Plants are amazing! I am admittedly a biased herbalist, but that a flower, berry, leaf, rhizome, root or seed can ignite change and healing throughout the body and enhance quality of life never stops fascinating me. We call plants that do this “herbs”. Herbs are classified a variety of different ways, one of which is “tonic”. Tonic herbs are known to nourish, rejuvenate and regenerate, strengthen/fortify and build body systems. With the focus of reproductive wellness is mind, let’s discuss fertility herbs known as ovarian tonics.
What it means to be an “ovarian” tonic: Herbs that have a direct or indirect effect on ovarian health and function based on historical use, clinical use and studies that are known to:
- help boost ovarian function by enhancing circulation to the ovaries giving them strength
- help correct hormonal imbalance as a result of poor ovarian function
- support ovarian function with ovarian cysts or endometriosis on the ovaries
Well-known Ovarian Tonic Herbs
- Vitex, Chaste tree berry (Vitex agnus-castus): Vitex aids in regulating hormonal balance, promotes ovulation and improves timing of the menstrual cycle. In part, Vitex supports the body’s natural ability to produce luteinizing hormone (LH), the hormone that causes ovulation to occur.
- Tribulus (Tribulus terrestris): Tribulus has an affinity for the ovaries and has been found to promote ovulation when used prior to ovulation.
- Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis): Dong Quai increases circulation and blood flow to the pelvic area and can have estrogenic effects helping woman bodies, with either high or low estrogen, to find balance.
- Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens): Saw Palmetto has the potential to help normalize impaired reproductive function, particularly for women with imbalanced estrogen and androgens (male hormones like testosterone) and it may stimulate suppressed ovulation as a result of elevated prolactin.
- Blue Cohosh root (Caulophyllum thalictroides): Blue Cohosh supports regulation of the entire menstrual cycle and is both an ovarian and uterine tonic, aiding both organs when they are weak.
- White Peony root (Paeonia lactiflora): This root is known for its ability to enhance circulation into the pelvic area.
Worthy of note, yet not often suggested is:
- False Unicorn root (Chamaelirium luteum): Known to decrease stagnation in the ovaries, False Unicorn root has been shown to facilitate an increase in estrogen – aiding in ovulation. The sad part, though, is that False Unicorn is endangered! So, herbalists consider other herbs with similar actions, such as those mentioned above.
The Importance of Ovarian Health…
A woman’s ovaries are home to the eggs she will ovulate throughout her fertile years. Healthy ovaries need to produce hormones for follicles to mature, an egg to be released at ovulation, and for the uterine lining to begin to grow in preparation for the implantation if an embryo. They are as important as the womb for female fertility… they are tiny and mighty! If you have an ovarian health concern or are interested in learning more about the ovarian tonic herbs discussed here, please reach out to us!
- Kiriajes, C.C. (n.d.) Tonic Herb Theory for the Western Herbalist. Retrieved from: https://planetherbs.com/research-center/case-studies/tonic-herb-theory-for-the-western-herbalist/
- Barton-Schuster, D. (n.d.). How to Use Fertility Herbs To Enhance Your Fertility Naturally. Retrieved from: https://natural-fertility-info.com/fertility-herbs
- Romm, A. (May 5, 2009). Ovarian Tonics. Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. Churchill Livingstone; 1 edition (pp 51). ISBN-10: 0443072779. ISBN-13: 978-0443072772