Many couples face issues when trying to have a baby. And with more than 7 million women struggling to get pregnant or carry a baby to term, it’s no wonder that fertility treatments and intervention is on the rise (source). Some fertility treatments, such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF) can cost upward of $20,000 – and many women need more than one treatment before becoming pregnant.
As an addition to our guide to Getting Pregnant Naturally, herbalist Kim Roman shares three herbs for fertility that support the reproductive system.
HERBS FOR A FERTILITY CLEANSE
Not all infertility problems can be treated with herbs – some truly do need medical intervention. However, issues related to irregular cycles and ovulation, high stress, hormone imbalances, or even weak uterine muscles may be helped with herbal remedies for a fertility cleanse.
Be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking herbs or supplements. While herbs are natural, they are still medicine and can be dangerous if not used with caution. You have many options when it comes to seeking advice about herbal supplements. Try a functional medicine doctor, naturopath, herbalist, acupuncturist, or chiropractor.
TOP 3 FERTILITY BOOSTING HERBS
These three herbs can help detoxify your body and get your fertility back in check. For a DIY fertility cleanse, you can take these herbs in supplement form (following directions for use) daily. Or you can boil them and drink as a tea.
This method feels extremely soothing and replenishing to your body. Strain the tea if you don’t like herbs and leaves floating in it. If it tastes too bitter, sweeten it with local honey.
WHICH HERBS CAN I USE TO GET PREGNANT?
Paired with a fertility friendly diet of whole foods, these are the three most researched herbs to boost fertility and how to safely use them.
Red Raspberry Leaf for Fertility
Probably the most widely known herb when it comes to getting pregnant, red raspberry leaf is rich in nutrients like calcium, iron, and B vitamins.
This herb can help to regulate menstrual cycles, making ovulation easier to predict and increasing your chances of conception. Red raspberry leaf also contains an alkaloid that helps strengthen the uterine wall – super useful in making the pregnancy stick.
The leaves also have astringent properties, which may help contract external and internal body tissues, potentially preventing excessive bleeding in the body.
Alfalfa for Fertility
High in vitamins such as C, E, and K alfalfa is actually known as a super-food, used to treat a wide variety of health conditions. For fertility, alfalfa gives your body a boost of minerals that are essential for a strong, healthy reproductive system.
Not to mention alfalfa is a phytoestrogen. Simply put, it blocks estrogen from its receptors, which helps regulate fluctuating levels of estrogen (which can be another common fertility issue).
Be sure your alfalfa herbs come from a trusted organic source. The plant is on the list of crops that are bioengineered (GMO) to withstand heavy pesticide and herbicide use.
Stinging Nettle for Fertility
As with red raspberry leaf, nettle also acts as a uterine tonic helping to strengthen and tone the uterus making a great home for a tiny growing baby.
High in calcium and magnesium, this herb also cleanses and detoxifies to clear the system of harmful toxins that may be affecting fertility. As if all that isn’t enough, stinging nettle also has a calming effect and can help reduce stress, which has a major impact on fertility.
ADDITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS + HERBS TO HELP GET PREGNANT
In addition to these herbs for fertility, the following supplements can be extremely helpful in getting pregnant naturally.
Adequate intake of Omega-3s via a high-quality supplement is extremely important for a healthy pregnancy and baby. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are important during ovulation. EFAs can increase blood circulation, support blood flow to the uterus, and help the follicle to release the egg. It can also help balance hormones.
Prebiotics & Probiotics
A balanced microbiome is important for nearly ever function in the body. Your microbiome and gut health are directly related. Use of antibiotics, hand sanitizer, and consuming GMO foods and sugar can all affect the gut lining.
Most of us are familiar with probiotics, but we underestimate the importance of prebiotics. Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that feed the good bacteria present in our colon. In essence, they act as a rich fertilizer for your gut’s healthy bacteria. Seed’s Daily Synbiotic is a balanced combination of probiotics and prebiotics.
