After I started doing some research, I became quite concerned over the lack of adequate double blind, placebo controlled testing on herbs. Please note that in the USA, these products are not regulated, and that you may very probably will be using yourself as a guinea pig in regards to effectiveness and whether or not it will harm you. Also, I have added several books that appear to be reputable in the work on herbs. Try Fetrow and Avila's Professional's Handbook of Complementary and Alternative Medicines, Tyler's 4th edition of Honest Herbal, and Evidence-Based Herbal Medicine, by Dr. Michael Rotblatt(October, 2001). The bottom line is to be careful and research scientific research, rather than anecdotal evidence.

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Herb Summaries General resource URL's
Herbs for endometriosis Losing hair
Herbs in pregnancy Herbs in menopause
Melissa's herb comments Natural progesterones

I found this site that looks pretty good: its BabyZone's website on infertility and herbs.

Herbs for PCO:
Sunny's webpage are great places to start. As far as I know, and I don't have Melissa's (the person who helped me write this) background, Chaste tree berry helps with the LH/FSH ratio., False Unicorn Root and Sage helps with amenorrhea., Damiana for all around reproductive health., and Dong Quai., Red Raspberry., help in other ways. Be careful of Pennyroyal. It can cause miscarriages in some circumstances. Tea Tree Oil products for work for Acne. Herbal tea can help with the diarreah of Metformin. Try Chromium GTF (Glucose Tolerance Formula) instead of the regular Chromium Picolinate, because it maybe a problem. I don't know how good this is, but Health and Science Research Institute has information about herbs and PCO. If you want to click here, you can go to a list of websites that talk about herbs in general.

Can't herbs be used for endometriosis?
The S.H.E Trust is the only place I can find as a reference for anyone trying them.

I'm losing my hair! Is there an herbal help for it?
Melissa has suggested organic cider vinegar. Use it as a *FINAL* rinse, two or three times a week, 3 tablespoonfuls diluted, into 1/2 pint of tepid water and just pour over your hair and rubbed it into your scalp. It started working within 2 weeks, and although hair fell out, not as much of it did.

Can I take herbs in pregnancy?
A number of herbs markedly stimulate the uterus; this is the basis of the action of some emmenagogues. Under most conditions this is of no consequence, but during pregnancy it is important that no externally produced stimulation or spasm occurs in the uterus, as this may trigger a miscarriage. The most common of these stimulating herbs are Autumn Crocus, Barberry, Golden Seal, Juniper, Male Fern, Mandrake, Pennyroyal, Poke Root, Rue, Sage, Southernwood, Tansy, Thuja and Wormwood. Whilst these will not always act as abortifacients, it is well worth avoiding the risk of taking them, as their desired actions can equally be attained by other herbs." From Hoffman, D:1999:Pg 236:'Complete Herbal'.

I'm not worried about pregnancy. I'm in menopause.
Tufts University and The Herb Research Foundation are good. To help with that transition, Healthy.Net has a good list of herbs for you.

This part of the page is courtesy of Melissa, who is into herbs/natural help. There is a book she recommends: (English: Hoffman,D: Complete Herbal: 1996 (published by Mustard Books).
For acne: Black Cohosh, Echinacea, and Sarsaparilla.
For anxiety: Chamomile, Damiana, Ginseng (Korean) *Dr. Speroff in "Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility" said that ginseng has been associated with abnormal bleeding (581)*, Kava Kava, Motherwort, Passion Flower, Pasque Flower, St. John's Wort, and Valerian
For cramps & ovarian pain: Black Cohosh, False Unicorn Root, Motherwort, Pasque Flower, St. John's Wort, Valerian, and Wild Yam
For constipation: Flaxseed
For delayed periods: Chaste Berry, Dong Qui, False Unicorn Root, Motherwort, and Starflower/Borage
For depression: Damiana, Chamomile, and Valerian
Headaches: Chamomile, St. John's Wort, and Valerian
High Blood Pressure: Black Cohosh, Hawthorne Berry, and Motherwort
Hirsuitism: Saw Palmetto (I have articles on this here and here).
Liver Tonic: Milk Thistle
Insomnia: Chamomile, Passion Flower, Pasque Flower, and Valerian
Palpitations: Motherwort and Valerian
P.M.T.: Chaste Berry, Dong Qui, Licorice, Pasque Flower, and Valeria
Tiredness: Dong Qui and Ginko Biloba


BLACK COHOSH Most powerful action as a relaxant and aids the lowering of blood pressure. Also normaliser of the female reproductive system (use if periods are delayed) Eases painful cramps during periods and ovarian/uterine pain., *Can be used in combination with Blue Cohosh., Contraindications: To be avoided during pregnancy.
As of Sept 20, 2002, new information: Black cohosh is Cimicifuga racemosa in the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae. Check PubMed for some of the results. Check Fetrow and Avila's Professional's Handbook of Complementary and Alternative Medicines, or Tyler's 4th edition of Honest Herbal. It's estrogenic effects appear to be well established, but there apparently is a veritable symphony of interactions and contraindications.

