Through the centuries, various cultures around the world have not only discovered that plants fall into categories in terms of their biological sex (with male and female plants often having completely different curative properties), but that they also fall into categories regarding which human sex they best serve: female or male. Thus, certain herbs are see in terms of Â“female herbs.Â”
Through the centuries, various cultures around the world have not only discovered that plants fall into categories in terms of their biological sex (with male and female plants often having completely different curative properties from one another) but that plants can also be categorized by which sex they best serve: female or male.
Thus, certain herbs are routinely designated as “female herbs.”
The following herbs have traditionally been singled out by many societies around the world as having curative and medicinal properties especially geared to a woman’s body; herbs specifically effective in treating female reproductive conditions for a wide range of women regardless of age, ethnicity, or cultural heritage. (This is just a partial list reflecting those most commonly available.)
Damiana is native to Mexico and the US Southwestern and is a major curative in Native American and Mexican medical folklore.
While used to treat diabetes, kidney disease, bladder infections, asthma, bronchitis, chronic fatigue, and anxiety, damiana's popularity as a sex herb and aphrodisiac used in treating impotence, sterility, and menopause is also quite renowned.
Having a centuries-old reputation for being an aphrodisiac for women who have lost vitality in their sexual organs, damiana serves to provide additional oxygen to the genital area and thus act as a sexual rejuvenator. The parts of the plant most commonly used for this purpose are the leaves, although some preparations also contain the stem.
Widely available in health food stores (and online) in fresh, tablet, or extract, it is generally suggested that damiana be discontinued after two months if no positive results are noted. (Many herbs take at least 4-6 weeks to be of any benefit, so 2 months should be enough time to see whether it will benefit you.)
> dong quai:
Dong quai, sometimes referred to as the "female ginseng" (ginseng considered a male herb), is one of the most important of the Chinese herbs, commonly used to nourish the blood and support healthy menstrual cycles. Used for centuries by Asian healers to balance female hormones and promote emotional health during menopause and perimenopause, dong quai has in recent decades been clinically proven effective in these applications.
Used to relieve the discomforts of menopause (hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood swings) and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), amenorrhea (absence of menstruation), menorrhagia (abnormal menstruation), dong quai has also been prescribed to treat prolapsed uterus, and has been used to regulate monthly cycles in women after giving birth or when ending the use of birth control pills.
Following childbirth, dong quai has been used as a postpartum tonic to help regulate the menses and build the blood. As a uterine tonic, it promotes an increase in contractions followed by a prolonged relaxation, and is also believed to reduce pain associated with endometriosis, especially when used in combination with other natural herbs like chaste berry and/or black cohosh.
(Pregnant women should not use dong quai.)
> red clover:
Used by Native American groups for centuries, red clover contains powerful phytoestrogens called isoflavones which mimic the way the sex hormone estrogen acts in a woman's body. Involved in regulating a number of different reproductive processes in women including ovulation, menstruation, and pregnancy, estrogen is also a factor in labor induction and breast milk production. (Consequently, using red clover during pregnancy could lead to unwanted complications.)
Red clover is frequently used for hot flashes, PMS symptoms, breast enhancement and breast health, improving urine production, and improving circulation of the blood. It is also used to help prevent osteoporosis, and reduce the possibility of blood clots and arterial plaques. Red clover also may have a direct effect on the female system by preventing the breakdown of existing bone.
Although motherwort benefits women in a number of ways including acting as a liver purifier and in relieving edema, it is its ability to relieve the symptoms of menopause for which it is most widely recognized.
Because the symptoms of menopause are the result of a depletion of estrogen, the most effective way to counteract the effects is to treat both the adrenal glands and the ovaries. But rather than act as a hormone replacement, it is thought that motherwort functions to spur the body to replace the missing hormones. In doing so, motherwort functions to quiet palpations of the heart, calm tremors, control fainting, and provide general strength.
Based on a practice dating back to the early 1800’s, modern lactation consultants frequently suggest compresses made from green cabbage leaves to reduce swelling in moderate to severe breast engorgement.
Known for its antibiotic and anti-irritant properties, this natural substance helps decrease tissue congestion by dilating capillaries of the breasts, which effectively improves the blood flow in and out of the area, allowing the body to reabsorb the fluid trapped in the breasts. Cabbage may also have a type of drawing, or “wicking” action, that helps move trapped fluid.
