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Home/Blog/32 Herbs for Supporting Women's Health

32 Herbs for Supporting Women's Health

By Christine Ruggeri

May 13, 2024

Herbs for women's health

In the pursuit of holistic wellness, women have long turned to the health-promoting powers of nature. Herbs, with their potential health-supporting properties, can offer benefits for various aspects of women's health.

From hormonal to life-stage interests, these botanical wonders have been cherished for centuries for their ability to help promote overall well-being, and it’s why herbal supplements are often among the best supplements for women to take.

Women's bodies are marvels of nature, undergoing normal hormonal shifts throughout life. From menstrual cycles to pregnancy, perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause, these changes can bring a range of experiences.

Dietary and lifestyle choices, including the use of herbs, can help offer a gentle way to support your well-being during these transitions. Some of the herbs below are included in Ancient Nutrition's Women’s Hormone Balance supplement that's designed to support balanced hormones.

As always, however, you should consult your healthcare professional prior to beginning any new dietary or lifestyle regimen, including the use of herbs.

How Women May Benefit from Herbs

Women experience a multitude of physical changes throughout their lives, from puberty to menopause and beyond. Hormonal fluctuations, menstrual cycles, fertility interests and the stresses of daily life can all impact women. Fortunately, a healthy diet and lifestyle, including regular exercise, adequate rest, stress reduction and herbs offer a gentle yet effective way to help support women's health through these transitions.

According to research published Pharmacological Reviews, some ways women use herbs and botanicals include to help with:

Best Herbs for Women

1. Chaste Tree Berry (Vitex agnus-castus)

  • What it is: Chaste tree berry, also known as Vitex, is derived from the Mediterranean plant Vitex agnus-castus.

  • How it may help: This herb is renowned for its ability to help promote healthy hormones, making it potentially beneficial for menstrual support and more, according to research published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

  • Recommended amount: Typically taken as a standardized extract, recommended amounts vary but commonly range from 150–300 mg per day. Read and follow all label directions for use.

2. Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis)

  • What it is: Dong quai, often referred to as "female ginseng," is a staple in

    Chinese herbalism.

  • How it may help: Known for its tonifying effects on the female reproductive system, dong quai is prized for its ability to help promote healthy menstruation and to help support overall reproductive health.

  • Recommended amount: Typically consumed as a tea or in capsule form, recommended amounts can vary, but a common recommendation is 1–2 grams of the dried root per day. Read and follow all label directions for use.

3. Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa)

  • What it is: Black cohosh is a perennial plant native to North America.

  • How it may help: This herb is renowned for helping to support women’s reproductive health, including during menopause.

  • Recommended amount: Standardized extracts containing 20–40 mg of black cohosh are commonly recommended, taken once or twice daily. Read and follow all label directions for use.

4. Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus)

  • What it is: Red raspberry leaf is derived from the leaves of the raspberry plant.

  • How it may help: Rich in vitamins and minerals, red raspberry leaf is traditionally used to help support uterine health, healthy menstruation and to help tone the pelvic muscles (in addition to specific pelvic floor exercises).

  • Recommended amount: As a tea, steep 1–2 teaspoons of dried leaf in hot water for 10–15 minutes, and drink up to three times daily. Read and follow all label directions for use.

5. Evening Primrose Oil (Oenothera biennis)

  • What it is: Evening primrose oil is extracted from the seeds of the evening primrose plant.

  • How it may help: High in gamma-linolenic acid, evening primrose oil is valued for its ability to help promote healthy skin and support hormonal balance.

  • Recommended amount: Typically taken in capsule form, dosage can vary, but a common recommendation is 500–1,000 mg per day. Read and follow all label directions for use.

6. Maca Root (Lepidium meyenii)

  • What it is: Maca root is a cruciferous vegetable native to the Andes Mountains of Peru.

  • How it may help: Known as an adaptogen, maca root helps the body adapt to stress, supports energy levels and promotes hormonal balance, often making it particularly beneficial for women experiencing normal perimenopause or menopause.

  • Recommended amount: Typically consumed as a powder or in capsules, recommended amounts vary, but a common starting dose is 1,500–3,000 mg per day. Read and follow all label directions for use.

7. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

  • What it is: Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, is an adaptogenic herb native to India.

  • How it may help: Ashwagandha helps with balancing cortisol levels, promoting a healthy response to stress and promoting adrenal health, making it valuable for women experiencing occasional stress or who may want support for more restful sleep. .

