I consider myself a health crusader for women with PCOS, and I’m always looking for ways women with PCOS can manage symptoms and live a healthier life. Teas are an easy, accessible, and affordable way to reap the hormone-balancing effects of herbs. Herbal hormone balancers help to minimize PCOS symptoms that are at the very least a nuisance and at their worst, life-changing.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS, is a medical condition that is characterized by insulin resistance and hormone imbalance. Women with PCOS may have to deal with irregular or non-existent periods, fertility troubles, scalp hair loss, facial hair growth, acne, and a host of other related conditions such as diabetes, increased heart disease risk, and depression. It can be very distressing for a woman to experience any one of these PCOS symptoms let alone several.
Not every woman experiences the same cluster of PCOS symptoms, so it is important to work with a trusted health-care professional who can help navigate the complex world of female hormones. We do know that in PCOS, there is an excess of male hormones that in most cases arises from too much insulin that stimulates testosterone production in the ovaries. For some women, however, too much male hormone comes from the adrenal glands, which are activated during times of stress.
So, apart from increasing insulin sensitivity and managing stress in my patients, I work with herbs and other supplements to lower their male hormone levels. There are some wonderful plants that can help accomplish this task that are available in tasty tea form. In the right dosages, teas can provide wonderful healing properties to avid tea drinkers. While regular black tea has its own antioxidant properties, the following teas are especially beneficial from women with PCOS.
- Nettle – nettle tea confers benefits to the liver, an organ which is essential for hormone processing, and reduces male hormones such as the potent and often problematic DHT. It has been shown to benefit benign prostatic hyperplasia in men which arises from an excess of DHT. It has a grassy aroma and taste.
- Licorice – this herb is known to support the adrenal, or stress, glands and has a sweet and woodsy taste. The adrenal glands also produce the male hormone DHEA-S, and can over-secrete this hormone in times of stress. Licorice reduces testosterone levels and helps to balance estrogen levels as well.
- Green Tea – PCOS is known as a highly oxidant state which increases the aging process, infertility, and the risk of heart disease. Green tea provides plenty of anti-oxidants to help prevent oxidative damage. This antiviral, cancer-protective herb can also help to lower male hormone levels by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into the more potent DHT.
- Spearmint – an herb distinct from peppermint, spearmint has been shown in some studies to decrease testosterone and increase female hormones FSH, LH and estradiol. Much of the studies in spearmint are relevant to women with facial hair growth (hirsuitism).
These teas are beneficial to women with PCOS, but also provide a variety of health benefits and are some of the safest and gentlest effective forms of treatment. Many herbal teas are readily available at a good grocery store or a health food store, so brew a cup to benefit your hormones and minimize PCOS symptoms. Medicine never tasted so good!