Today we celebrate the festival of the goddess Eostre, which falls on the Vernal Equinox. This Spring maiden heralds the Dawn, New Life and Re-birth.
As women one of our most important hormones, Oestrogen is responsible for the feminisation of the body, giving us beautiful curves! Oestrogen is an agent of Growth, quite literally the ‘proliferative’ stage of our menstrual cycle. The ovaries are the main source of oestrogen in the body. They also contain the ovum, a woman’s life supply of eggs that once fertilised develop into a baby, new life…
In the plant world there are many many healing herbs that contain phyto oestrogens; known to influence the menstrual cycle, to reduce the incidence of oestrogen responsive cancers and to decrease the frequency and severity of menopausal symptoms. The levels of phyto oestrogens in plants are found to change as the plant grows and matures, much like a woman – green sympatica!! They share similar biological activity with endogenous oestrogens such as interacting with oestrogen receptors in the body but exerting a much weaker effect.
Here are two well loved, well known women’s herbs that are rich in phyto oestrogens…
Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a tonic to the nervous system and thought to increase longevity, enhance strength and vitality. She has a toning effect on the reproductive system and is an emmenagogue recommended for delayed, scanty or absent menses. This utertine stimulant action is also useful during childbirth and to expel the placenta. She eases menstrual cramps and can support fertility. But most traditionally used to soothe menopausal imbalances, especially hot flushes and night sweats. Take an infusion sweetened with local honey.
Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) is one of the most ideal regulator of uterine contractions during childbirth. She increases and normalizes weak and erratic contractions and tones the reproductive tract. Used for painful menses, sore and inflammatory gynaelogical conditions, infections and weakness in the uterus leading to infertility. She is also one of the best remedies for reflex mammary pain during pregnancy, mastitis, ovarian and uterine pain. A helpful ally too in menospausal imbalances.
However when we talk of oestrogen we must also mention progesterone. And like the equal night and day of this festival, we also seek balance within our hormonal health.
For this the herb must be Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus castus). One of the most important herbs for women’s wellbeing. Hormonal regulator with the wonderful action of balancing the pituitary function. She normalizes follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone and supports the corpus luteum to produce progesterone in the second phase of the menstrual cycle. She is a fine remedy for PMS, irregular and painful menses, heavy bleeding, fibroids, re-establishing the ovarian cycle after use of the contraceptive pill. She calms and relaxes the emotional distress of PMS and menopausal depression. Stimulates lactation and a most effective support for fertility and conception.
And so…the rhythms of life unite us as one, and we see Mama Nature preparing to spring forth with New Life and Abundance. May you seek the healing plants that balance your wellbeing and support your journey to wellness xxx