In addition to aiding in breast engorgement, cabbage appears to alleviate the fluid that is often trapped throughout the mother's body after her baby is born.
(Note: Cabbage compresses should not be applied to the nipples if they are cracked, bleeding, or blistered. In such cases, it is recommended that the cabbage leaves be placed around the breast without covering irritated skin.)
> black cohosh:
Used for centuries by Native Americans, black cohosh has traditionally been considered a female herb best suited to easing labor pains, treat menstrual cramps, hot flashes, infertility, threatened miscarriage, and to induce lactation.
While the list of health benefits black cohosh provides covers a wide range of ailments, its primary use today remains as a nutritional supplement for hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, menstrual cramps, and bloating associated with female menopause.
(Although it is sometimes prescribed by traditional nurse-midwives to induce labor, black cohosh should never be taken by a pregnant woman without first consulting a qualified herbalist. Additionally, it is suggested that women with hormone-sensitive conditions such as cancer of the breast, ovaries or uterus, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids avoid black cohosh all together.)
Fenugreek seed has been used since Biblical times to increase milk production in nursing mothers. Containing large amounts of phytoestrogens (plant chemicals similar to the female sex hormone estrogen) and diosgenin, fenugreek has been proven to increase milk flow.
Known to predictably increase a nursing mother's milk supply within 24 to 72 hours after first taking the herb, most women can discontinue fenugreek and continue maintain the milk supply with adequate breast stimulation once an adequate level of milk production is reached.
While many women prefer fenugreek in pill form (ground seeds placed in capsules) which can be found at most health food stores, supermarkets, and of course, online, fenugreek can also be prepared as an infusion from the dried seeds, although some report the taste is rather bitter.
(Note: Fenugreek has been known to aggravate asthma symptoms in some women and has lowered blood glucose levels in some with diabetes.
> squaw vine:
Squaw vine is a natural curative used by Native Americans for centuries to help facilitate all facets of childbirth including labor, delivery, and expulsion of afterbirth. Used several weeks before expected delivery, squaw vine is thought to stimulate the uterus and encourage a safe and easy birth, but can also be used by non-expectant women to promote suppressed menstruation and relieve painful menstruation.
Sometimes know as squawberry, when squaw vine was first discovered by English colonists--particularly mid-wives-- they quickly adopted its use as an aid in childbirth and as a remedy for menstrual cramps. The vine was even included in the United States National Formulary from 1926 through 1947.
Red raspberry leaf has a traditional role as a women's herb due to it’s known effectiveness in treating issues of female reproductive health. Regarded in many cultures as useful for a wide range of ailments, the use of red raspberry leaf extends back centuries in North and Central America, particularly in support of women in childbirth. It is a mainstay of traditional midwifery.
As a uterine tonic, red raspberry leaf is useful for women during both pregnancy and menstruation, as well as for general uterine health. Known as a “birth herb” due to its toning effect on the uterus, a red raspberry leaf infusion can help make the childbirthing process considerably easier. Morning sickness can also be reduced with raspberry leaf tea.
> cramp bark:
Considered to be very helpful for many female medical conditions, the health benefits of cramp bark were first formally documented by the medical community of the US during the 1960s.
Known for centuries by Native American groups who utilized cramp bark to improve women’s general health and prevent various ailments that affect women and their reproductive system, cramp bark is believed to regulate menstrual cycles, bleeding, and control pain. It is also administered to pregnant women to treat premature labor pain and to strengthen the uterine muscles, while preparing them for labor. Some doctors even recommend this herb as a form of prevention against miscarriage.
As a tea, cramp bark acts as a relaxant, relieving muscle ache and cramps. But, it can be used by women with breathing problems, constipation, poor circulation, and high blood pressure.
Medicinal Herbs and Plants, F. Stary
Thumb via: http://www.longevityherbs.com/images/mainImages/green_woman.jpg
> Health Benefits of Masturbation for Women
> Natural Sources of Estrogen
> Health Benefits of Breastfeeding for Women
> Sex and Older Women
> La Leche League International
> The Practice of Midwifery
Visit JAMES R. COFFEY WRITING SERVICES & RESOURCE CENTER for more information.