Being a stay-at-home-mum, I have come to rely on a lot of common spices and condiments found in my pantry to cure my family of common ailments. Most recipes are age-old that have been passed on for generations – just proving how natural herbs were used to treat diseases before chemically produced medicines came in. Other recipes, I have found through the Internet, over time, to solve a particular problem.
Please note that the suggestions and remedies mentioned below, work for me, or I have found them while conducting my research. I am not an expert. Please consult a medical practitioner before following any of the below.
I have lived and struggled with PCOS for more than half my life now. Being on and off allopathic medications for ages, as well as, trying alternative treatments of homeopathy, ayurveda, accupressure, etc. and doing treatments like laser hair removal, to no avail, I have now (after two children) realized that basic herbal and home remedies, coupled with a healthy lifestyle, are the best PCOS treatment options for one’s body in the long run.
“Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common condition related to a hormonal imbalance in women of reproductive age. It is characterized by high levels of androgens (male hormones) in the body.
Researchers have also linked insulin to PCOS because many women with this condition also have too much insulin in their bodies. High levels of insulin cause the ovaries to produce more male hormones.” (http://www.top10homeremedies.com)
My symptoms mainly include: infrequent and irregular periods, excessive facial hair (hirsutism), weight gain, oily hair, amongst others. Other common symptoms include acne, oily skin, hair fall, etc.
Below are some of the ways I use various herbs to cure my PCOS causes and symptoms. It’s important to note that most of these herbs help control insulin levels, which help one to lose weight and get their menstrual cycles on track, which reduces the effects of PCOS, in the long run.
- Cinnamon – It is known to have great medicinal properties, and is highly beneficial to treat Type 2 Diabetes. Since most (not all) PCOS patients have high insulin levels, cinnamon helps to correct insulin levels and thus, treat PCOS too. Cinnamon along with honey, is great for weight loss, which thus helps to fix most menstrual and endocrine problems in women. After my first son was a year old and I stopped breastfeeding him, I took a cup of tea with cinnamon and honey, first thing in the morning for three months at a stretch. I made this tea by boiling half teaspoon of Cinnamon powder in 1 cup of water, and then stirring in 1 teaspoon of honey in the water, once slightly cooled. This mix helped me loose weight and got my menstrual cycles back on track. Now, I drink this tea every once in a while, when I feel bloated, or if I feel my cycles are untimely. I also add one big cinnamon stick to my infused water mix with ginger and mint leaves, daily.
- Flaxseed – Research shows that Omega-3 producing foods, like flaxseed and fish, can decrease androgen levels in the body, which then helps control testosterone levels too. I try to incorporate flaxseed in my diet by adding milled flaxseed to my smoothies, pancakes and chapati dough. Being a vegetarian, my diet does not include too much Omega-3, and I have to rely on supplements to get the required daily amount. However, I cannot bear the smell of Fish Oil Omega-3 capsules, so I take the vegetarian ones made of Flaxseed oil.
- Tulsi, or Holy Basil – I believe that Tulsi has a lot of healing properties, and I have a cup of Tulsi Tea at least 2-3 times a week. Over the long run, Tulsi helps control insulin levels and Type 2 Diabetes. Additionally, a paste of Tulsi and water can be applied over acne spots to reduce the infection. Information on how to prepare Tulsi paste and Tulsi tea, and other benefits of Tusli are mentioned here.
- Spearmint – a herb that helps regulate androgen levels, control excessive facial hair growth, reduce testosterone levels and regulate LH and FSH hormones for healthy menstrual cycles. Spearmint tea, had twice daily initially, and then once a day or 3-4 times a week, is the best way to intake spearmint. I haven’t been able to find pure Spearmint tea in Dubai, so I use the Chamomile and Spearmint tea, once daily.
- Licorice Root – “Italian researchers have found that licorice root can help reduce serum testosterone in women with PCOS. The researchers believe that the glycyrrhizin in this herb inhibits an enzyme that is required for testosterone production. Licorice can also be used as an adjuvant therapy for hirsutism. Plus, licorice root promotes ovulation and aids liver detoxification. The liver removes toxins and excess hormones and thus helps with hormonal balance. Note: Licorice root may not be suitable for those suffering from high blood pressure or heart, kidney or liver disease. It may also have an effect on blood glucose levels.” (http://www.top10homeremedies.com) Licorice aids in ovulation as well,so it’s best to have in the first half of the menstrual cycle. I always add a pinch of licorice root powder to my Cinnamon honey mix, or my Tulsi and Spearmint teas.
- Oatmeal – Not only does oatmeal help in weight loss and controlling insulin, due to it’s high fiber content, it has an additional benefit for hirsutism too. A face pack made of 2 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon Oatmeal and 2 teaspoons lemon juice, should be applied regularly (2-3 times a week) on the areas with excessive facial hair. Over time, it reduces the occurrence of excessive facial hair.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 tablespoon mixed with 1 glass of lukewarm warm, had first thing in the morning, is known to help with weight loss and control insulin levels.
- Fenugreek – Ayurveda has used fenugreek to treat Diabetes for centuries. One teaspoon full of raw or soaked (in water overnight) fenugreek seeds swallowed with water is the best way to intake fengreek. Supplements are also common these days, as most nursing mothers use fenugreek to increase milk production while lactating.
- Vitamins & Minerals – Zinc and Magnesium, among other minerals are now known to affect fertility in women and lack of these minerals can cause irregular menstrual cycles. Vitamin B deficiency can have similar effects too. It is highly recommended by most doctors to have a good multivitamin supplement to ensure required daily amounts of most vitamins and minerals. Please consult your medical practitioner to see what are the vitamin and mineral needs of your body.
- Exercise and an active lifestyle is key to fixing most PCOS problems.
I have found most of the above remedies over a lot of time, research and suffering. Hope these can help you cure your PCOS. Please leave me a comment below to know more about any of these herbs, or to share your experiences.