Progesterone is a hormone that plays a vital role in both men and women, and also occurs naturally in certain plants. However, it’s responsible for much more in women than in men. Progesterone levels in the body constantly change, but consistently low progesterone can have devastating effects for women particularly.
A lack of progesterone can result in irregular or missed periods. It can even lead to infertility, a decreased sex drive, and depression. There are many more symptoms of having low levels of progesterone levels. The problem, however, is that these symptoms are common to a range of other medical conditions too. This makes it difficult for women to know when their progesterone levels are low. According to Dr. Wendy Warner, most women don't even realize that they have low progesterone levels.
If you fear that your progesterone levels are low, you can go to your GP and ask to get it checked. If you do have low progesterone levels, your GP may prescribe some Progesterone pills. However, these usually have side effects, and thus many people avoid consuming them. Luckily, there are many natural ways to increase Progesterone levels! Here, we talk about some herbs you can take to increase your Progesterone levels naturally. Even if you don't have severely low levels of Progesterone, you can occasionally consume these herbs as a preventative measure.
As we state, progesterone plays an important role in the body. It’s responsible for getting the uterus ready for the baby, but low levels of progesterone can lead to severe problems. A lack of progesterone can cause nausea, along with uterine bleeding, spotting, and even irregular periods. Not just this, but progesterone levels directly affect other hormones too. Hence, low progesterone levels could lead to weight gain, skin breakouts, and bouts of anxiety.
Normal levels of progesterone can keep your skin clear of hormonal acne, help with PMS (premenstrual syndrome), and other hormones related problems like PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). So, the question: how can you ensure that your progesterone levels do not fall? Or, if you have low levels of progesterone, how can you increase progesterone?
A doctor will usually just prescribe you progesterone pills if they feel the need to. However, these pills have side effects. Women who take progesterone supplements complain that they go through rapid mood changes, a persistent cough, have heartburn, fatigue, and may even have bouts of depression.
Luckily, you don’t always need to take progesterone pills. There are many lifestyle changes like eating healthy and avoiding the stress that can improve hormonal balance and levels of progesterone. You can also increase progesterone production by incorporating certain herbs into your diet. These herbs naturally increase progesterone levels in the body and don't have any severe side effects.
There are many different herbs that work to stimulate Progesterone production in the body. Below, we’ve listed the most popular herbs that can increase progesterone levels naturally.
Bupleurum is found exclusively in Europe and Western Asia. The history of the herb dates back 2000 years when it was used in Chinese and Japanese medicine. Since then, it has been used to treat premenstrual cramps.
Bupleurum is an excellent herb when it comes to hormone regulation. It is also known to relieve pain, inflammation, and even has a soothing effect on the body. Bupleurum has a special compound that is known as Saikosaponin, which increases the concentration of cortisol in your blood. This is important because the body depends on cortisol for the production of progesterone. Apart from progesterone production, cortisol is also responsible for easing muscle pain and stress.
This herb also imitates the action of progesterone. Bupleurum increases progesterone concentration in the body by regulating estrogen concentration. It can be used to treat estrogen dominance, which is caused by too much estrogen in the blood. The high estrogen concentration, in turn, reduces progesterone production and causes produce symptoms such as fluid retention and frequent mood swings.
Taking 200mg of solid extract daily can really speed up the process of increasing your progesterone levels. Hence, it’s the best option to take if your progesterone levels are quite low. You can also take the herb in small doses throughout the month. Bupleurum is available in-stores and online in the form of pills and tea leaves. However, you are advised not to take Bupleurum if you are pregnant. Please be wary that the herb can cause diarrhea and may make you feel bloated.
White Peony is a flower native to central and eastern Asia. It’s commonly found across China, Russia, Tibet, and Mongolia. The flower is a favorite amongst gardeners, but it is also very commonly used to treat inflammation, fibrosis, and PCOS. The herb is most commonly used with other western medicines. It is known to regulate FSH (follicular stimulating hormones) and LH (luteinizing hormones). White Peony can also contribute to healthier menstrual cycles.
To treat PCSOS, the herb is usually paired with licorice. White Peony works by reducing testosterone levels and even dysmenorrhea. According to studies, a compound in the root of the flower, Paeoniflorin, increases progesterone production and reduces testosterone production. If you suffer from irregular menstrual cycles of extremely painful cramps, this is the herb for you!
