12 Best Herbs to Improve Women’s Fertility Naturally
Your fertility depends on your body being healthy and receptive to conception. Reproductive health issues can stem from a number of things including endometriosis, estrogen imbalance, ovarian cysts, stress, uterine fibroids, and even egg health, and there are many herbs that will help balance and heal these issues so you can get your body in shape and ready to conceive in the healthiest way.
You should always consult with your physician before mixing herbs with medications so you can be sure of taking them in a responsible way. With that in mind, we’ve gathered the top 10 herbs from around the globe known for their proven benefits to reproductive health.
Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium or lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterine cavity. It can cover the ovaries, bowels and tissues that line the pelvis causing complications. Because it reacts the same way during your period as the endometrium – shedding once a month – it will break apart and bleed. It can lead to ovarian cysts and cause discomfort, inflammation, painful periods and sex, and bleeding between periods. It may run in families and can affect women from all backgrounds, and it can cause difficulty if you’re trying to become pregnant because excess endometrial tissue may be preventing the egg from entering the Fallopian tube by blocking the passageway.
Although technically it’s not an herb, bee propolis is one of the most effective treatments for endometriosis, a common issue with infertility. In case you don’t know exactly what bee propolis is, it’s a resinous mixture made from tree sap, tree buds, leaves and other sources that bees formulate and use to seal the openings in their hives.
Endometriosis can cause pain, scar tissue and adhesion formation that may be triggered by inflammation. Bee propolis has been found to be highly anti-inflammatory and contains immuno-modulating properties which keep the mother’s immune system from rejecting the fetus.
If you’re allergic to bees or honey, avoid all bee products as side effects can be severe and life threatening.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpureaangustifolia) flower, root and seed
Endometriosis may also be the result of an overreaction to the immune system. Echinacea balances the immune system and helps regulate immune responses limiting flare-ups of endometrial tissue overgrowth.
Note: Do not take echinacea if you have pollen allergies.
Burdock (Arctiumlappa) root
This nourishing root helps cleanse the liver. It balances hormones so it removes any excess estrogen that may come from the liver, allowing the rest of your body to maintain the proper levels of this hormone.
Red Clover (Trifoliumpratense) aerial parts, blossom
Red clover is one of the most nourishing herbs due to its rich mineral content, particularly fertility-essential magnesium and calcium. It purifies the blood and helps the liver detoxify environmental pollutants, an important step in pre-pregnancy planning. And because it’s also rich in phytoestrogens or natural plant estrogens, it fights against and protects the body from toxic xenohormones (manmade chemicals that mimic natural hormones but can have a detrimental effect on the body’s hormonal balance).
Stinging nettle tones and nourishes the uterus, promotes kidney strength and balances adrenal glands. It’s extremely high in vitamin K which supports vitamin D, and helps to increase breast milk production.
Black haw (Viburnum prunifolium)
When the uterine spasms or contracts without dilating, you run the risk of miscarrying or expulsing the fetus from the womb before it can survive on its own. If you have previously suffered a miscarriage or are at a high risk for doing so, this plant is extremely effective at reducing your risk because it can stop uterine muscle spasms. Cramp bark (Viburnum opulus) works the same way.
It’s important to mention that you should avoid both black haw and cramp bark when you are at 8-9 months. By that time, your baby should be normally developed and can survive early delivery if necessary.
Wild yam (Dioscoreavillosa) root
Wild yam has been used to treat uterine spasms and can be continued during the first trimester to treat extreme nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
Tribulus(Tribulusterrestris) aerial parts and fruit
This extraordinary plant works to normalize ovulation so you can become pregnant. It should be used prior to your expected ovulation so you’ll need to keep track if you aren’t already doing so.
In a study of 36 women who were considered infertile due to lack of ovulation, 67% of study subjects were able to maintain normal ovulation after 2-3 months of taking tribulus on a consistent basis. It’s considered to be an overall tonic for the entire female reproductive system.
Chaste tree berry or Vitex (Vitexagnus-castus) dried berries
This plant works to regulate hormones and balance them, improving the hormonal feedback loop. It helps regulation ovulation, something which depends on hormones, and promotes a regular menstrual cycle.
Ashwagandha (Withaniasomnifera) root
Healthy eggs require a clean system, hormonal balance and good circulation to the reproductive organs. If you’re under stress, Ashwagandha calms the nerves and supports the endocrine system, both key factors in maintaining healthy eggs and regulating their responsiveness.
This nourishing root is an excellent endocrine system regulator. It helps the function of the pituitary, adrenal and thyroid glands and balances hormones lessening the effects of stress on the body and increasing the overall health of your eggs.
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) aerial parts
Alfalfa is a grass that’s high in vitamins and minerals and contributes to eliminating and fighting against the effects of xenohormones. It also acts to combat dryness and maintain muscle flexibility, an important feature in vaginal health.
Unfortunately, alfalfa is among the top 5 GMO foods, so conventionally grown alfalfa and sprouts are not recommended. Look for organic alfalfa sprouts at a health food store or grow your own from organic seeds. Some health food stores sell kits with starter seeds and soil in a container designed for sprouting.