Phytotherapy is the use of plants for medicinal purposes, either in their whole food form or as supplements. It is a very ancient practice that is becoming more widely used in North America.
Phytotherapy is used to heal the body and prevent disease. It works by addressing the deep-rooted cause of illness rather than masking and controlling symptoms. Phytotherapy is gentle on our bodies and is very beneficial for balancing hormones. Many women have turned to phytotherapy to help with menopausal symptoms in light of the dangerous side effects of conventional hormone replacement therapy. However, phytotherapy can be beneficial for many other conditions related to hormone imbalance such as PMS, infertility, weight gain and fatigue.
When addressing hormonal concerns it is important to realize that imbalances arise because of too much or too little production of hormones or elimination of hormones. To balance the hormones we must support both the organs of production and elimination.
The organs responsible for hormone production are numerous. We think of most commonly of the reproductive organs, but there are many other organs that control hormone production including the adrenal (stress glands), thyroid (metabolism), pituitary glands (brain), and even fat cells. This explains why when our hormones are out of balance we feel moody, gain weight and little things seem to irritate us.
There are many herbs that have been shown to be beneficial in supporting hormone balance. Black Cohosh, Wild Yam and Soy have been used by generations of women to help ease menopausal symptoms. Chaste Tree has been long known to help with infertility and symptoms of PMS. Coleus forskohlii is very effective for facilitating weight loss, especially when the weight gain is secondary to hypothyroidism. It is important to remember that not all of these herbs are safe for everyone, some herbs work best in combination and the timing of herb collection and the part of the plant used can significantly affect its potency. With this in mind, I recommend you always get your herbs from a trained professional who can help you determine which ones are safest and most effective for you.
The organs of elimination, such as the liver, gallbladder, kidney and bowels play a key role in balancing hormones and must be supported as well. Fiber, leafy green vegetables, red beets and brightly colored fruits and vegetables are very beneficial to the organs of elimination. Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, Brussels sprouts and broccoli have been shown to be especially effective in detoxifying the digestive system. These vegetables have been shown to protect against breast, prostate, thyroid, and cervical cancer. However, most of us do not consume enough of these vegetables to result in the above-mentioned benefits. Standard Process Vitamin Company (available at Bozeman Wellness Center) has formulated an organically grown, whole food product known as Cruciferous Complete. Studies have shown women who supplemented their diets with Cruciferous Complete have been able to lower levels of certain types of estrogen that are associated with breast and cervical cancer.
As you can see, balancing hormones involves many different systems and can become a very complex matter. At Bozeman Wellness Center we believe in individualized assessment and treatment. We use Applied Kinesiology, blood work and saliva tests to allow us to determine exactly where your body needs support. We then give you the specific care and nutrition you need to feel better and function optimally. To schedule your individualized assessment, please call us at 406-586-3556. You can also visit our website for a list of upcoming health talks in the community.