- What is PCOS?
- PCOS Symptoms
- How To Manage PCOS
- Facts About PCOS
- 14 Herbs For PCOS And Fertility
- Dong Quai
- Evening Primrose Oil
- Chaste tree berry
- Kanchanar Guggul
- Bitter leaf juice
- Green tea
- Licorice root
- Tips for managing PCOS while undergoing treatment.
- How to use herbs for PCOS
- Recommended dosage
- Final thought
- Side effects of using herbal remedies for PCOS
Several scientific studies have noted that medicinal plants such as Licorice root, Cinnamon, Ashwagandha, Dong Quai, Turmeric, Vitex, Ginger, etc can be used as potential herbs for PCOS [1, 2]. Although the use of herbs for PCOS has limited scientific backing, it does not mean that herbal remedies can’t help in treating PCOS.
Today, let’s examine some medicinal plants that be used in making remedies for PCOS, their benefits, side effects, and the pros and cons thereof.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is characterized by high levels of androgens, or male hormones, and irregular or absent menstrual cycles. PCOS can also cause several other symptoms as listed below.
- Excess hair growth on the face, chest, back, and other parts of the body (hirsutism)
- Weight gain, especially around the abdomen
- Dark patches of skin on the neck, armpits, or groin (acanthosis nigricans)
- Insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but it is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Women with PCOS are more likely to have a family history of the condition, and they are also more likely to be overweight or obese.
How To Manage PCOS
Currently, there is no cure for PCOS, but there are several treatments that can help manage the symptoms. These treatments may include:
- Take Medication or herbal remedy to regulate menstrual cycles and reduce androgen levels uses some potential herbs for PCOS which I list as you go further.
- Engaging in Weight loss activity, which can help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce androgen levels
- Use Metformin is a medication that can help with insulin resistance and improve fertility
- Go for Infertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF)
Facts About PCOS
Here are some important things to know about PCOS:
- It can be diagnosed if you have two of the following three symptoms: irregular periods, excess hair growth, and polycystic ovaries.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome can increase your risk of developing other health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and endometrial cancer.
- It is a chronic condition, but it can be managed with medical or herbal treatment.
14 Herbs For PCOS And Fertility
There are several herbal remedies for PCOS treatment, which can also support reproductive health. However, it is important to talk to a medical expert before using herbs for PCOS treatment, in case you have underlying health conditions or taking other medications.
Here are some herbs for PCOS and Fertility You can Incorporate into your diet, these herbs have shown promising effects in managing the symptoms of Polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Dong Quai
- Evening Primrose Oil
- Chaste tree berry (Vitex)
- Green tea
- Bitter leaf juice
- Licorice root
It is believed Ashwagandha contains a compound that can help relieve stress and anxiety. According to a 60-day randomized study on ashwagandha’s stress-relieving effects. It was noted that extract from the plant showed a moderating effect on the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis . This means incorporating Ashwagandha into our diet can offer some stress relief effects for patients with PCOS by reducing chronic inflammation.
Another confirmation of this was an eight-week study of 58 participants, who were divided into two groups of those who were given ashwagandha root extract and a placebo respectively. The result showed that those who took an aqueous extract of Ashwagandha root experienced relief of stress and anxiety than placebo .
Even in Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha is a popular herb known to support female fertility and reproductive health . Some also prefer combining ashwagandha, Shatavari, maca root, and ginger as ingredients in making a rich blend of stress-combating, energy-boosting tea, and herbal remedies good for PCOS patients too.
Scientific research noted that Cinnamon extract is rich in polyphenols — an antioxidant including other compounds that can benefit PCOS patients. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory  properties of cinnamon may also help irregular menstrual cycles in women with PCOS.
Cinnamon extract has equally been Linked to improved insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes outcomes. According to a scientific study, extract from cinnamon can help prevent insulin resistance by increasing insulin sensitivity, and glucose metabolism which is also good for patients with type 2 diabetes [7, 8, 9].
May support healthier fertility and more regular ovulation in women with PCOS.
According to research, Dong Quai root also known as Angelica sinensis has a hormone balancing effect, which can improve fertility .
Dong Quai is a traditional Chinese herb that is known for its fertility-boosting potential and ability to relieve pelvic congestion syndrome, by boosting blood flow to the pelvis It can also help induce a relaxing effect on uterine tissue .
Due to the anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and analgesic of Dong Quai extract, its efficacy in treating dysmenorrhea, and endometriosis has also been noted.
