Have you, or a loved one, been trying to fall pregnant for months on end with no success? Perhaps you’ve even had tests done and been told there is nothing wrong, or that there is but the only answer is IVF.

Your fertility is a result of a fine balance of your hormones and there are many factors that contribute to this balance such as your nutritional status, stress and environmental toxins. For example, there are many toxins in our environment which mimic estrogen (eg those found in plastics) and as a result it is common to find women suffering from symptoms indicative of an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone.

Additionally, there are a number of conditions which contribute to fertility such as allergies, intolerances and infections.
These conditions require herbal medicine specific to the condition along with those that re-balance the hormones in addition to dietary advice.

Another condition affecting fertility,  which is increasing in its prevalence is Poly-cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This condition, which is related to other metabolic conditions such as diabetes, is characterised by insulin resistance, higher than normal levels of testosterone, low levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and high levels of luteinizing hormone (LH). The result of all this is that rather than ovulating normally, a series of cysts form on the ovaries which cause much pain. Treatment of PCOS involves a low glycaemic diet, herbal medicine that re-balances the hormones and stimulates ovulation and treatment of cysts as required.

Your partner is obviously important too! A nutritionally rich diet along with antioxidant and zinc supplements are essential as a minimum. Men may also require specific herbs to boost testosterone levels as well a detoxification program if they have been subjected to occupational toxins.

Many couples have a high level of stress when they are trying to conceive. This too can be managed with appropriate natural medicine, good diet and relaxation techniques.

September 13 to September 19 is National Herbal Medicine Week and the perfect time to discover the benefits of using herbal medicine instead of, or as a complement to, conventional medicine.

Herbal medicine is the oldest and still the most widely used system of medicine in the world today. It is medicine made exclusively from plants and is used in all societies and common to all cultures.  More than 80,000 types of plants are used around the world for medicinal purposes and over 75% of the world’s population relies on herbal remedies for regular treatment.

There are many different “types” of herbal medicine that spring from different cultures around the world and these have been documented for almost 4000 years. All these types have the use of medicinal plants in common, but they vary in the plants they use, the way they prepare and use medicines from these plants, and the philosophy of their treatment approaches. Different cultures may also use the same plants but differ in how it is used, or the part they use.

What is often misunderstood about modern pharmaceuticals is that they were often first isolated or discovered in plants. For example, the heart medication Digoxin, Aspirin and Pseudoephedrine were first discovered in the plants Digitalis, Willow Bark and Ephedra respectively.  However, Herbalists recognise the value of prescribing the whole herb because plants, being organic like the human body, have complex chemistry which protect the person from side effects and contribute, in a synergistic fashion, to the overall effect on the person.

People consult with Medical Herbalists for a range of reasons. Perhaps you can identify with one or more of them:

  • You have a chronic condition that cannot be treated, at best only managed, by conventional medicine;
  • You are tired of the side effects of modern drugs;
  • You have a set of symptoms that are undiagnosable by the mainstream medical system;
  • You simply and intuitively believe that natural medicine is more compatible with the human body.

If you consult with a Western Medical Herbalist, such as myself, you will more often than not be prescribed a compounded mixture of a few herbal extracts. These herbs in liquid form are the end result of a process of percolation to extract the active chemicals found in the plant. This compounding procedure ensures the use of more potent and effective herbal preparations whilst allowing the practitioner to prepare a medicine that is more personalised to the client’s specific needs.