Hormones have an important role to play in the body. They support crucial functions in the body such as food metabolism, cell and tissue growth, cognitive thinking and mood. Produced by glands that make up the endocrine system, hormones are released into the bloodstream where they travel to the tissues and organs they influence.
Hormones are required in specific quantities to influence bodily functions and processes. Any changes to these required amounts can have adverse effects on your health and well-being. Imbalances can make you feel uncomfortable, sickly and agitated, fatigued, and being unwell can wreak havoc on your daily routines. That’s why maintaining a healthy hormonal balance is very important to your well-being and why it’s important to address any causes of imbalance that are within your control.
The body’s delicate hormonal balance can be easily disrupted by both natural and foreign factors. Some of the natural factors affecting the equilibrium of hormones in the body include the onset of your periods, puberty and menopause. These natural occurrences can bring significant changes to a person’s life, but they occur as a normal part of the body’s maturity and aging process. Other factors do not stem from natural occurrences, but rather come from unhealthy daily habits like improper diet and lack of (or even excess) exercise, smoking, drug use (both legal and illegal) and unintended exposure to chemicals.
Foreign factors that contribute to hormone imbalances in the human body:
- Processed foods: Such foods introduce harmful toxins and salts into the body that disrupt the balance of hormones
- Caffeine and cigarette smoking: Stimulants in caffeine and nicotine alter the balance of hormones in your body by affecting the body’s adrenal gland production.
- Chemically-treated food: Consuming non-organic products (especially dairy products) that have been treated with hormones can bring about an imbalance in your hormone system. Herbicides and insecticides also introduce harmful toxins into the body, whether inhaled from the air or consumed with food, and these toxins can affect hormone health.
- Chemical-laden products: Chemicals found in beauty, skin care, and household cleaning products can permeate through the skin and alter the body’s chemistry.
- Sleep disturbances: Not getting enough restful sleep deprives your body of the chance to detoxify. Less than 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep puts great stress on the adrenal glands and eventually leads to adrenal fatigue and adrenal exhaustion.
- Exercise: Healthy levels of exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise, helps to promote the natural production of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone in the body. Don’t forget, however, that exercise is stress on the body. Excessive exercise, especially during a time of other emotional or physical stress can put the body in a state of constant production of stress hormones and lead eventually to adrenal exhaustion.
Now that you’ve learned some of the factors affecting hormone imbalance, you may be wondering how much they are affecting you. So how do you know if your body is out of whack from all of the natural and foreign factors affecting it?
Here are some signs that you are suffering from a hormonal imbalance:
- Irregular periods
- Lack of sleep and restlessness
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Chronic acne and breakouts
- Fatigue and low energy levels
- Mood swings
- Changes in appetite and digestive issues
- Hair thinning and even hair loss
- Vaginal dryness
- Poor sex drive
- Heart palpitations
- Food cravings
As the list above shows, the signs of hormonal imbalance can range from mild to severe. In either case, these imbalances can result in a lot of health complications and challenges. Therefore, keeping your hormones in check is very important if you wish to lead a more healthy and productive life.
Some would think that western medications and treatments are the best course of treatment when it comes to maintaining hormonal balance in your body. Yet, in many cases, the synthetic treatments do little to restore balance and do more to mask symptoms without treating the root cause. The abnormalities created by this western approach allow the imbalances to remain while often creating dependency on the drugs to feel good. Having to regularly use drugs to keep symptoms in check is not only expensive but also potentially harmful to the body. Pharmaceutical drugs often produce many undesirable side effects. The prolonged practice of putting synthetic chemicals into your body puts you at a higher risk for other diseases such as stroke, cancer, and osteoporosis.
Fortunately, this western medicine approach is not the only way to address your symptoms of hormonal imbalance. There is a natural approach that not only addresses the problematic symptoms of hormone imbalance but that also promotes overall health and quality of life. For centuries, this wholesome approach involving the use of Chinese herbs has been helping both men and women alike to achieve a greater sense of well-being. Chinese herbal medicine includes the use of Chinese herbs and proper nutrition to promote wellbeing. Herbs contain bioactive ingredients that act to suppress illnesses and to bring about natural pain relief. They stimulate the production of antibodies that fight toxins in your body. By facilitating healing using the body’s natural functions, Chinese medicine can be much kinder to the body than the use of prescription drugs. Chinese herbs also support other processes and functions in the body at the same time that they are addressing its specific needs.
Let's explore 12 beneficial Chinese herbs for supporting hormone balance in the body:
- Shan Yao (Chinese Wild Yam)
This is one of the ancient herbal remedies that has been used extensively to treat ailments and health complications of the lungs, kidneys and stomach. The roots of Chinese Wild Yam are rich in diosgenin content which aids in the production of hormones such as progesterone, estrogen and steroids. Chinese Wild Yam can be added to tea and used to make healthy chicken soup. It can be used when it is fresh or added in its dry form.
- Xi Yang Shen (American Ginseng)
When compared to its Chinese counterpart, Xi Yang Shen or American Ginseng is milder and calmer. Xi Yang Shen is effective in treating gastronomical disorders as well as improving mental health and athletic performance. Xi Yang Shen is one of the Chinese herbs that has adaptogenic qualities and this makes it great for reducing stress and cognitive thinking. The herb also supports the adrenal-pituitary-hypothalamus axis in the body which can boost your mood, improve your sex drive and give you the energy to go about your day or improve your athletic performance. Try adding Xi Yang Shen to stews or brewing it into a tea. It is, however, advisable not to take it at night since it may make it difficult for you to sleep.
