If you are someone that struggles with polycystic ovary syndrome, better known as PCOS, you know that it is a complex hormonal disorder. It can affect anyone with ovaries, causing irregular periods, hormonal imbalances, and painful cysts deep within.
It is a challenging condition to manage, marred by periods of tender physical and emotional feelings. It is no wonder that many individuals diagnosed with PCOS have begun to explore the possibility of natural remedies that have the ability to complement their preexisting treatment plans.
There are three herbs for PCOS that stand above the rest: turmeric, maca, and licorice. This is what you need to know about these powerful roots and how they have earned their place amongst those seeking relief from PCOS.
Turmeric Root (Curcuma longa)
Both an effective herbal remedy and a delicious addition to any spice rack, turmeric (Curcuma longa) is the first on our list of herbs for PCOS. Native to India and Southeast Asia, the turmeric root is bright orange and leaves behind a brilliantly yellow dye. It has been traditionally used for centuries and is renowned due to its active compound curcumin, which offers anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
As an herb for PCOS, here is how turmeric root can help:
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Chronic, but low-grade inflammation is often a key contributor to PCOS symptoms. It is the source behind any and all aches and soreness that comes hand-in-hand with a PCOS diagnosis, and turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties can help ease these symptoms.
- Blood Sugar and Insulin Regulation
PCOS can result in insulin resistance, which can wreak havoc on the body and is one of the most prevalent concerns amongst those with PCOS. Curcumin's ability to enhance insulin sensitivity makes it a promising aid in managing insulin. By regulating blood sugar levels, it can contribute to overall hormonal balance, as suggested by this .
- Hormone Balance and Menstrual Regulation
Since PCOS affects the body’s reproductive system, it often manifests as detrimental and frustrating symptoms, specifically relating to hormones and the menstrual cycle. Emerging research indicates that curcumin may help regulate menstrual cycles and reduce elevated testosterone levels, both of which are common difficulties during PCOS management.
Maca Root (Lepidium meyenii)
Maca, also known as Lepidium meyenii, is a hardy root that is native to the Andes Mountains in Peru and Bolivia. Maca is celebrated for its adaptogenic qualities and potential hormonal benefits, making it a popular herb for PCOS. Its benefits may include:
Maca root is considered to be an adaptogen, which means that it can help the body adapt to stress. This adaptogenic quality is particularly valuable in addressing many of the difficulties that come as a result of polycystic ovary syndrome’s hormone imbalances. These imbalances can result in mood swings and fatigue, but maca root is thought to help alleviate these symptoms.
That being said, the scientific community is still at odds about whether or not adaptogens truly exist, and if they do, which herbs qualify.
- Fertility Support
For many people with PCOS, one of the worst things about the condition is that it often results in fertility struggles. Typically, this is due to the hormonal imbalances PCOS causes in many people, which make it difficult for the body to house a healthy pregnancy.
Fortunately, maca root is thought to help enhance reproductive health through its hormone-balancing effects, as supported by this earlier study .
Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Though licorice root may be known best for its natural sweetness—it may even be your least favorite type of candy—it has become one of the most widely used herbs for PCOS. Also known by its Latin name Glycyrrhiza glabra, licorice root has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and has been lauded for its ability to support feminine health. Here is how it is used as an herb for PCOS:
- Supports Hormonal Balance
Licorice root contains a powerful compound called glycyrrhizin, which is unique to the plant. It is thought to help support hormonal balance, which is a crucial aspect of PCOS management. One study conducted on rats supports this claim, finding that licorice root extract may reduce the development of ovarian cysts and help improve fertility chances.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Glycyrrhizin, the compound found within licorice root, has also been thought to work as an anti-inflammatory. Since inflammation plays a pivotal role in PCOS, licorice root's anti-inflammatory properties can be advantageous in reducing inflammation-associated complications.
Don’t Let PCOS Control Your Life
Turmeric, maca, and licorice are all formidable herbal remedies that have risen to prominence for their potential in managing PCOS symptoms, such as hormonal imbalances and fertility struggles. Still, it is important to remember that these herbs for PCOS should be thoughtfully and professionally integrated into your PCOS treatment plan.