Hey Good Psyche listeners, Trish here. Thanks for tuning in to this month’s edition of TGJ. As a reminder, we drop a Spotify playlist for you each month, and this month in honor of festival season, we dropped Indio, so give it a listen and follow us on Spotify!

I didn’t realize just how common fertility issues were until a few years ago when I feel like it started to surface and become a lot more common to talk about, but it still isn’t talked about enough! Many many women, and I’m talking young, healthy women, struggle with fertility. Now I could probably go down a rabbit hole dissecting all of the environmental factors that have led to what seems to be unprecedented numbers of women struggling with not being able to get pregnant, complications during pregnancy and birth, and miscarriages, but to keep this on a positive and proactive note, let’s talk about herbs that might just help you get pregnant! ALL of these herbal supplements can be purchased at your local grocery store.

Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus), also known as chasteberry, is a herb that has been used for centuries to support women's reproductive health, specifically in promoting fertility and regulating menstrual cycles. I once had a healthcare provider suggest chaste tree supplements, for mitigating symptoms of PMS like mood swings, bloating, headaches, backaches, etc., so I took for a while and felt my symptoms did improve... I didn’t realize that it can also improve fertility, and here’s how.

So for women who have irregular cycles, it can be really challenging to keep track of when you’re ovulating because it isn’t predictable. It does this by balancing the hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. When the hormones are balanced, the menstrual cycle becomes regular, which is crucial for fertility. Irregular menstrual cycles can make it difficult to predict ovulation, making it difficult to conceive. Admittedly, it’s amazing how little I know about these things, it’s a little scary. Or I think I understand it but then forget the details. And I don’t think that’s uncommon. So here’s a little refresher for all of us.

The menstrual cycle is a complex process that is regulated by a delicate balance of hormones. There are four main hormones responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle: follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estrogen, and progesterone.

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH): FSH is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. It is responsible for stimulating the growth and development of follicles in the ovaries. Follicles are small, fluid-filled sacs that contain the eggs. FSH also stimulates the production of estrogen by the ovaries.

Luteinizing hormone (LH): LH is also produced by the pituitary gland. It is responsible for triggering ovulation. Ovulation is the process by which the follicle ruptures and releases the egg. LH also stimulates the production of progesterone by the ovaries.

Estrogen: Estrogen is produced by the ovaries. It is responsible for the growth and development of the uterine lining. Estrogen levels rise during the first half of the menstrual cycle, peaking just before ovulation.

Progesterone: Progesterone is also produced by the ovaries. It is responsible for preparing the uterine lining for implantation of a fertilized egg. Progesterone levels rise after ovulation and remain high until the start of the next menstrual cycle. If pregnancy occurs, progesterone levels remain high to support the pregnancy.

These hormones work together in a carefully orchestrated dance, a tango, if you will, to regulate the menstrual cycle. Any imbalance in these hormones can lead to menstrual cycle irregularities or infertility. Goes without saying, if you are experiencing menstrual cycle irregularities or infertility, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

So going back to Chaste tree, it has been shown to stimulate ovulation in women who have irregular ovulation or who do not ovulate at all. Ovulation is essential for conception because it is the process by which the egg is released from the ovary and travels to the uterus. Chaste tree stimulates ovulation by regulating the hormones that trigger ovulation.

Chaste tree increases the levels of progesterone in the body, which as we just learned, prepares the uterus for implantation of the fertilized egg and helps to maintain the pregnancy. Low levels of progesterone can lead to infertility and unfortunately even miscarriages.

Lastly, Chaste tree helps to treat infertility caused by polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which is a common cause of infertility. It is characterized by the presence of small cysts on the ovaries, irregular menstrual cycles, and hormonal imbalances which can wreak havoc on your body and let’s not forget mental health! Now I have a few friends with PCOS and from their accounts it can be a painful and scary thing to live with. Chaste tree has been shown to improve fertility in women with PCOS by regulating the hormones thought to cause the condition. For the sake of brevity I will just list the hormones thought to cause PCOS as insulin, androgens, luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone. However, PCOS is also thought to potentially be caused by genetic and environmental factors.

[ Insulin: Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. It helps to regulate the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Women with PCOS are often insulin resistant, which means their bodies do not respond to insulin properly. This leads to an increase in insulin production, which can cause the ovaries to produce more androgens (male hormones).

Androgens: Androgens are male hormones that are produced by both men and women. Women with PCOS have high levels of androgens, which can cause a range of symptoms including acne, hair growth on the face and body, and irregular menstrual cycles. ]

Another supplement to support fertility is called Red Clover.

Red clover, also known as Trifolium pratense, is a flowering plant that has been used for a long time in traditional medicine, and is popular as a natural remedy to boost fertility.

Red clover is rich in nutrients that are essential for reproductive health, including calcium, magnesium, and vitamins C and E. However, the most significant fertility benefits of red clover are attributed to its isoflavones, which are plant compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body.

Isoflavones are phytoestrogens, which means they can bind to estrogen receptors in the body and mimic the effects of estrogen. We just learned how important estrogen is in the health of the uterus and stimulating ovulation.

Similar to Chaste Tree, Red clover may also help to regulate the menstrual cycle by balancing hormone levels and reducing the severity of PMS symptoms.

And…here’s a fun one to read…Red clover can improve the quality of cervical mucus, which is essential for fertility. Healthy cervical mucus helps sperm travel through the reproductive tract and reach the egg.

It is important to note that while red clover is generally considered safe, it may interact with certain medications, including blood thinners and hormonal contraceptives. It is also not recommended for women with a history of estrogen-sensitive cancers.

Last but not least…Maca! Maca, also known as Lepidium meyenii, is a root vegetable that grows in the Andean mountains of Peru. It has been traditionally used for its medicinal properties and is believed to have fertility-boosting benefits. In this article, we will explore the potential benefits of taking maca for fertility.

Maca is rich in nutrients that are essential for reproductive health, including calcium, magnesium, and vitamins C and E. However, the most significant fertility benefits of maca are attributed to its adaptogenic properties, which means it can help the body adapt to stress and improve overall hormonal balance.

Here are some of the potential benefits of taking maca for fertility:

Regulates the menstrual cycle: Maca can help regulate the menstrual cycle by balancing hormone levels. It can also reduce the severity of premenstrual symptoms and improve overall menstrual health.

Improves fertility in men: Maca has been shown to improve sperm count, motility, and quality in men. It may also help reduce oxidative stress and improve erectile dysfunction.

Increases fertility in women: Maca may improve overall fertility in women by balancing hormone levels, improving ovarian function, and enhancing reproductive health.

Supports a healthy pregnancy: Maca may help support a healthy pregnancy by reducing the risk of miscarriage, promoting a healthy uterine lining, and improving fetal growth.

Boosts libido: Maca is believed to have aphrodisiac properties and may help boost libido in both men and women.

While maca is generally considered safe, it may interact with certain medications, including blood thinners and hormonal contraceptives. It is also not recommended for women with a history of hormone-sensitive cancers. As with any supplement, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking maca for fertility.

As always, you should consult your doctor before taking any new.

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Thanks for listening, and stay curious.


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