Herbs for Hormone Balance: The Best Natural Supplements to Get Your Hormones in Check
The word “hormones” is often thrown around to explain nearly every little thing that may go amiss in our bodies, from acne during puberty to angry moods before a menstrual cycle.
Despite often carrying negative connotations, hormones actually play an integral role in almost all of our bodily functions. Hormones are chemicals that act as messengers, moving through the bloodstream to tell our organs and tissues what to do. Hormones control metabolism, digestion, mood regulation, and fertility, making it important that our hormones are properly balanced.
If you are looking for natural ways to ensure your hormones are giving your body the right signals, these are the best herbs for hormone balance.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has become a popular name in natural medicine circles and TikTok health trends recently, but has been used for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Ashwagandha is considered an “adaptogenic” herb, meaning that it can help our bodies regulate stress and restore balance in its functions.
Ashwagandha herb (check out blog about pros and cons of ashwagandha) is a versatile herb for hormone balance, as it has been found to affect a number of hormones within our bodies. One recent study found that the herb can affect your pituitary and adrenal glands, which are responsible for producing hormones like cortisol, the stress hormone. Other studies have found that it can also affect fertility hormones and even insulin levels.
Ashwagandha supplements come in many forms, such as capsules, gummies, and tinctures.
Black Cohosh Root
A member of the buttercup family, the root of the black cohosh (Actaea racemosa) plant has been traditionally used in medicines by indigenous peoples of the Americas. As an herb for hormone balance, it is popularly consumed as tea, but can also be taken as a capsule or tincture supplement.
Black cohosh root has been found to be especially effective when balancing hormones relating to the female reproductive system. One 2017 study found that it was effective in reducing menopausal symptoms. It also may act as a phytoestrogen, which can be used to supplement a lack of estrogen production.
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a root vegetable that is native to Peru, which is why it is often known as Peruvian ginseng.
Like ashwagandha, maca is a natural adaptogen that is known for being a versatile herb for hormone balance, as it is lauded for its ability to boost energy, balance hormones, and even enhance fertility, as shown by this animal study. It is also rich in iron, iodine, and zinc, all of which are essential vitamins needed to balance hormones.
Though maca is an edible root vegetable, the majority of maca supplements come in the form of pills, capsules, or powders.
Also known as vitex, due to the fact that chasteberry is the fruit of the Vitex agnus tree, chasteberry is a popular herb for hormone balance, especially for women.
Chasteberry is effective as it stimulates the production of luteinizing hormone (LH) and inhibits the production of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which helps regulate estrogen and progesterone levels. This boosts fertility and can help reduce PMS and menopause symptoms, as found by this 2017 study.
Since chasteberry is a tart, yet tasty fruit, the most popular way to take this herb for hormone balance is by using gummy vitamins. Nothing like an enjoyable supplement snack!
Red Raspberry Leaf
As its name suggests, red raspberry leaf is taken from the leaves of the deciduous raspberry plant (Rubus idaeus). Though it has many uses, red raspberry leaf is mainly targeted as an herb for hormone balance through women’s reproductive health.
Red raspberry leaf has been found to balance hormones during the perimenopausal cycles, as shown in this 2017 study on animals. Additionally, red raspberry leaf is high in vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, vitamin E, and vitamin C, all of which are essential in balancing pregnancy hormones, shown by this 2021 study.
Red raspberry leaf is popularly consumed in tea, but also can be taken as a capsule or gummy vitamin.
Taken from the nigella plant (Nigella sativa), also known as fennel flower or kalonji, nigella seeds are tiny but mighty. Rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, nigella seeds are a fantastic herb for hormone balance.
Nigella seeds have been shown to help balance multiple types of hormones in the body. This 2021 animal study found that they can regulate female hormones that may contribute to cysts growing in the ovaries, while this 2016 study found that nigella seeds may act as a phytoestrogen. Nigella seeds also may help balance thyroid hormones.
Since nigella seeds are so small, they are typically used as an herb for hormone balance in the form of a powder or capsules.
Sometimes known as female ginseng, dong quai (Angelica sinensis) has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine as an herb for hormone balance, specifically by helping regulate estrogen levels.
Though dong quai studies have mainly been focused on postmenopausal women (some with dubious results), natural health enthusiasts assert that the herb has helped reduce pain, mood swings, and hot flashes associated with menstrual cycles or the lack thereof.
As dong quai is a flowering herb, it is generally taken as a capsule supplement, but comes in vitamins that have a mix of similar herbs geared towards hormone balance.