Many cultures use the leaves, berries, roots, bark, and flowers of various plants for medicinal purposes. Last Saturday, I joined a group of hikers in Colorado for an herb identification walk. It wasn’t fertility-specific, but we came across a number of plants that herbalists use to balance female hormones. Come hike with me…
Above is wild raspberry. The berries had been picked over by bears, but there were a few small ones left. They burst with flavor in my mouth. The leaves of a raspberry plant can be used in tea to ease menstrual cramps.
By the way, the herbalist who led the hike was named Lake. Isn’t that a perfect name for her job? I don’t have a picture of the next plant, but Lake pointed out a specific type of sage (not the kind to cook with). She said, “This will help induce menstruation.” All the women in the group over age 50 backed away. “Been there, done that!” one woman joked.
Here, I’m kneeling by a fun little purple-flowered plant called self-heal. It’s more popular in Europe than in the States, and it’s not used to boost fertility. Instead, it’s used for skin irritation (among other ailments). Still, Lake sang it high praises, so I thought I’d mention it.
Another plant we studied was red clover. It’s in the same family as soy. And like soy, it has properties that mimic estrogen. Although known to “normalize” female hormones for menstruation, I am extremely cautious of such herbs. Americans consume too much soy in their diets. I’m not an expert by any means (I’m simply a 37-year-old writer trying to get pregnant), but some causes of infertility (like endometriosis) are estrogen-dependant. Breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine fibroids are also estrogen-dependent diseases. So, if you are taking herbs for fertility, this is one topic you’ll definitely want to discuss with your practitioner.
Further Reading: Chill Out and Get Healthy by Aimee Raupp
Find an Herbalist: American Herbalists Guild
Have you ever taken herbal medicines? What for? Did you notice a difference?
About Jenny Rough
Jenny Rough is a lawyer-turned-writer. Visit her on the web at www.jennyrough.com