The team at Seed gets heavy into research and has found that, “unlike the gut or mouth, the vagina comprises a low biomass, specialized, and sensitive ecology. Disruptions from menstruation, sex, hygiene, diet and antibiotics can alter its composition and function.” Taking a comprehensive synbiotic can help repair those imbalances and create a more robust vaginal biome. If you’re interested in trying it, use code GCM15 to get 15% off of your first month of Seed’s Daily Synbiotic subscription.
Folate is most beneficial to a pregnancy when taken a few months in advance. Women who are trying to conceive should get at least 2,000 micrograms a day. We’re learning that a growing number of people struggle to process the synthetic version (folic acid) and benefit more by taking folate, methylfolate, or a high quality prenatal vitamin that contains the natural methylated form.
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to all kinds of immune issues. Some studies link low Vitamin D with infertility and miscarriage. Spend some time outside as often as possible. Have your levels checked and find a quality-sourced Vitamin D supplement if you need it.
One dropper of black cohosh tincture taken for 3 months will aid in toning pelvic floor muscles. It also helps to reverse organ prolapse and stimulates the ovaries, reports Dr. Susun Weed in her book Down There: Sexual and Reproductive Health.
Many herbalists agree that this herb shouldn’t be taken for more than 6 months at a time.
Maca root has adaptogenic properties. It can help the body deal with stress and support the adrenal glands. Specifically maca
- Boosts hormonal balance
- Supports normal sexual function
- Encourages healthy thyroid function
Women often experience a stronger libido with regular maca root consumption. And many men report higher testosterone levels. You can take this quiz to find out which type and how much maca should work for you.
You can also try a fertility tea. After years of struggling with hormone balance and fertility, Kathryn Flynn created Moontime Tea’s Organic Fertility tea to support women on their fertility journey. It contains a completely organic blend of peppermint leaf, red clover, red raspberry leaf, and nettle.
Could it Be PCOS?
“PCOS is a common health issue that can affect the outcomes of fertility and pregnancy,” explains Kathryn Flynn. “When properly diagnosed and treated, many women go on to have healthy pregnancies.”
Each month, a woman’s ovaries produce a balance of estrogen, progesterone and androgens to regulate the menstrual cycle and ovulation. PCOS involves an overproduction of androgens, caused by increased production of insulin in the body, which can interfere with the development and release of the egg at ovulation. These eggs transform into small ovarian cysts, which proliferate in the ovary and may result in irregular of missed periods.
To reduce symptoms of PCOS, start by optimizing your weight and insulin resistance with exercise and diet. Acupuncture and herbs can also be a helpful tool.
Get regular exercise each day to:
• Support a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index of 18-25)
• Release toxins and cleanse the pores for healthy skin
• Manage excess hormones stored in fat cells
Follow a fertility diet:
• Reduce intake of refined carbohydrates and sugar, which spike blood sugar levels
• Eat balanced protein, carbohydrate meals and snacks to keep insulin levels steady
• Consume lots of organic leafy greens, whole grains and lean sources of protein
Male Fertility Issues
Optimal fertility is just as important for men. A 2017 study showed a 50% to 60% decline in sperm concentration between 1973 and 2011 in men from around the world. (source)
One culprit you won’t hear much about is EMF radiation. Here’s what you should know about cell phone radiation. Sperm motility, counts, and quality are affected after men keep a cell phone in their pocket near the groin. (source)
Here are herbs that have been found to boost male fertility:
- American Ginseng
- Ginkgo biloba
- Goji berry
- Maca root
- Saw Palmetto berries
Bottom line – there are a variety of ways to reap the benefits of these amazing herbs for fertility, and with hope, turn your fertility problems into a thing of the past.
Be sure to consult with your health care provider for suspected fertility issues. They can check for symptoms of PCOS and address any underlying health issues.
You may also consider meeting with a naturopathic doctor to address nutrition, herbal medicines, and lifestyle changes. Acupuncture can be extremely helpful for anxiety relief and help with fertility.