as relief of symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and as hot flushes and night sweats of menopause.
4. American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)
American ginseng is a true ginseng, although it has a smoother, more controlled compared with Chinese ginseng action.
It is compatible with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA), which helps maintain the correct hormonal balance.
American Ginseng works by strengthening the immune system and relieves stress.
5. Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens)
Berry Saw palmetto is used in herbal medicine to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Taking this herb can help increase sperm count and reduce chronic fatigue. Relieves stress and improves immune function as well.
6. Tribulus (Tribulus terrestris)
Generally considered as an aphrodisiac, the extract of this plant is used in systems of Indian and Chinese medicine for the treatment of male reproductive problems, including a low sperm count.
Instead of increasing the production of testosterone or other male sex hormones, it is believed that this plant stimulates androgen receptors in the brain which results in a better utilization of these hormones.
A component known as Protodioscin Tribulus can help increase DHEA levels in men, which can help with erectile dysfunction and increase fertility.
7. Epimedium (Epimedium spp.)
The herb Epimedium or horny goat weed is widely used in Chinese medicine to treat a variety of health problems such as osteoporosis, coronary heart disease, hypertension, memory loss, joint pain, etc.
8. Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus)
This Mediterranean bush has a long history being used to female reproductive health.
As its common name suggests, the leaf extract of vitex was previously used to dampen libido and help women.
Similarly, an extract of low concentration increases prolactin levels, while a decrease is observed in hormone levels with higher doses.
Vitex extract acts on the pituitary gland to various hormones such as estrogen, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone and prolactin regulates.
9. Sum (Pfaffia paniculata)
Suma is a native American plant commonly called Brazilian Ginseng, although it is not related to the true ginseng.
The root extract of this herb is known to normalize endocrine function, enhance immunity, and increase strength and performance.
In his native land, Suma is known as a “cure all” and is used to treat a number of ailments besides being used as a general tonic and calming agent.
10. Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa)
Black cohosh has been used by Native Americans to treat many conditions associated with female fertility.
Studies have shown that certain components in black cohosh may act like estrogen in the brain, and may have a similar effect on the reproductive system.
In fact, many menopausal women find black cohosh highly beneficial in reducing symptoms associated with estrogen deficiency.