Best Herbs for Hormonal Imbalance [Top 10]

Are you struggling with a hormonal imbalance due to your PCOS and you wondering if and what herbs you could be taking to improve your hormones?

Well, I’ve got you covered! I scoured the research for the top 10 best herbs for hormonal imbalance. This article will mainly discuss herbs that would be helpful for imbalances associated with PCOS.

In this post, I’ll tell you about the best herbs and foods you can incorporate into your routine to support your hormones, metabolic health, and fertility as it relates to PCOS. 

What is PCOS?

It is a group of symptoms related to hormonal imbalance including anovulatory cycles, high levels of androgen hormones, and irregular growths on the ovaries (1). 

PCOS affects fertility and metabolic function. People with this condition are at a high risk of many different illnesses including insulin resistance, sleep apnea, mood disorders, endometrial cancer, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease (1). 

How can herbs help?

Herbs can be helpful for many different reasons. Here are the most common things that herbs might be used for in PCOS. 

Increase ovulatory cycles

Many people with PCOS struggle with irregular periods due to infrequent ovulation. There are certain herbs that may be able to help with this (1). 

Anti-androgen effects

People with PCOS often have higher levels of certain androgens, such as testosterone (2). This can contribute to unwanted symptoms like acne and excess hair growth (3).

Improve glucose sensitivity 

PCOS is associated with an increased risk of insulin resistance. This is often an area that once improved can have a domino effect and improve ovulation, androgen levels, weight management, and regulating hormone levels (4). 

Promote FSH and decrease LH

It is common for people with PCOS to have lower levels of FSH and higher levels of LH, this is something that needs to be corrected (5). There are many different herbs that might be able to help with this. 

Best Herbs for Hormonal Imbalance

Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus castus)

This can also be known as chaste berry and it comes from a large shrub that is native to Europe (5). This herb can be useful for various hormonal imbalances including reduction of estrogen, PMS symptoms, increase ovulatory cycles, and reduce ovarian cyst formation (5). 

One study using a blend of Vitex, Maca, and active folate found that at the end of the study pregnancy rates increased, cysts on ovaries decreased, and cycles became more regulated (6). 

The main component of Vitex that is helpful for hormonal imbalance are the flavonoids (7). Flavonoids are natural substances found in many different plants that are known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, and anti-cancer properties (8). 

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia & cinnamomum verum)

Cinnamon is a pretty popular supplement for PCOS and is known for its beneficial effects on ovulation, insulin resistance, metabolic health, and reducing androgens (9). It is also rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (5). 

A systematic review found that people supplementing with cinnamon had an increase in their HDL cholesterol and a decrease in their triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and blood glucose (10). This same study also showed improvements to insulin sensitivity. 

Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

Turmeric is a spice that is frequently used in the Asian continent (5). It comes from a yellow root and can be used fresh, dried and ground, or in supplement form. 

One review found that intake of turmeric has beneficial effects on inflammation, lipid metabolism, weight loss, and glucose levels in people with PCOS (11). 

It has anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and antilipidemic properties making it a great option for PCOS (11). 

Spearmint (Mentha spicata)

Spearmint is widely used in teas and many different foods, but it is also useful as a remedy for PCOS symptoms. It is known for its anti-androgenic effects and effects on hirsutism in PCOS (12). 

Research shows that drinking two cups of spearmint tea daily can decrease testosterone levels and increase luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and estradiol (12). 

One study found that both spearmint and flaxseed extract supplementation decreased the number of cystic follicles in rats with PCOS (13). 

Flax (Linum usitatissimum)

Flaxseed is one of my most recommended foods to add into your diet for PCOS because of it’s wonderful benefits. Not only is it high in soluble fiber, but it is also rich in antioxidants, lignans, and 𝞪-linoleic acid (ALA) (14). 

One study found that those who supplemented with 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily along with lifestyle changes had significantly decreased levels of insulin resistance, triglycerides, inflammation and leptin compared with the control group (14). 

The above study is just one of many studies showing the benefits of flaxseed. Another study shows that flaxseed helped reduce hirsutism and increased weight loss (15). 

Black Cohosh ( Cimicifuga racemosae (L.) Nutt.)

Black cohosh may be effective for improving ovulation, increasing endometrial thickness, and improving rates of pregnancy for people with PCOS (16, 5). 

One review article shows that there are quality randomized controlled trials using black cohosh that showed a reduction in luteinizing hormone and increased pregnancy rates (17). 

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.)

Fenugreek is a type of fruit that may be helpful in reducing the size of ovarian cysts, improving hormones, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and liver function (18, 9). It works by reducing blood glucose and insulin resistance through a process that decreases and inhibits the activity of alpha amylase and sucrose (9). 

Many randomized trials involving a supplement called Furocyst have shown promising results in reducing cyst size, improving LH:FSH ratio, and improved menstrual regularity (18).

Green tea (Camellia sinensis)

Green tea extract has many benefits for people struggling with PCOS or other hormonal issues. It has been shown to decrease testosterone, increase progesterone and FSH, weight loss, and improvements in insulin and glucose (19, 20). 

The component that is mainly helpful in green tea is called epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG. One study notes that EGCG may be useful in the treatment of endometriosis, though more research is needed (21). It states that it may also enhance ovulation and decrease cyst formation.

Aloe Vera (Aloe arborescens)

Aloe vera can be beneficial for PCOS due to its high fiber content and phytosterols. This might help to reduce androgens and increase estrogen production (22). Aloe Vera may also help with insulin resistance and glucose sensitivity (22). 

It is important to note that most of the studies conducted with aloe vera have used rats, so further research is needed to make clear conclusions. 

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill)

Fennel is an estrogenic compound that has many benefits including antibacterial, antifungal, antithrombotic, anti-tumor, and anti-diabetic (7). 

In studies with rats with PCOS, both metformin and fennel extract showed improvements in progesterone levels, endometrial lining, and decreased estrogen levels (7). This means that fennel may have protective effects for the uterine lining (7). 

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many herbal supplements that can be very helpful for hormonal imbalances such as PCOS. Even though there are many that can be helpful, this does not mean you need to start taking all of them at once. 

Adding any type of supplement to your routine should be targeted for your specific needs. For this, you will need lab results and to work with a qualified healthcare professional. 
This article is not intended to substitute for individualized medical advice. I do see clients 1:1 and can help you decide what is best for you. Email me at [email protected] for more information.

Looking for more answers to your PCOS nutriton questions? Check out some of my posts below!

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