Updated: May 10, 2020
I moved to Ghana in the fall of 2012, from Belgium. My time in Ghana was amazing and I am so grateful for the experiences I had and the people I met. One of the great lessons I had while in Ghana is the opportunity I got to learn about herbal medicine and how I used it to improve my health.
In today's world, we are often made to believe that general medicine is the only way to healing. however, many people are finding their way back to herbal remedies like our ancestors were doing. Herbal remedies have the ability to heal us, boost our physical and mental well-being.
Knowledge is power and that I why I want to share with you 5 powerful herbs that you can start using today to improve your reproductive health.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
The dandelion plant can be used from its roots to its flowers. It is a highly nutritious plant, loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber that can be found in most people’s gardens. It is known for helping to regulate and normalize hormone production.
The leaf is highly effective for menstrual bloating, PMS and water retention in the body. It can be eaten raw in salads, cooked as a side dish, blended in juices, boiled for Yoni/V-steams, for tinctures, or infused for tea. I personally use this as a tea, as a side dish sauteed with onions and garlic or for my V-steams.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb that has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine to boost the immune system, soothe and enhance the nervous system, and promote longevity and vitality. Ashwagandha is also known to improve overall reproductive health by strengthening the adrenal glands, reducing cortisol, and increasing the production of blood.
Besides increasing the blood flow and regulating hormones, it also has a positive effect on libido and also increases fertility.
This wonderful herb has been used for many centuries to help various female reproductive issues. This plant is known to enhance the function of the pituitary gland which regulates hormone secretion. It is often used to help boost fertility, to stimulate milk production in new moms, to help bring back menstruation for women suffering from amenorrhea (the absence of menstruation or highly irregular), and has also been known to reduce ovarian cysts.
It is mostly used in the form of tinctures or capsules.
Maca (Lepidium meyenii)
This plant native to Peru gained popularity over the past years. The main edible part of the plant is the root, which grows underground. Maca root has traditionally been used to enhance fertility and sex drive. It's also claimed to improve energy and stamina. Maca root, specifically red maca, is wonderful for women’s health. The root has a high nutrient content which besides increasing energy and stamina, also helps to build muscle thanks to its high protein level.
As mentioned it has specific health benefits for women in particular such as helping to balance bodily functions and hormone levels, decreasing PMS symptoms, lifting depression, and enhancing mental clarity and focus. The best way to consume it is in the powder form that can be added to your smoothies or tonics. I personally really like the earthy caramel-like flavour so I add it in my late's or Cappucino when I drink it.
Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus)
Red Raspberry leaf is the leaf of the red raspberry fruit. The leaves help to support and tonify the uterus pre-menstruation, it relieves menstrual cramping and pain and reduces heavy period flows.
When pregnant you have to be extra careful with it and only use it at the last stage of the pregnancy as it can cause contractions which can induce labour. Pregnant women drink it to prepare the uterus and pelvic muscles for labour and birth (always consult your doctor or midwife first). I used it as a tea and for my V-steams before getting pregnant as a womb detox to help with my fibroids. I also drank this daily and towards the last weeks of my pregnancy multiple times a day to help prepare for labour. Besides fibroids, it is also known to help relieve and treat endometriosis.
You can find these plants in your local herbal store but in case you can't find them, here are links to find them online:
Vitex capsules: Amazon
Dandelion leaves: Holland & Barret
Red Raspberry leaf: Amazon
I hope you found this helpful! I'm interested to know if you use any of these plants and if so what has been your experience so far. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive more holistic lifestyle tips.
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Written by Rosemary, founder of Shetribe a sisterhood community focussed on helping women of colour live holistically.