The role of the hormones in the body is to maintain the internal balance in the body and help many processes that take place inside it.
These are some of the primary hormones in the body:
Reproductive hormones: Both men and women have all three reproductive hormones, and the unhealthy balance has been linked to an increased cancer risk. Estrogen and progesterone manage menstrual cycles, female fertility, and help balance vaginal pH. Testosterone manages male fertility, bone mass, libido, and red blood cell production.
Sleep hormones: The imbalance of these hormones, such as melatonin, produced by the pineal gland, can have a dramatic effect on the health, as poor quality sleep causes various health issues, like sickness, and burnout.
Thyroid hormones: Triiodothyronine and thyroxine control the metabolism and are produced by the thyroid gland.
Adrenal hormones: Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands, and it supports the normal work of the metabolism and manages stress
All hormones should be in an ideal balance for an optimal health. Even a small imbalance of one hormone might cause various severe side- effects, from weight gain to fatigue and pain.
The benefits of herbs are numerous, as they boost our health in various ways, and one of the most important properties is their ability to positively affect hormones.
Yet, the following five are the best ones you can use to balance your hormones: clary sage, myrtle, thyme, holy basil, and sandalwood.
- Clary Sage: Healthier Menopause
This herb reduces cortisol levels and increases estrogen levels in women who are experiencing menopausal symptoms. A study found that the cortisol levels of women in their 50s were reduced after they inhaled clary sage oil.
Moreover, they also found a slight fall in the levels of hormones that stimulate the thyroid.
- Myrtle: Improving Sleep
This herb has been used as a hypnotic herb and as a natural sedative in many cultures, but studies on mice and rats showed that the myrtle extract promoted a deeper sleep and muscle relaxation.
Moreover, researchers found that it also has potent anti- anxiety properties. These effects were also confirmed by other studies, which showed that mice that consumed myrtle essential oil experienced prolonged sleeping during which their brain activity was slowed down.
- Thyme: Preventing Breast Cancer
Researchers tested its effects on breast cancer cells in an in vitro study and found that it could bind to progesterone, a sex hormone involved in the menstrual cycle and in pregnancy.
Thyme is also rich in phytoestrogens and phytoprogestins and researchers found that it actually mimics the activity of anti-progesterone drugs by blocking the activity of progesterone and inhibiting the growth of the breast cancer cells.
- Holy Basil: Lowering Anxiety
Holy basil has been scientifically shown to reduce cortisol levels, the stress hormone, and to treat Participants who received holy basil for 6 weeks improved many stressful aspects of their life, like sleep quality, memory issues, sexual problems, and exhaustion.
- Sandalwood: Reducing Stress
A study analyzed the effects of aromatherapy on women who were undergoing a breast biopsy, which is a stressful exam.
Women tried two combinations of essential oils and found that the combination of sandalwood and lavender was more calming than the one of orange and peppermint oil.
Moreover, 64% of cancer patients included in one study, who suffered from insomnia, improved their sleep quality by inhaling different blends of essential oils, including sandalwood oil.
How to Use Herbs Medicinally
These herbs can be used in various ways, and the easiest one is to simply add them to your meals and smoothies. Yet, you can also use the essential oils prepare tea, extracts, ointments, and poultices.
When it comes to the herb-based essential oils, you can either add a few drops to a hot bath or mix them with carrier oil and massage the skin. Also, you add a few drops of them to room temperature distilled water in the diffuser and place it on some common area at home.
Extracts are concentrated doses of the medicinal herb. You can take them as tinctures, or the liquid form, on an empty stomach, about 1-2 mL, or in powder form (capsules, or loose powder), when all the water has been extracted.
Make sure you always choose certified organic herbal teas, preferably with whole leaf teas, rather than tea bags. Steep the teas to the desired strength and drink a cup of them up to 3 times daily.
Remember to always consult a trained practitioner before you start using any herb, in order to ensure it does not interact with your medications, and would not cause any adverse effects.