7 Important Plants for Women’s Health

Herbs are widely used by people all over the world, mostly as an alternative medicine or as an adjunct to traditional medicines.

It shows that certain chemicals in certain plants have the power to affect biological function. Herbs for women’s health have been extensively researched over the past few decades; many show promise in improving libido, supporting energy levels and elevating mood.

7 Best Herbs for Women’s Health

Many scientists believe that specific chemicals isolated from plant materials and then extracted provide the most benefits to human health. Still, the whole chemical is just as effective when used in combination with similar chemical ingredients and/or other herbs that provide health benefits. Below, we’ve compiled some herbs that benefit women’s health, extracted or otherwise harvested.

Muira Puama

Muira puama is also known as “potency wood”. In a study that examined more than 200 women, the bark and root of muira puama were found to significantly stimulate libido. [1] More than 65% of the women in the study had better sexual satisfaction and orgasmic intensity. Muira puama can also help increase motivation for sex, boost energy for daily activities, and reduce stress. [2]

ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an ancient Indian herb that is said to support female reproduction and libido. The herb has been used for centuries to combat stress in both men and women. Ashwagandha specifically targets the endocrine system and promotes hormonal balance. A study of over 50 menopausal patients examined the effects of supplementing with ashwagandha and found a significant reduction in symptoms such as anxiety, hot flashes, and mood swings. [3] Ashwagandha has been used for centuries to support good mood, and research is beginning to discover that the herb can play a powerful role in combating mental and emotional stress. [4] This makes ashwagandha a powerful tool against mood swings.

Tribulus terrestris

Tribulus terrestris is also used to support hormonal balance, and research looks for clues in its role in boosting female libido. A lot of research has been done for Tribulus to support libido in both men and women. An important study showed that tribulus increased the desire for sexual intercourse in 49 of 50 female participants. [5] A recent study from 2014 found that female desire, arousal, and satisfaction were greatly increased following tribulus supplementation. [6] The plant can also fight mood swings that are frequently encountered during the menstrual period. Like the kava kava plant, tribulus terrestris can positively improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety. [7]

For the aphrodisiac effects of Tribulus terrestris, you can find our article here.

maca

Maca root is a popular herbal remedy widely used by men to support healthy hormone levels; However, women have also reported great benefits in balancing hormonal levels with maca. While investigating the root for potential weight loss benefits, researchers observed that women experienced a significant reduction in common menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and moodiness. [8] Another similar study found that maca supplementation had beneficial effects on menopausal symptoms. [9] Supporting healthy libido in women is one benefit of using maca. One major study found that supplementing with maca was effective in combating sexual dysfunction in women, especially after taking the SSRI, a widely prescribed antidepressant. Throughout the study, women experienced improvement in sexual satisfaction with three grams of maca per day. [10]

Avena Sativa

Natural aphrodisiacs have been used successfully for thousands of years, avena sativa is no exception. Also called “oat straw,” avena sativa is a powerful natural aphrodisiac, and recent research confirms its widespread use. [11] Oats can also support bone health, which is important because osteoporosis is more common in women than men. Avena sativa is a calcium-rich food that, along with vitamin D and vitamin K, plays an important role in bone density. Oat straw raises the level of luteinizing hormone in rats, a hormone crucial for promoting cell growth. It also helps to initiate bone cell production, which supports bone health. [12]

Catuaba

The catuaba tree was first used by the Tupi Indians of Northern Brazil, who stole the leaves to make an aphrodisiac tea. Traditional cultures have used catuaba bark for a wide variety of benefits, but its powerful aphrodisiac properties are perhaps its most popular application. Catuaba bark contains the chemical yohimbine, which is the active compound that provides a stimulating effect. [13]

Suma

Suma, often called South American Ginseng, is used to support endurance. Natives in the Amazon used to look for Suma root to aid female libido, and research has proven this ancient belief to be true. Some studies also suggest that suma root can help support women’s fertility by balancing hormone levels. This is important as the world today is becoming increasingly overwhelmed with hormone disruptors. [14] Research shows that suma root can help to stimulate estradiol-17 beta, an estrogen hormone produced in women during their reproductive years, and further improve hormone balance. [15]

Supplement with Herbs Summary

Herbs are a great complementary approach to an overall healthy lifestyle, and as you can see above, research supports it as a powerful way to support women’s health.

