Herbs especially designed for women
Do men and women require different approaches to health and nutrition? Aside from the obvious differences, it’s only recently that researchers and conventional healthcare providers have tuned in to the subtle and not so subtle biological differences between the sexes.
That’s why when prescribing drugs, nutrition and specific treatment protocols, the “one-size-fits-all” method has traditionally served as the standard of care. This assembly line approach is a far cry from the individualized, patient-driven kind of care you’ll find in integrative medicine.
Still, researchers are beginning to explore in greater detail the extensive connections between sex hormone pathways and immunological, neurological, gastrointestinal and other systems. As a result, we’re beginning to uncover fascinating details about how men and women respond differently to illness, nutrition, pharmaceutical agents and other stimuli. For example, liver function in men and women differs in relation to separate gene expression, causing sex-based differences in hormone synthesis, drug metabolism and other actions.
Integrative medicine is all about you
The principles of integrative medicine dictate that we all have our own unique nutritional needs and require tailored strategies for optimal vitality. When it comes to women’s health, we can focus on certain areas where women tend to benefit from extra support. For example, women often gain from having more assistance with bone preservation, hormonal balance and the mood swings they can sometimes bring, as well as support for energy and vitality.
Through the ages, traditional healers and medical systems have recognized specific herbs and botanicals known to enhance women’s health and vitality, balance hormones, build bones, and promote vitality throughout all stages of a woman’s life. Here are a few time-honored herbal ingredients that have long been revered as treasured healers for various aspects of women’s health.
Black Cohosh root has long been used by Native Americans to ease menstrual cramping and symptoms associated with menopause, including hot flashes.
Motherwort has been used to regulate both menstruation and menopause. It also supports heart health.
Peony root can ease premenstrual syndrome, as well as supporting heart health and liver detoxification.
Cordyceps is a relatively rare medicinal mushroom found in Asia, and helps in balancing stress hormones, supporting cardiovascular function and boosting energy.
Horsetail herb is useful for bone building and overall musculoskeletal health.
Dong Quai is a traditional Asian herb used to balance estrogen levels, nourish the body, treat iron deficiency, ease menstrual cramps, combat stress and aid detoxification, among other benefits.
Oat straw is a powerful herb used to relieve menstrual cramps, stabilize moods, nourish the body, support bone health, and improve libido.
Chasteberry is an excellent hormone tonic for women, which helps to normalize the activity of the pineal gland, regulating the balance of estrogen and progesterone in the body. It supports fertility, relieves PMS, and helps with menopausal symptoms including hot flashes, irregular cycles and depression. It also supports treatment of uterine fibroids, breast cysts and endometriosis.
Cranberry contains a molecule known as non-dialyzable material which prevents bacterial and viral infections from taking hold in body. It’s particularly useful for women in protecting against bladder infections.
Saw Palmetto can be used to help treat bladder infections, reduce the effects of polycystic ovary syndrome, treat menopausal symptoms, and help treat hair loss.
In addition to targeted supplementation, it’s important to examine the big picture. What are you eating and how will that affect your overall health? As a general rule, stick to lean proteins, healthy fats, and lots of fruits and vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables are particularly helpful as they can modulate estrogen metabolism and inhibit hormone related cancers such as breast cancer.
Be active. Walk, run, lift weights, attend yoga classes. Exercise improves hormone balance, cardiovascular, metabolic and bone health, and improves mood. It staves off heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia and other chronic illnesses.
Incorporate mindfulness into your daily practice. Calming the mind resets our stress levels, helping us maintain a lower baseline of circulating stress hormones.
For targeted nutritional support, I recommend a couple of unique formulas to provide tailored nourishment and support for women throughout all stages of life. One is a botanical-nutrient formula specifically for reproductive-age women. Another is a similar formula for menopausal and post-menopausal women. These comprehensive nutritional blends combine unique botanicals and nutrients to support multiple aspects of women’s health. They include targeted ingredients to promote areas of health such as hormone balance, immunity, musculoskeletal health, vision, cognitive function, cardiovascular wellness and more.
Science is just beginning to understand some of the unique differences in men and women’s intricate biological systems. Once we apply this information to our individualized wellness programs, we can further enhance the foundation of vitality and promote optimal long-term wellness naturally.