Hormones. Doesn’t it make the hair on the back of your neck stand up (especially for you fellas that live with us ladies)?
Hormones can be really frustrating and a huge blessing also (when they are balanced properly). And I’m sure you’re all familiar with the saying, ‘If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.’
When I went through puberty at age 13, it was painful. Periods were very heavy, cramping was unbearable, very irregular, and I developed Fibrocystic Breast disease while I blossomed into a young woman. Once a romping tom-boy, I now avoided hugs, running, and riding horseback due to the pain. I was told it was ‘normal’ until I worked alongside of a doctor and helped examine a patient who had all my symptoms. That’s when I scheduled an appointment and found out what I actually had. I wanted to deal with it naturally. After a lot of research here is what I did that turned my life (or, shall I say, hormones) around:
Detox was Key!
Detox was the first thing I started off doing. I had access to an infrared sauna that I used every single day. If you don’t have access to something similar, there are some other ways to accomplish the same thing (like contrast showers, dry/steam saunas, etc). The goal is to improve cardiovascular circulation. Also, herbs are another great way to detox. Find a green drink or a supplement with cilantro in it. Cilantro is a powerful herb that helps the body dump heavy metals and toxins that have accumulated.
There are other herbs as well—that’s just one of the best. And EAT YOUR GREENS! I’m serious, I ate greens (baby spinach, salads, avocado, arugula, kale, you name it, I ate it), vegetables, beans, some fruits (the ones that are lower in sugar such as berries, grapefruit, Granny Smith apples, etc) and limited grains (I might have gone over the top a little, but I was desperate). Also, I was eating yogurt every day (for the probiotics to improve gut health - really important).
Herbs & Greens...
Balancing my hormones (estrogen/progesterone): So there are a number of different herbs that do this naturally (in other words whether you are estrogen dominant or progesterone dominant, it will balance them into their proper sphere). Each person’s constitution is different, so where one herb works REALLY great for one person it may not work as well for the next. So this may take a little bit of experimenting. The herb I found to work REALLY well for me is Chaste Tree Berry (also known as Vitex). What I ended up doing was making an herbal tea with Chaste Tree Berry, Red Raspberry herb, Red Clover, along with 2 herbs to help boost my immune system - Pau ‘d Arco, and Astragalus.
Ok, so a bit of honesty - it tasted DOWNRIGHT NASTY. But it worked. However, if I had it to do over again, I would use a MUCH easier way of getting many of the same herbs to accomplish the same thing. It’s a blend of essential herbal oils called Clary Calm from doTERRA. It’s my husbands favorite herbal oil blend because anytime my hormones get a little wacky and affect my mood, the Clary Calm brings me back into balance quickly.
Get rid of the No-no's
Eliminating Zeno-estrogens from my lifestyle. These are chemically synthesized estrogen preservatives and ingredients that have found their way into most of our beauty care products and plastics. They affect the body negatively by causing an imbalanced of hormones and creating all kinds of problems. So I did my best to try and eliminate or decrease the amount of Zeno-estrogens I exposed myself to by switching to more natural beauty care products or simply not using them as much. I also tried to not use plastic products in my kitchen as much (switched my leftover containers to glass and avoided teflon pans like the plague). This is really huge because toxicity in our environment keeps our hormones just a little off balance, making it very difficult to keep them where they should be.
So in a nutshell, I did the detox, a quart of tea, and the restrictive diet for somewhere between 2-3 months. After that I stuck closely with a healthy balanced diet, and only drank the tea for about a week leading up to my regular monthly period. When I got lazy and didn’t drink the tea before my period, I almost always ended up with emotional swings and maybe slight discomfort just prior to my period. But if I was faithful, I’d breeze right through with no problem at all.
So… fast forward to several years ago. My dear sweetheart (Nick) became my most faithful partner in making the tea. He immediately noticed a big difference between when I did drink the tea and when I didn’t. But it was soooo nasty. After about 3 years of that we discovered a much easier way to get many of the same herbs easier and quicker. It’s called doTERRA Clary Calm essential oil blend. I use just a little of that each day and have absolutely no symptoms all month long. Learn more about how to use herbs as an oil.
How to use Bulk Herbs:
In order to get the herbs I wanted to use I had to order them in bulk. First, here’s a little bit about making a tea with bulk herbs:
Bulk herbs come in a number of different forms: Leaves, Flowers, Roots, Seeds, Barks, and powdered herbs (I usually avoid this unless I need them for a poultice). Unless special instructions come with the tea or tea combination you are using, then use the following directions:
For Leaves or Flowers (dried, of course) -
1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil.
2. Add 1 tsp of the leaves or flowers, then immediately cover and remove from hot surface.
3. Let it steep for 15 to 30 minutes.
4. Strain and drink fresh.
For Roots, Seeds, and Barks -
1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil.
2. Add 1 Tbs of roots, seeds or barks.
3. Let gently boil for 15 minutes.
4. Then steep for 15-30 min.
5. Strain and drink!
My Hormone Balancing Tea
Now you can combine any of the herbs and do them altogether. For example, the tea that I made for balancing my hormones has Leaves, Flowers, and Seeds all in the same tea. Instead of making two different pots of tea (one for the leaves and flowers and another for the seeds), I do it this way:
1. Bring 2-3 cups of water to boil.
2. Add the 1 Tbs Chaste Tree Berry (seeds), 1 Tbs Astragalus (root), and 1 Tbs Pau d' Arco and let it gently boil for another 15 minutes.
3. Once the 15 minutes are up, remove from the heat and add 2-3 tsp of a mixture of Red Clover (flowers) and Red Raspberry (leaves).
4. Cover and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Strain the herbs off of the liquid, let cool.
5. Then I like to dilute it with another 1-2 cups of water (so it's not so strong) and add a hint of lemon juice, honey (to sweeten), and salt (helps with electrolytes, and surprisingly makes it much more palatable) to taste. So give it a try and let me know how it works for you.
Herbal Blend of Oils
You know, in my experience I’ve found that a lot of people (including myself) put essential oils into it’s own category - but it’s not - Its just a different form of the same herbs that we all use. And it happens to be the most effective and potent form of all the different ways that we can use herbs. Not that we don’t drink herbal tea’s any longer, or make poultices - because we still do. But using essential oils has made it so much easier to experience the benefit because it’s not as labor intensive. And because it’s so concentrated it makes essential oils the most potent and effective method of using herbs.