Avoiding environmental endocrine disruptors like plastic and pesticides can be a great way to protect your hormones. Getting enough sleep, staying physically active, and getting optimum levels of sunlight are all excellent ways to keep your hormones working properly.

GlobalHealingCenter, The 7 Best Herbs for Women’s Health, 2015

References

  1. Waynberg J1, Brewer S. Effects of Herbal vX on libido and sexual activity in premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Adv Ther. 2000 Sep-Oct;17(5):255-62.
  2. Mendes FR1, Carlini EA. Brazilian plants as possible adaptogens: an ethnopharmacological survey of books edited in Brazil. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Feb 12;109(3):493-500.
  3. Modi MB1, Donga SB, Dei L. Clinical evaluation of Ashokarishta, Ashwagandha Churna and Praval Pishti in the management of menopausal syndrome. Ayu. 2012 Oct;33(4):511-6. doi: 10.4103/0974-8520.110529.
  4. Bhattacharya SK, Bhattacharya A, Sairam K, Ghosal S. Anxiolytic-antidepressant activity of Withania somnifera glycowithanolides: an experimental study. phytomedicine 2000 December;7(6):463-9.
  5. Mazaro-Costa R1, Andersen ML, Hachul H, Tufik S. Medicinal plants as alternative treatments for female sexual dysfunction: utopian vision or possible treatment in climacteric women? JSexMed. 2010 Nov;7(11):3695-714. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.01987.x.
  6. Akhtari E, Raisi F, Keshavarz M, Hosseini H, Sohrabvand F, Bioos S, Kamalinejad M, Ghobadi A. Tribulus terrestris for treatment of sexual dysfunction in women: randomized double-blind placebo – controlled study. Daru. 2014 Apr 28;22(1):40.
  7. Wang Z1, Zhang D, Hui S, Zhang Y, Hu S. Effect of tribulus terrestris saponins on behavior and neuroendocrine in chronic mild stress depression rats. J Tradit Chin Med. 2013 Apr;33(2):228-32.
  8. Meissner HO1, Reich-Bilinska H, ​​Mscisz A, Kedzia B. Therapeutic Effects of Pre-Gelatinized Maca (Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon) used as a Non-Hormonal Alternative to HRT in Perimenopausal Women – Clinical Pilot Study. Int J Biomed Sci. 2006 Jun;2(2):143-59.
  9. Meissner HO1, Kapczynski W, Mscisz A, Lutomski J. Use of gelatinized maca (lepidium peruvianum) in early postmenopausal women. Int J Biomed Sci. 2005 Jun;1(1):33-45.
  10. Dording CM1, Fisher L, Papakostas G, Farabaugh A, Sonawalla S, Fava M, Mischoulon D. A double-blind, randomized, pilot dose-finding study of maca root (L. meyenii) for the management of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction . CNS Neurosci Ther. 2008 Fall;14(3):182-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-5949.2008.00052.x.
  11. Malviya N, Jain S, Gupta VB, Vyas S. Recent studies on aphrodisiac herbs for the management of male sexual dysfunction–a review. Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica. 2011 January-February;68(1):3-8.
  12. Fukushima M, Watanabe S, Kushima K. Extraction and purification of a substance with luteinizing hormone releasing activity from the leaves of Avena sativa. The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine. 1976 June;119(2):115-22.
  13. Oliveira CH1, Moraes ME, Moraes MO, Bezerra FA, Abib E, De Nucci G. Clinical toxicology study of an herbal medicinal extract of Paullinia cupana, Trichilia catigua, Ptychopetalum olacoides and Zingiber officinale (Catuama) in healthy volunteers. Phytother Res. 2005 Jan;19(1):54-7.
  14. Buck Louis GM, Sundaram R, Schisterman EF, Sweeney AM, Lynch CD, Gore-Langton RE, Maisog J, Kim S, Chen Z, Barr DB. Persistent environmental pollutants and couple fecundity: the LIFE study.Environmental Health Perspectives. 2013 February;121(2):231-6.
  15. Oshima M1, Gu Y. Pfaffia paniculata-induced changes in plasma estradiol-17beta, progesterone and testosterone levels in mice. J Reprod Dev. 2003 Apr;49(2):175-80.

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