CHAMOMILE Has a diversity of benefits such as mild sedative, nerve relaxant to help with insomnia and tension. Additionally, it is used for digestive complaints such as irritable bowel syndrome., Contraindications: None

CHASTE BERRY (Agnus castus, Vitex) Has traditionally been used as a remedy for regulating the female reproductive system and normalising the menstrual cycle. Normalises pituitary gland functions especially progesterone function. Also, can ease anxiety and dysmenorrhea. Studies have suggested a progesterone-like effect., *Reputation for being an aphrodisiac!, Contraindications: it is advisable to restrict its use during pregnancy.

DAMIANA An excellent strengthening remedy for the nervous system thereby being a useful antidepressant, Contraindications: The pharmacology of the plant suggests that the alkaloids could have a testosterone-like action.

DONG QUI A Chinese phytoestrogenic herb commonly used as a female tonic in premenstrual tension and irregular periods. Helps with fatigue, aches and pains, irritability and nervous tension., Contraindications: Not to be taken during pregnancy. With high doses, a rare complaint is that women may experience abdominal bloating.

ECINACEA A herbal remedy for general skin disorders such as acne, spots and blemishes. All respond well to the plant's unique action. It is used as a potent immune stimulant shown to increase white blood cell production and activity, interferon and antibody production. Also possesses anti-inflammatory and healing properties. Has also been shown to help reduce stress., *Used in combination with Yarrow or Bearberry it will effectively stop cystitis., Contraindications: Not recommended for Auto Immune Disease sufferers.

FALSE UNICORN ROOT This is one of the best tonics and strengtheners of the reproductive system where it acts as a natural hormone balancer. Used specifically to restore regular cycles where periods are delayed or absent. Also effective in relief of ovarian pain., Contraindications: Large doses will cause nausea & vomiting.

FLAXSEED OIL also known as Linseed Oil Has the most abundant levels of Omega 3 & Omega 6 fatty acids. Strengthens immunity and cleanses arteries, nourishes the spleen, pancreas and lubricates the colon., Contraindications: None.

GINSENG - KOREAN Employed as an all round tonic. Aids recovery from illness, acts as an adaptogen (improves tolerance to stress), strengthens the central nervous system, fights fatigue and boosts alertness. The Korean variety is thought to possess the most stimulating action of the Ginseng family, Contraindication: Not recommended in cases of hypertension or oestrogen dependent disorders. Occasionally may produce headaches.

HAWTHORNE BERRY Offers aid to cardiovascular complaints, assisting with poor circulation, reducing high blood pressure and improving strength and function of the heart. Contraindications: None

LICORICE also spelled liquorice Used as a natural hormone balancer especially for PMT. Has marked effect on the endocrine system and can also be used in relief of abdominal colic., Contraindications: Regular use of deglycyrrhised licorice is not recommended in those with high blood pressure. Potassium intake should be increased in glycyrrhised licorice used daily. (full of sugar!)

MOTHERWORT Traditionally, used to aid a variety of female reproductive health concerns and valuable in the stimulation of delayed or supressed periods., Contraindications: Not to be taken during pregnancy.

PASSION FLOWER Has a relaxing and mild sedative effect. Shown to induce calmness and reduce anxiety as well as improving sleep quality and length, has no reports of morning grogginess., *Combines well with Valerian, Hops and Jamaican Dogwood in cases of insomnia., Contraindications: None noted.

PASQUE FLOWER Excellent relaxant properties. Helps ease reproductive system cramps such as ovarian pain. Helps with dysmenorrhea. It will help insomnia and reduce tension headaches. The anti bacterial actions may help with acne and all infections of the skin, Contraindications: None

STAR FLOWER OIL (Borage) Has very high gamma linolenic acid content. Primarily used by those with difficulty monthly cycles., Contraindications: None.

SARSAPARILLA Helps relieve chronic skin problems, including acne and psoriasis. May also improve digestion. Used as a blood cleanser/detoxifier and to treat rheumatism due to its anti-inflammatory and diuretic activity; has an apparent ability to bind to toxins., Contraindications: None.

VALERIAN Used to ease tension & anxiety and to promote restful sleep. Has not been shown to have negative side effects of habit forming or grogginess upon waking often associated with tranquillising drugs. May also aid irritable bowel syndrome. As an anti-spasmodic, will aid in the relief of cramp, intestinal colic and also period pain and cramps., Contraindications: Extended use in high doses may cause depression.

SAW PALMETTO The berries have been used for hundreds of years for male reproductive system. Newer studies show that this herb may help with hirsuitism., Contraindications: None.

General resource links:
Christina's is my favorite
Algy's Herb page
Everything Herbal
Barefoot Doctoring Information

Natural progesterone:
I'm gathering information in regards to natural progesterones. For right now: (July 15, 2002):
It is my understanding from Dr. Mark Perloe on natural progesterone cremes (see his CV and comments at that "95% is metabolized to hydroxyprogesterones with little protective effect. Yet, these metabolites can bind to the Cl ion channel, like valium." If you are encouraged to get a salivary testing of this, "Salivary and serum progesterone correlations tend to be quite high."

As for miscarriage and progesterone, think about the following exchange between 2 doctors: (

Copyright Vic Nicholls 1999-2007