The herb can be used both in liquid and root extract forms. Experts recommend that you use 3 to 6g of dried root in water 1 to 3 times a day, or 2 to 3ml of the liquid extract 1 to 2 times a day. If you have a history of heavy menstrual bleeding, are on blood-thinning medicines, or are have a baby on the way - consult your physician before consuming this herb.
Vitex, also known as Chasteberry, has a long and rich history. The berry is the fruit of the chaste tree native to Central Asia and the Mediterranean. Records of its use go back to the 1st century when it was used to stimulate menses in women. The herb was also used to suppress libido in male monks, which is where the name chaste berry comes from.
Vitex essentially works by lowering the concentration of the enzyme, prolactin. When prolactin concentration in the body is too high, it can lead to irregular periods and even disrupt progesterone production. Prolonged use of Vitex has shown to improve progesterone levels and promote regular menstrual cycles. Women under the age of 18 are recommended to steer clear of using Vitex, as it can disrupt the pituitary-ovarian connection. Vitex starts to produce effects after just one to two months of continuous use.
Chasteberry is very easily available in any corner drugstore, in the forms of pills, powder, tea, or even topical cream. It is recommended that you buy the tea because it is the raw form of the herb. However, this way, you cannot measure the amount of herb you’re consuming. Ideally, you should take the herb in the morning because that’s when it can affect hormones the most. Avoid using Vitex if you are pregnant or if you are already on hormone replacement treatment as that can cause further complications.
Szechuan Lovage is the root of a plant native to India. It has been mentioned many times in traditional Chinese medicine. It has been traditionally used along with lindera roots to help with menstrual pain; it is even paired with white peony roots to aid in heavy menstrual bleeding as well as irregular periods. The herb also has anti-inflammatory properties. Compounds in the roots of the plant work on the central nervous system in the body and directly affect a receptor in your body. The receptor, in turn, affects hormone production and, therefore, increases progesterone production. In a 2006 study published in the "Life Sciences," progesterone concentration showed an increase in lab animals after treatment with Szechuan lovage. The herb is available in raw form and easily available at homeopathic stores.
Please note that it is not recommended that Szechuan Lovage is never used alone. Rather it is always used with other herbs. Most of the time, it is taken as an entire formula that has a wide range of herbs. Consult a physician or a TCM( traditional Chinese medicine) practitioner to ensure that you do not harm yourself.
Dill, also known as Shi Luo in eastern medicine, is a herb found in the eastern Mediterranean region and western Asia. It is used to treat stomachaches, bloating, constipation, menstrual pain, and even anxiety. It has some anti-inflammatory properties but also affects hormone regulation. In western medicine, Dill is used to treating anxiety, kidney diseases, and even insomnia. An experiment published in the 2006 edition of the "Phototherapy Research" magazine showed that the herb Dill had considerable amounts of the hormone progesterone.
Dill is also readily available at any garden or vegetable shop since it's technically a weed. Unlike most herbs on this list, Dill is completely safe to consume even in pregnancy, as long as you don't consume an excessive amount. However, if you are on lithium-based medicine for any reason, you should consult a physician before consuming Dill.
Kenya Oak is a fruit that belongs to the same family as Chasteberry. It is the fruit of the Kenyan Oaktree and is native to Africa. Even though we don't know much about how this fruit works, it is regularly prescribed to women going through menopause. For this reason, experts suspect that the fruit may have progesterone. According to a 2008 study in the American Journal of Primatology, chimpanzees, which regularly consumed the fruit, had unusually high levels of progesterone and stable levels of estrogen.
Kenya Oak is also easily available! You can either purchase the fruit and eat it as is, or you could get it in a pill form from any drug store. As always, we recommend that you consult your physician before consumption of Kenya Oak.
We hope this guide has been helped you understand the need to maintain good levels of progesterone. Low levels of progesterone are not a rare problem in women, which is why there is now increasing awareness among ways to increase progesterone levels.
While you can opt to get progesterone pills, as we said, they do have side effects and do not suit everyone! If you want to go for a natural way to increase progesterone levels, you can begin to take any of the herbs we've mentioned in the list above.
Please remember to consult your physician before you start taking any supplements. The ideal way to increase your progesterone levels is by using a mix of supplements, along with incorporating dietary and lifestyle changes.
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