Another related study also confirmed that Dong Quai root can boost the flow of blood to the pelvis, which can help balance hormones and strengthen the uterus. lower inflammation, and encourage regular menstruation. This proves that herbal remedies made from Dong Quai root can help manage PCOS .
Evening Primrose Oil
May help reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS. According to a 12 weeks study on vitamin D-deficient women with PCOS, It was noted that the group treated with vitamin D and Evening Primrose Oil supplements showed a significant improvement in triglycerides, VLDL cholesterol, GSH, and MDA levels . This support the claim that the seeds of evening primrose are rich in an omega-6 fatty acid that supports hormonal balance.
For those interested in taking evening primrose oil supplements, you can purchase one from a local store or online store. Dr axe recommended that you take 500 milligrams 3 times daily, which can help increase cervical mucus which improves fertility.
Turmeric contains a compound that improves fertility. Studies have shown that the extract of turmeric can aid in regulating and balancing hormones . This means turmeric extract can improve ovulation  in women with PCOS. Turmeric extract so has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help improve insulin sensitivity.
Chaste tree berry
This plant has been used for centuries to treat women’s health problems, including infertility.
A systematic review on the use of herbal remedies in treating polycystic ovaries shows Chaste tree berry (Vitex agnus-castus) can reduce hirsutism by lowering testosterone and androgen in females .
Anecdotal evidence shows that taking a cup of dandelion tea daily can help women with PCOS. Extract from the plant contains compounds that can help reduce inflammation and improve liver function by promoting liver detoxification. It has also been shown to help lower blood sugar levels.
Supporting scientific research on the effect of dandelion extracts on the proliferation of ovarian granulosa cells shows that the extract of this plant may encourage steroid hormone synthesis by promoting germinal-center cell proliferation. It can also increase germinal-center cell receptor response, by boosting ovarian endocrine function  which also promotes fertility.
Guggul is a resin from the Commiphora mukul tree. It contains compounds that can help reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity.
Also, a publication in the European Journal Of Biomedical And Pharmaceutical Sciences which evaluates the clinical efficacy of Guggu suggests that Kanchanar Guggu may be a potential Ayurveda remedy that can be used in treating PCOS .
Bitter leaf juice
Anecdotal evidence suggests that intake of (Vernonia amygdalina) bitter leaf juice may help improve menstrual flow and reduce period pain.
Another scientific study also noted that bitter leaves have inherent potential that can help in the management of type 2 diabetes, and intake of the juice may boost our insulin sensitivity .
Green tea contains compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been shown to help improve insulin sensitivity.
Several supporting studies confirmed green tea is beneficial for patients with PCOS.
Intake can reduce the free testosterone level in patients with PCOS, by blocking the production of DHT, a testosterone that is linked with hair loss, hirsutism, and acne for women suffering from PCOS, as noted in a study .
Inositol is a type of carbohydrate the body makes which has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity.
Research shows that intake of up to 12 grams of supplementary inositol daily is recommended. It is a natural mood stabilizer, which reduces anxiety and depression that is often associated with PCOS.
Supporting review suggests inositol should be recommended for patients with insulin resistance, PCOS, and pregnant women with a high risk of gestational diabetes since it easily is converted into triphosphate that acts as an intracellular auxiliary messenger for insulin, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) .
Another related study also suggests inositol may also help manage PCOS. According to the study, 32 patients with free testosterone and progesterone were treated for 12 weeks with Myo-inositol and folic acid given to a group of 14 patients, while the remaining were placebo groups.
The result proved Myoinositol is a potential treatment option for patients with PCOS and infertility, as further evidence suggests that Myo-inositol therapy for women with PCOS can produce better fertilization rates, with a clear trend to better embryo quality .
Licorice root contains compounds that can help regulate hormones and reduce androgen levels and also to promote ovulation.
Ovarian dysfunction has been linked with oxidative stress according to research, Interestingly, a study also suggests that licorice may be a potential natural antioxidant that can help in treating Ovarian dysfunction .
According to an experimental rat study to find the efficacy of licorice extract on ovarian morphology, 32 female mice were divided into 4 groups of 8 each. While the control A group received no treatment, the B group was treated with estradiol valerate injection one dose daily, the C group was treated with 100mg/kg licorice extract, and the D group was given 150 mg/kg licorice extract respectively.
