Women's Health and Herbal Medicine
by Corinna Wood
So much of women’s health revolves around our reproductive cycles and the corresponding hormonal cycles. I get countless questions about the estrogen/progesterone balance. Women want to understand more about their PMS, endometriosis, fibroids–or to how to support their fertility, a healthy pregnancy, or menopause.
In these times, many girls and women tend to have high levels of estrogen, or what’s being called “estrogen dominance,” in large part to the xenoestrogens found in pollutants such as plastics, pesticides, and bovine growth hormones, which find their way into our food and water supplies. This estrogen dominance is being found to contribute to many of women’s chronic reproductive system health issues.
Taking steps to balance the hormones is helpful for many reproductive illnesses as well as easing common issues such as PMS or the menopausal transition. Some ideas:
- Healthy fats not only help the liver process toxins but also support cholesterol, which is one of the most important compounds in the body and plays a huge role. Medically, it is considered the mother of all hormones as the body uses it as a building block to make all other hormones as needed. Healthy fats include raw organic butter, cheese, and raw coconut oil.
- Try to reduce toxins in your life in all forms. Eat as much organic food as possible, get good drinking water, don’t use a microwave, avoid plastics, x-rays, and all harmful chemicals (e.g., nail polish, synthetic perfumes, off-gassing from carpets).
- Support natural progesterone in your life to balance your hormones. Nettle infusion supports our bodies with phytosterols (plant hormones) and Vitex extract supports the pituitary gland which helps regulate estrogen and progesterone.
May our children someday live on a planet that is creating more balance than we seem to be. Until then we must protect ourselves from illness and nourish ourselves deeply so we have energy to continue creating the world we want to inhabit.
by Lee Warren
They are so early. They even arrive before the violets. And before little bud and tree leaf-outs. The only ones who hit spring harder are the dandelions–who by now, most of the way into March, have bloomed many times over.
Senecio aureus is now apparently Packera aurea. Named for John Packer at the University of Alberta, Canada who has been differentiating those Senecio species originating in the old world (Europe) and those native to the Americas.
Commonly known as Golden Ragwort or Lifewort ours is the native perennial. They contain two entirely different kinds of leaves. A basal rosette of blunt and dark green leaves sits low to the ground and the stem contains narrow pinnate leaves.
They can appear on the edges of woods or in meadows in full sun – where I’ve seen them in colonies. The bright, yellow, daisy-like flowers appear from early spring to early-summer. The name Senecio (which again is no longer applicable) is from the Latin senex, which means “old man”, and referred to the white-haired seeds.
Golden Ragwort has been known classically as a “female regulator”, and was used by Native Americans for childbirth and other female issues. Because this plant contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, much like comfrey, it is said to be toxic to the liver. It is now used mostly externally.
Mostly I enjoy their beauty and the knowledge they they’ve been in the Southern Appalachians far longer than I have.