The other day, I had a female customer bring in her bag of supplements. It was a rather large bag and we started to go through each bottle and what she was using it for. We came across one bottle that she wasn’t sure why she was taking it. I wasn’t really surprised when she said she didn’t know if it was doing her any good since the bottle was an herbal formula designed to support men’s prostate health. Without mentioning the purpose of the product, I asked why she decided to start taking it. She said it was because her uncle said how much good it was doing for him!
It can be difficult to wade through all the herbs that are out there. What ones are good for what and when are they beneficial. It becomes even more complex when we throw all the different herbal formulas and vitamins into the mix. If you are going to use more than one or two natural health products, it is important that you do your own research on each product and the individual ingredients or you consult a natural health coach that can guide you through the process of deciding what to take and how to take it. Of course, even if you do use the service of a trained guide, it is wise to never let anyone be your sole source of information.
Whether herbs or drugs, be sure to have a clear understanding of why you are taking what you are and how it may help or hurt you.
For those that would like to learn more about the various natural health supplements, here is a beginner’s guide to herbs for women.
Bayberry – Bayberry may be beneficial to help ease excessive menstrual bleeding.
Black Cohosh – The estrogenic effects of black cohosh have given it a reputation as being beneficial for hot flashes and other pre-menopausal concerns. It may also be beneficial during childbirth to stimulate contractions, help control hemorrhaging and afterbirth pains. This herb should not be used except in the last 4 to 6 weeks of pregnancy and only under the guidance of an experienced midwife or doctor as it may cause damage to the unborn fetus.
Blessed Thistle – This herb, similar to Milk Thistle, is generally used to strengthen the liver. However the benefits to women include balancing hormones, enriching breast milk, reducing breast inflammation and unclogging milk ducts.
Blue Cohosh – Blue Cohosh stimulates uterine contractions and relaxes muscle spasms making it beneficial during childbirth. This herb should not be used except in the last 6 weeks of pregnancy and only under the guidance of an experienced midwife or doctor as it may cause damage to the unborn fetus.
Dong Quai – This Chinese herb has been used extensively in Chinese medicine to treat female concerns. It is a general tonic, meaning that it is good for several different female conditions including PMS, regulation of menses and infertility.
False Unicorn – Historically, False Unicorn has been used to stop a pending miscarriage.
Ginger – This herb is commonly used for digestive disturbances and may be beneficial for morning sickness during pregnancy.
Maca – Beneficial for men and women, this herb has been used to increase sexual desire.
Parsley – When it is time to wean your little one from breast feeding, parsley can be used to dry up the breast milk.
Red Raspberry – Rich in manganese, this herb can be used to tone and strengthen the uterus and regulate the female organs. Extremely beneficial for teenage girls and their families during this rollercoaster phase of emotions.
Many of these herbs have been used for centuries to support female health. While there may not be scientific research to support their use, they are generally considered safe when used as directed. Due to the state of our health care system, it is now important to begin taking on the role of being our own.