PCOS manifests itself through a spectrum of symptoms. PCOS is an endocrine disorder
that needs a holistic right shift in diet & lifestyle to live a symptom-free life. It is the most common disorder in women which is characterised by hormonal imbalance. When several hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and androgen start affecting the ovaries, it leads to PCOS.
PCOS honestly can be a little tricky to manage especially when the information available
is so overwhelming.
There are a number of protocols which you have to follow to manage your PCOS. You may have never realised but one solution to your PCOS woes is right in your kitchen.
Incorporate everyday herbs and spices in your PCOS diet and see the results.
Why do I love herbs so much? Because they have made a seriously profound difference in
my life & I am sure in the lives of many other women as well. There are certain herbs that can help you improve and feel better.
My favourite 4 herbs to include if you have PCOS are:
- Cinnamon- Cinnamon or dalchini is a favourite kitchen staple in Indian households
and for good reason. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties. Thus, it can lower blood sugar and cholesterol and improve insulin sensitivity in women with
PCOS. In one 2007 study of 15 women with PCOS, significant reductions in insulin resistance were seen after taking cinnamon for just 8 weeks! Reducing insulin
resistance is very helpful for regulating menstrual cycles which are often very
unpredictable and irregular in PCOS. A 2014 study also suggests that using cinnamon improves menstrual cyclicity as well. Therefore, you have got good amount of reasons to include this in your daily diet.
- Spearmint- One study found that women with PCOS who drank two cups of
spearmint tea per day for 30 days reported a reduction in male hormones and therefore facial hair. However, it may take longer to see significant changes in facial hair. Beyond androgens, the study showed that spearmint also influences ratios of LH and FSH, two pituitary hormones that regulate activity in the menstrual cycle, including follicle development and ovulation. If that is not enough, let me tell you that it is delicious too & can be your favourite add-on to a snack time.
- Ashwagandha- Ashwagandha is an herb that’s also called Indian ginseng or winter
cherry. This is a medicinal herb that may offer several health benefits, such as
improved blood sugar, inflammation, mood, memory, stress and anxiety, as well as a
boost in muscle strength and fertility. By supporting pathways in the brain that are
responsible for producing and administrating hormones in your body, ashwagandha
might help normalise blood levels of cortisol and thyroid hormones. The herbal
medicine ashwagandha helps to regulate the body’s stress response. However, there
are contradictory studies that as it promotes testosterone levels so you should work
with an experienced practitioner to find an approach that works best for you.
- Turmeric- This herb has been used in eastern medicine for centuries to alleviate
conditions such as depression and for its anti-inflammatory properties. The main
active compound, curcumin seems to be responsible for the wide-ranging benefits.
Curcumin has been shown to stabilise blood sugar and reverse cellular insulin
resistance by increasing the number of insulin receptors and improving the receptor
binding capacity to insulin. Curcumin also acts on the liver to decrease the activity of enzymes that release sugar into the blood while increasing activity of enzymes that store sugar. Turmeric is also great at supporting liver and gallbladder function,
therefore supporting our digestive function and the detoxification of environmental
toxins and ‘used’ hormones like oestrogen and testosterone.
While you are trying everything else to manage your PCOS, be it your diet, be it your
regular workouts, following a circadian rhythm, managing sleep, stress, etc. Why not
consider adding these herbs especially when they have scientifically proven evidence
attached to them. These could do wonders to your PCOS health when taken in the right
dosages & for the targeted symptoms.
There are many reasons to include these herbs in your diet, however, you can also be
allergic to certain herbs if you are pregnant breastfeeding, or in general too.
Therefore, before consuming any new herb, it’s always a good idea to consult a medical practitioner to be safe.”
You can consume & enjoy these herbs in the form of tea, organic powders, or through
high-quality supplements in the form of tablets or capsules too. You can get help on the dosages with your doctor or the local pharmacist.
After battling her own PCOS struggles and journey, Neha leads a community for women with PCOS and help them manage their symptoms naturally. You can follow her work and page @lookgoodinpcos.