It is almost impossible to prevent hormonal imbalances nowadays because we live in a polluted environment that’s driven by fossil fuels and we eat foods that contain ingredients which no one can pronounce.
The regular exposure to toxins is constantly changing the way in which our body responds to and produces hormones. The high levels of harmful toxins in the liver leave a little time and energy to properly manage hormone breakdown and elimination.
Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can be found everywhere around us – from the water we drink to the soaps we put on our body. These chemicals are interfering with the proper functioning of the endocrine system by either mimicking hormones or by blocking them.
Why is hormonal balance so important?
The answer to this question is very simple – because they are the rapid-fire communication system that is used by the human body to manage multiple organ systems and processes.
Many studies have shown that the toxic overload has the strongest negative effects on the following hormones: estrogen, cortisol, dihydrotestosterone, cortisol, and thyroid hormone.
Disruption in these messaging molecules can cause infertility, irregular periods, weight gain, acne, hair loss etc.
Here are a few words about these hormonal imbalances:
- Estrogen (also known as the female hormone)
High estrogen levels can lead to the development of some unwelcomed symptoms such as bloating, breast tenderness, and irregular periods in women, and infertility or erectile dysfunction in men. In most cases, the estrogen builds up in the body occurs when the toxic burden slows down the metabolism of this hormone.
This hormone is responsible for the control of the levels of sugar in the blood and cells. When the levels of insulin are very high, the body could develop resistance to this hormone, which may lead to slower metabolism and imbalances of all the other important hormones we mentioned above. Because insulin is one of the most important hormones in the body, it becomes virtually impossible to manage the other hormones when the insulin is out of control.
- Cortisol (also known as stress hormone)
The lack of cortisol (or over production) can cause havoc in the body. Excessive levels of cortisol in the body lead to blood sugar elevation, which causes constant fatigue, weight gain, and sometimes even fatty liver disease. On the other hand, a lack of cortisol causes cravings for unhealthy foods, intolerance to exercise, and weakens the immune system.
- Dihydrotestosterone (androgen hormone)
This hormone is the most potent version of testosterone and results in male patterned baldness, acne, gynecomastia, prostate enlargement, and male-patterned hair growth in women when the levels of dihydrotestosterone are higher than necessary.
- Thyroid Hormone
Thyroid hormone is crucial for the proper functioning of your metabolism. The thyroid hormones control the rate at which you grow, as well as the rate at which you burn calories. The lack of this hormone causes fatigue, weight gain, bowel irregularity, and dry, brittle nails and hair.
How Can Stinging Nettle Help You Balance Hormones?
Stinging Nettle (or Urtica dioica) is the name of the herb that can help you restore hormonal balance. Although you can also find its roots and leaves in tincture preparations, the aqueous (aka water solution) components in its leaves are what actually interests us.
Many recent studies have shown that Stinging Nettle can help balance the hormones because it acts as a moderate aromatase and reductase inhibitor – which means that it slows down the enzymes that convert testosterones into dihydrotestosterone and estrogens. As a result of these characteristics, this amazing herb can treat acne, prostate enlargement, amenorrhea, PCOS, and all related androgen excess conditions.
Although there is a need for more studies, it is also suggested that Stinging Nettle stimulates hair growth, reduces blood sugar levels, and improves insulin resistance in people who suffer from diabetes – all of these symptoms are clear signs of hormone imbalances. In addition to this, this herb is also full of ingredients such as acetylcholine and serotonin, which can completely neutralize the effect of stress on the adrenals. Stinging Nettle also contains a high amount of essential minerals such as magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium, all of which are needed for proper functioning of many organs.
The Hormone-Balancing Drink
Here’s how to prepare a hormone-balancing drink using Stinging Nettle.
You will need:
- 1/2 cup of dried loose nettle leaves (not root) – the fresher the leaves are, the better the flavor will be
- 1 liter of water
- Large glass container with cover
- Bring the water to a boil
- Pour over 1/2 cup of dried nettle leaves in glass container
- Cover the container tightly and let it infuse for 4-10 hours overnight at room temperature
- Drink the whole mixture throughout the day. You can even reheat it and add some almond milk, or drink it with a teaspoon of raw honey for a refreshing cold beverage.
Note: Don’t drink this tea if you are pregnant because it stimulates uterine contractions. But, if you are having a hard time dropping milk to breastfed, you should consume this tea in high amounts because it also encourages lactation.