The result revealed that only groups C and D given two doses (100 mg and 150 mg) of licorice, experienced a decreased ovarian cyst and improved fertilization rate of oocyte and embryo development in PCOS mice. This show that licorice may offer a protective effect on embryo development for PCOS patients, however, a more human-centered study is needed .
Fennel extract may help prevent ovarian cell proliferation and also promote ovarian growth and follicle development, and boost fertility as revealed in a rat study . It is believed to have compounds that can help regulate hormones and reduce androgen levels.
Anecdotal evidence also suggests that drinking fennel water extract may improve the menstrual cycle in women, The water extract is prepared by Soaking two tablespoons of fennel seeds in 1 cup of water and leaving it overnight. Strain and drink the water in the morning.
Additional research suggests Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) seed combined with phytoestrogens compounds can be a potential remedy for the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) .
However, one related study noted that fennel was not significant in relieving ovarian cyst symptoms in polycystic women, suggesting further study on the impact of fennel extract on PCOS .
A comparative animal study on the saponins content of ginger revealed that ginger extract may play a role in reducing ovarian morphology and nerve growth factor in the ovaries, pituitary, and hippocampus [33, 34]. Ginger contains compounds that can help reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity
Tips for managing PCOS while undergoing treatment.
Here are some additional tips for managing PCOS:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Losing even a small amount of weight can help improve your symptoms.
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating a diet that is low in sugar and processed foods and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help improve your insulin sensitivity and reduce androgen levels.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise can help improve insulin sensitivity, reduce androgen levels, and help you lose weight.
- Get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep can help improve your overall health and well-being, which can also help improve your symptoms of PCOS.
- Manage stress. Stress can worsen symptoms of PCOS. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, yoga, or meditation.
How to use herbs for PCOS
To prepare herbal remedies for PCOS at home, you can try the following methods:
Make Herbal teas
Prepare herbal teas using herbs like fennel, black cohosh, basil, and cinnamon. Steep the herbs in hot water for about 10 minutes, strain, and drink the tea.
Use Herbal supplements
Inositol, a vitamin-like substance, has shown positive effects on ovulation rates and menstrual cycles in women with PCOS. Inositol and others are available as a supplement and can be taken according to the recommended dosage.
Incorporate them into our diet
Ashwagandha, Turmeric, ginger, and other herbal spices, listed above can be incorporated into our daily diet since they have compounds that help PCOS patients
While Turmeric has been found to improve ovulation in women with PCOS, and ashwagandha offers stress relief and reduces chronic inflammation associated with PCOS
You can incorporate turmeric into your diet by adding it to dishes or it taken as a supplement or added to smoothies or teas
Consult a healthcare provider
Before starting any herbal remedies, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider, especially if you’re already on other medications. They can guide the appropriate dosage and potential interactions with other treatments.
The recommended dosage and frequency of herbal remedies for PCOS may vary depending on the specific herb and the individual’s health status. Here are some examples of recommended dosages and frequencies for some herbal remedies that show promise in managing PCOS symptoms:
Ashwagandha: Dosage of 300-500 mg per day for up to 12 weeks.
Cinnamon: Dosage of 1-6 grams per day for up to 16 weeks.
Dong Quai: Dosage of 1-3 grams per day for up to 12 weeks.
Evening Primrose Oil: Dosage of 1-3 grams per day for up to 12 weeks.
Turmeric: Dosage of 500-2000 mg per day for up to 12 weeks.
Vitex: Dosage of 400-500 mg per day for up to 6 months.
Herbal remedies for PCOS may interact with other medications, and some herbs may not be safe for certain individuals. It is important to talk to a healthcare provider before starting any new regimen, especially if already on other medications.
According to a review of herbal medicine for the management of PCOS, herbal medicines are complex interventions with the potential for synergistic and antagonistic interactions between compounds . Therefore, it is important to be cautious when combining herbal remedies with other medications .
Additionally, some herbs may have contraindications for certain individuals, such as pregnant women or those with liver or kidney disease. For example, Dong Quai may not be safe for pregnant women or those with a history of breast cancer .
play safe while using herbal remedies. the commented herbs can help in managing PCOS. However, it should be used as a substitute for medical treatment, meaning you should seek a doctor’s opinion first. Beware of some possible side effects of using herbal remedies for PCOS.
Side effects of using herbal remedies for PCOS
Here are some of the potential side effects of herbal remedies used to treat PCOS:
- Irritation of the stomach or intestines
- Mood changes
JC is passionate about finding the impact of foods (feeding habits) on human fertility and reproductive health and a way to improve fertility.