Norwich Natural Fertility Partnership

Fertility pregnancy and beyond
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< Previous PCOS and herbal medicine

One of the most common conditions we see at our clinic is polycysytic-ovarian-syndrome (PCOS). It can affect women in so many different ways which can make it hard to treat medically. Some women use the contraceptive pill to manage their skin complaints, but of course this doesn’t help with fertility! Herbal medicine is an essential tool within NNFP for managing PCOS and all its associated problems like weight gain, annovulation, acne, hirsutism and poor circulation. Our herbalist Andrew Chevallier talks about some of commonly used herbs for PCOS below.

‘Many plants contain molecules that are similar to the body’s own hormones, so it is not surprising that medicinally-active plants can be used to help restore hormonal balance – and to resolve symptoms – in conditions such as PCOS. Minor PCOS symptoms can often be treated effectively with Chaste Berry (Vitex agnus-castus) extracts. These act directly on the pituitary gland at the base of the brain, leading to a balanced release of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH). Raised LH levels help to stimulate progesterone release from the ovaries, which in turn, leads to better ovarian hormone function and a more balanced and well-regulated menstrual cycle. Chaste Berry will also prove useful in treating pre-menstrual symptoms, especially tiredness, headache and mood changes.

Given the herb’s established progesterogenic action, Chaste Berry is commonly taken to increase fertility, and it is an essential aid in those trying to conceive naturally.

Chaste Berry is just one of many herbs that are available for selection by the medical herbalist to treat conditions such as PCOS. While some herbs have only traditional use to support their effectiveness in PCOS and in aiding conception e.g. Helonias (Chamaelirium luteum), a north American herb traditionally taken by native American women to aid fertility, and considered to be an ovarian tonic, others have significant scientific evidence to support their use. Herbs such as Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), White Peony (Paeonia lactiflora) and Saw Palmetto (Serenoa serrulata) have been shown in clinical trials to exert a hormonal activity that counters the oestrogen/androgen imbalance that is associated with PCOS.

At the same time, there is a vast number of herbs that can be used to help stabilise blood sugar levels and even out insulin release – raised/fluctuating insulin levels being currently understood to be the main underlying cause of PCOS.

Herbal extracts are medicines and can cause side-effects but these are infrequent and almost invariably mild in nature. They can also taste very bitter, but by and large people find that they quickly adapt to the unusual taste!’

We recommend you seek advice from a registered practitioner before trying any herbs – what works for one woman, can of course not help another. For more advice on herbal medicine and to find out how your type of PCOS may best be managed with complementary medicine please ring clinic reception and ask to speak to an NNFP team member.

This entry was posted in Fertility Diet and Nutrition, Herbal medicine, Hormones, Norwich Fertility Clinic, PCOS, Pregnancy, Uncategorized and tagged acne by admin. Bookmark the permalink.