  • Recommended amount: Typically taken in capsule or powder form, recommended amounts can vary, but a common recommendation is 300–500 mg of standardized extract per day. Ancient Nutrition's Organic Ashwagandha supplement supports healthy energy and helps your body fight the effects of stress. Read and follow all label directions for use.

8. St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

  • What it is: St. John's wort is a flowering plant native to Europe and Asia.

  • How it may help: This herb is prized for its positive mindset-promoting properties and is commonly used to help promote an overall healthy outlook.

  • Recommended amount: Standardized extracts containing 0.3% hypericin are commonly recommended, with typical amounts ranging from 300–900 mg per day. Read and follow all label directions for use.

9. Sage (Salvia officinalis)

  • What it is: Sage is a culinary herb native to the Mediterranean region.

  • How it may help: Sage is known for its ability to help support a healthy journey through normal menopause, making it a popular supplement for menopausal women.

  • Recommended amount: As a tea, steep 1–2 teaspoons of dried sage leaves in hot water for 10-15 minutes, and drink up to three times daily. Read and follow all label directions for use.

10. Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

  • What it is: Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant native to South Asia.

  • How it may help: Rich in healthy inflammation-supporting compounds, turmeric helps to support joint health, joint comfort and more.

  • Recommended dosage: Typically taken as a supplement or incorporated into culinary dishes, amounts can vary, but a common recommendation is 500–2,000 mg of turmeric extract per day. Read and follow all label directions for use.

11. Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)

  • What it is: Fenugreek is an annual herb native to the Mediterranean region.

  • How it may help: Fenugreek seeds contain compounds that can help promote healthy, normal lactation in breastfeeding women, promote healthy menstrual cycles, support the journey through menopause, and support digestive health.

  • Recommended amount: Common amounts include 1–2 capsules (around 500–1000 mg) taken 2–3 times daily or steeping 1–2 teaspoons of fenugreek seeds in hot water to make a tea. Read and follow all label directions for use.

12. Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

  • What it is: Red clover is a perennial herb commonly found in meadows and grasslands.

  • How it may help: Red clover contains isoflavones, which are phytoestrogens that may help promote a healthy, normal menopausal transition. It's also believed to support cardiovascular health.

  • Recommended amount: Typically consumed as a tea, amounts can vary, but a common recommendation is steeping 1–2 teaspoons of dried red clover flowers in hot water for 10–15 minutes and drinking up to three times daily. Read and follow all label directions for use.

13. Ginseng (Panax)

  • What it is: Ginseng refers to several species of plants in the Panax genus, including Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius).

  • How it may help: Ginseng is an adaptogenic herb that helps the body adapt to stress and supports energy levels. It may also support healthy cognitive function, libido and hormonal balance.

  • Recommended amount: Amounts can vary depending on the type of ginseng and individual needs. Typically taken as a standardized extract or in capsule form, dosage recommendations vary, but a common starting dose is 200–400 mg per day. Read and follow all label directions for use.

14. Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)

  • What it is: Shatavari is a species of asparagus native to India and Sri Lanka.

  • How it may help: In traditional cultures, shatavari is revered as a rejuvenating herb for women, supporting reproductive health, menstrual regularity and menopausal transition. It's also believed to have adaptogenic properties that help manage stress.

  • Recommended amount: Typically taken as a powder, capsule or in liquid form, dosage can vary, but a common recommendation is 500–1000 mg per day. Read and follow label directions for use.

15. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)

  • What it is: Chamomile is a flowering plant belonging to the Asteraceae family.

  • How it may help: Chamomile has calming properties, making it beneficial for helping relieve and soothe the body, support a healthy response to stress, and promote better sleep.

  • Recommended amount: Chamomile tea is a popular way to consume this herb. Steep 1–2 teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers in hot water for 5–10 minutes, and drink up to three times daily as needed. Read and follow all label directions for use.

16. Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

  • What it is: Peppermint is a hybrid mint plant, a cross between watermint and spearmint.

  • How it may help: Peppermint has cooling and soothing properties, making it useful for helping relieve discomfort, to promote healthy digestion and more.

  • Recommended amount: Peppermint tea is a popular choice. Steep 1–2 teaspoons of dried peppermint leaves in hot water for 5–10 minutes, and drink up to three times daily as needed. Read and follow label directions for use.

17. Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum)

  • What it is: Flaxseed is a small, brown seed rich in omega-3 fatty acids and lignans.

  • How it may help: Flaxseed is a source of phytoestrogens, which may help balance hormone levels in women. It's also rich in fiber, which supports digestive health, and omega-3 fatty acids, which have many beneficial properties.

  • Recommended amount: Ground flaxseed can be added to smoothies, yogurt or oatmeal. A common recommendation is 1–2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed per day. Read and follow all directions for use.

18. Ginkgo Biloba (Ginkgo biloba L.)

  • What it is: Ginkgo biloba is a tree native to China, known for its fan-shaped leaves and beneficial properties.

  • How it may help: Ginkgo biloba may help promote healthy blood circulation, cognition and an overall positive outlook. It may also support eye health, healthy menses, and the transition to menopause.

  • Recommended amount: Typically taken as a standardized extract or in capsule form, dosage recommendations vary, but a common dose is 120–240 mg per day. Read and follow label directions for use.

19. Garlic (Allium sativum)

  • What it is: Garlic is a member of the onion family, prized for its culinary and health uses.

  • How it may help: Garlic has properties that may help promote normal, healthy immune system function and support cardiovascular health. It may also have normal hormonal-supporting benefits.

  • Recommended amount: Garlic can be consumed raw, cooked or as a supplement. A common recommendation is 2–4 cloves of raw garlic per day or a daily supplement providing 600–1,200 mg of garlic extract. Read and follow all label directions for use.

20. Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)

  • What it is: Echinacea is a genus of herbaceous plants in the daisy family, native to North America.

  • How it may help: Echinacea is commonly used to support proper healthy immune system function. It also has properties that support overall well-being.

  • Recommended amount: Echinacea supplements are available in various forms, including capsules, tinctures and teas. Recommended amounts can vary, but a common recommendation is 300–500 mg of echinacea extract taken 2–3 times daily. Read and follow all directions for use.

21. Valerian Root (Valeriana officinalis)

  • What it is: Valerian is a perennial flowering plant native to Europe and Asia.

  • How it may help: Valerian is known for its relaxing properties, making it beneficial for helping promote relaxation and promoting restful sleep. It may also help alleviate tension.

  • Recommended amount: Valerian supplements are available in capsule or tincture form. Dosage can vary, but a common recommendation is 300–600 mg of valerian extract taken 1–2 hours before bedtime for sleep support. Read and follow all label directions for use.

22. Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)

  • What it is: Cranberry is a small, tart fruit native to North America.

  • How it may help: Cranberries contain compounds called proanthocyanidins, which may help promote a healthy urinary tract and lining. They also have antioxidant properties and may support cardiovascular health.

  • Recommended amount: Cranberry supplements are available in capsule or tablet form. Recommended amounts can vary, but a common recommendation is 500–1,500 mg of cranberry extract taken daily. Read and follow all label directions for use.

23. Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulus)

  • What it is: Cramp bark is a deciduous shrub native to Europe and North America.

  • How it may help: Cramp bark is traditionally used to help promote healthy muscles, including during menstruation. It has properties that help relax smooth muscle tissue.

  • Recommended amount: Cramp bark is commonly consumed as a tea or in tincture form. Amounts can vary, but a common recommendation is steeping 1–2 teaspoons of dried cramp bark in hot water for 10–15 minutes and drinking up to three times daily as needed for relief. Read and follow all label directions for use.

24. Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)

  • What it is: Milk thistle is a flowering herb native to the Mediterranean region.

  • How it may help: Milk thistle contains a compound called silymarin, which has antioxidant properties. It is commonly used to support liver health and normal built-in detoxification processes.

  • Recommended amount: Milk thistle supplements are available in capsule or tincture form. Amounts can vary, but a common recommendation is 200–400 mg of milk thistle extract taken 1–3 times daily for healthy liver support. Read and follow all label directions for use.

25. Kudzu (Pueraria lobata)

  • What it is: Kudzu is a climbing vine native to East Asia, valued for its edible roots.

  • How it may help: Kudzu root contains isoflavones similar to those found in soy, which may help promote a healthy menopausal transition and support cardiovascular health.

  • Recommended amount: Kudzu root supplements are available in capsule or tincture form. Amounts can vary, but a common recommendation is 500–1,500 mg of kudzu extract taken daily. Read and follow all label directions for use.