- Huang Qi (Astragalus Root)
Huang Qi is a powerful herb that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for some time now. It is sometimes referred to as the “yellow energy” due to the golden color of its roots. This root promotes hormonal balance in the body by stimulating the release of hormones that support various internal processes. Additionally, Huang Qi supports the immune system which in turn increases the body’s ability to fight off foreign bodies. As an adaptogen, Huang Qi helps in dealing with stress and this greatly slows down the body’s aging process. Huang Qi is a warm herb and it can be used to make tea or added to soups and broths. Or try out our Reishi and Astragalus Chai Tea.
- Long Yan Rou (Longan Fruit)
Longan Fruit is one of the best Chinese herbs when it comes to maintaining the balance of hormones in the body. This herb is full of healthy components such as proteins, amino acids, iron, and vitamins A and C that are needed for healthy growth. This healthy combination empowers the body to fight toxin build up in the body which ensures that the hormonal balance in the body remains in check. Long Yan Rou also aids in replenishing the blood as well as fighting insomnia and anxiety. All these attributes make Long Yan Rou one of the best herbs in Chinese herbal medicine. It has a rich flavor and it can be added to recipes when making cookies, oatmeal or dessert. It can also be added to teas due to its rich taste.
- Gou Qi Zi (Goji Berries)
These nutritious berries help nourish the blood and build yin in the body. They also supply the body with powerful antioxidants that increase the body’s capacity to fight toxic invasions. These tasks help keep the balance of hormones in the body intact, thereby making goji berries ideal for improving the body’s hormonal health. Goji berries have a rich flavor and they can be added into tea or used to make oatmeal. They are also found in our Super-Antioxidant Longevi-Tea.
- Da Zao (Chinese Red Date)
Da Zao supplies the body with healthy nutrients that are needed for healthy growth and development. They help nourish the blood and increase energy levels in the body. Regular intake of these dates will, therefore, keep you healthy and strong to face the challenges life throws your way. They can be consumed on their own or added to soups or broths. (Pictured are black dates, please specify red dates in order comments if you wish to purchase red dates. Red dates are currently in stock.)
- Bai Shao (White Peony Root)
Bai Shao is one of the Chinese herbal remedies that offers natural pain relief. The potent herb provides relief from headaches and pain related to periods. It is can also be used to deal with appearance issues that result from blood deficiencies such as dull complexion and brittle nails. This healthy root can be added to soups or brewed with tea.
- Bai Zhu (White Atractylodes)
Bai Zhu is a warm, bitter-sweet herb known to invigorate and strengthen the spleen and can be used to eliminate night sweats and dampness. This nutritive herb can also be used to regulate blood sugar levels and prevent blood stagnation. One note of caution is that women who are dehydrated may not want to use this herb because of its diuretic effect. White atractylodes is available as a whole herb that can be brewed in tea or found as a powder, extract or decoction.
- Dang Gui (Angelica Root)
Dang Gui is a powerful Chinese herb with a myriad of health benefits. It is particularly beneficial to women since it brings about natural pain relief to complications associated with PMS and menopause.
This root helps nourish the blood and restore hormonal balance in the body. It can be added to chicken soups or added to tea. We also carry Angelica Sinensis/Dang Gui Capsules.
- Lian Zi (Lotus Seed)
Lian Zi supports the digestive system by activating crucial enzymes within the tract. This ensures that the digestive system is functioning properly and this promotes the balance of hormones in the body. It also aids in reducing irritability as well insomnia. It can be added to vegetable stews or added to homemade snacks when baking.
- Hei Zhi Ma or (Black Sesame Seed)
Hei Zhi Ma nourishes the yin of the liver and kidney. In doing so, Hei Zhi Ma prevents hormonal imbalance since it is these two organs that are responsible for eliminating toxins in the body. It also fights dryness in the body and this helps preserve a healthy skin appearance.
- Zhi Zi (Fructus Gardeniae)
The fruit of the Gardenia, also known as “Cape Jasmine Fruit”, is a bitter, cooling herb that can lower blood pressure. It is also sometimes called the “Happiness Fruit” as it is used to reduce irritability and restlessness. This amazing fruit also has analgesic properties that can be used to reduce aches and pains, another common complaint of menopausal women. Zhi Zi can be used in teas or soups or eaten directly. In powder form, the fruit can be blended into a poultice or liniment and used topically.
Topical Pain Relief Formulas
Topical application of herbs can also provide immense relief from pain and discomfort associated with hormonal changes. Plum Dragon Herbs specializes in combination herbal products that were formulated using the wisdom of ancient practices and modern science to produce the greatest health benefits.
Many of the top herbs discussed in this article are found in Plum Dragon’s Ho Family Dit Da Jow. This topical pain relief liniment is great for reducing aches and pains, as well as for strengthening bones and improving blood circulation to help ease the effects of hormone fluctuations in the body.
Chinese herbs have a lot of health benefits and creating a hormonal balance is just one of them. Making Chinese herbs part of your daily diet can contribute to your overall health and improved longevity. To garner the most benefit from Chinese herbs, try them in combination formulas which produce a synergistic effect to address multiple hormonal needs.