26. Hops (Humulus lupulus)

  • What it is: Hops are the female flowers of the hop plant, commonly used in brewing beer.

  • How it may help: Hops contain compounds that have relaxing properties, making them beneficial for promoting relaxation and helping to promote restful sleep. They may also help promote a healthy transition through menopause.

  • Recommended amount: Hops are commonly consumed as a tea or in tincture form. Amounts can vary, but a common recommendation is steeping 1–2 teaspoons of dried hops flowers in hot water for 10–15 minutes and drinking before bedtime for sleep support. Read and follow all label directions for use.

27. Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

  • What it is: Licorice is a perennial herb native to Europe and Asia, prized for its sweet-tasting roots.

  • How it may help: Licorice root has properties that support a healthy response to inflammation and a healthy normal immune system response. It may help soothe digestive discomfort and support adrenal health.

  • Recommended amount: Licorice supplements are available in capsule, powder or liquid extract form. Amounts can vary, but a common recommendation is 200–600 mg of licorice root extract taken 1–3 times daily. Read and follow all label directions for use.

28. Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum)

  • What it is: Rhubarb is a perennial plant cultivated for its edible stalks, commonly used in pies and desserts.

  • How it may help: Rhubarb root contains compounds with healthy digestion-supporting properties, making it beneficial for relieving occasional constipation and promoting regular bowel movements.

  • Recommended amount: Rhubarb root supplements are available in capsule or liquid extract form. Amounts can vary, but a common recommendation is 500–1,000 mg of rhubarb extract taken daily. Read and follow all label directions for use.

29. Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium grandiflorum)

  • What it is: Horny goat weed is a flowering plant native to China, commonly used in Chinese herbalism.

  • How it may help: Horny goat weed contains icariin, a compound that may help promote healthy sexual function and libido in women. It's also used to promote a healthy transition through menopause and support bone health.

  • Recommended amount: Horny goat weed supplements are available in capsule or extract form. Amounts can vary, but a common recommendation is 500–1,000mg of horny goat weed extract taken daily. Read and follow all label directions for use.

30. Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)

  • What it is: Alfalfa is a flowering plant in the pea family, valued for its high nutrient content.

  • How it may help: Alfalfa is rich in vitamins, minerals and phytoestrogens, which may help promote a healthy transition through menopause and support overall well-being. It's also used to support digestive health and the normal built-in detoxification processes.

  • Recommended amount: Alfalfa supplements are available in capsule or powder form. Amounts can vary, but a common recommendation is 500–1,500 mg of alfalfa powder or extract taken daily. Read and follow all label directions for use.

31. Nigella Seed (Nigella sativa)

  • What it is: Nigella seeds, also known as black cumin or black seed, are small black seeds derived from the Nigella sativa plant.

  • How it may help: Nigella seeds have antioxidant properties and support a healthy normal immune system response and a healthy response to inflammation. They may help healthy menstruation and promote overall well-being.

  • Recommended amount: Nigella seeds can be consumed whole, ground or as an oil. Amounts can vary, but a common recommendation is 1–2 teaspoons of nigella seed oil taken daily or incorporating nigella seeds into culinary dishes. Read and follow all label directions for use.

32. Marjoram (Origanum majorana)

  • What it is: Marjoram is a perennial herb in the mint family, native to the Mediterranean region.

  • How it may help: Marjoram has antioxidant properties, making it beneficial for helping support healthy menstruation and promoting overall well-being. It's also used to support digestive health.

  • Recommended amount: Marjoram can be consumed fresh, dried or as an essential oil. Amounts can vary, but you can steep 1–2 teaspoons of dried marjoram leaves in hot water to make a tea, and drink up to three times daily as needed. Read and follow all label directions for use.

Remember, always consult a healthcare professional before starting any new herbal regimen, especially if you have underlying health conditions or take medications. Herbs can interact with some medications, so it's crucial to ensure a safe and personalized approach.

In addition to an overall healthy diet and lifestyle, the power of herbs in promoting women's health can be beneficial. Whether promoting balanced, healthy hormones, menstruation or menopause life stages, these botanicals can offer effective ways to support women through every stage of life. By embracing the power of nature's bounty, including a healthy diet and lifestyle, women can often navigate life's hormonal shifts with greater ease and well-being.

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