Wondering if you can use adaptogens for estrogen dominance? Then you’re in the right place!
Estrogen dominance isn’t just about having high estrogen.
It’s about having a ratio of estrogen to progesterone that is off balance, with estrogen being higher.
Now, there are various reasons why high estrogen can occur, and we’ll talk about them in a little bit.
But whatever the underlying cause(s) may be, adaptogenic herbs can help you feel better because they are known to:
- support liver function.
- regulate various hormones.
- help maintain healthy adrenal function
- Improve the body’s response to stress
So, in this post we’re going to take a look at some underlying causes of estrogen dominance, plus how adaptogens can help and which specific ones to use.
Note: this post contains affiliate links and I earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) if you use them.
HOW ADAPTOGENS HELP WITH ELEVATED ESTROGEN
Adaptogens work on various pathways that are tied to the body’s ability to regulate estrogen.
Below are the main benefits of adaptogenic herbs and how they help to lower excess estrogen.
1. Support Liver Detoxification
Xenoestrogens – which are synthetic estrogens in our environment – are designed to mimic natural estrogen.
Unfortunately, they can also contribute significantly to estrogen dominance.
Some common sources of xenoestrogens are:
- Birth control
- Toxic skin care and makeup ingredients
- Tap water
Now, once these fake estrogens enter the body, the liver is responsible for filtering them out of the blood before they get a chance to cause serious damage.
Since many adaptogens have the ability to boost liver function, they can help your liver function better.
And this makes detoxification easier to do.
2. Regulate Cortisol Levels
Any type of stress (whether it due to toxins or emotional stress) causes the body to release more cortisol.
And if that stress is chronically high, then that means your cortisol levels are chronically high.
This scenario can lead to low progesterone, which makes estrogen artificially high (compared to progesterone).
And as a result, you can end up experiencing the symptoms of estrogen dominance.
So, how exactly can stress and cortisol lead to high estrogen?
Well, here’s one scenario:
- The body uses a hormone called pregnenolone to make hormones like cortisol, progesterone, estrogen and DHEA.
- If your cortisol requirements go up, your body can start using more of that pregnenolone to make cortisol.
- The more pregnenolone your body uses for cortisol production, then the less pregnenolone is available for progesterone production (as well as other hormones).
Now, even though there is sometimes some debate about the above theory, the fact is that the body has a limited amount of resources at any given moment.
So, anything that ends up using up too many of those resources, will have a ripple effect throughout your system
And this is where adaptogens can help!
If there’s one thing that adaptogens as a whole do very well, it’s regulating cortisol and the stress response.
And in cases where cortisol production is too high, these herbs help to dial things down.
So, by using adaptogens you curb excess cortisol, which means there’s more pregnenolone available to maintain a healthy estrogen to progesterone ratio.
3. Support Glutathione Production
Glutathione is a natural antioxidant in the body that is often referred to as the body’s master detoxifier.
Simply put, glutathione binds to toxins and transports them out of the body.
Now, interestingly, glutathione production occurs in the liver (source)!
And as we saw earlier, certain adaptogens have the ability to boost liver health.
So, a healthy liver means your body can also produce more of the glutathione.
And this makes it easier to get rid of hormone disruptors.
ADAPTOGENIC HERBS THAT HELP TO REDUCE ESTROGEN
1. Schisandra Berries
One of the main benefits of schisandra berries is that they are great for the liver.
In fact, studies show that these berries contain flavonoids (antioxidants) that lower the damaging effects of oxidative stress on the liver.
Ultimately, this ensures that the liver functions properly, which is good news when we’re trying to get rid of excess estrogen or toxins.
In addition to the above, schisandra also:
- regulates cortisol
- improves circulation
- supports elimination of waste
- fights inflammation
- boosts fertility and libido
- increases energy
- supports healthy cognitive function
To learn more about this herb, check out this post on the benefits of schisandra for hormones.
Maca is a root that grows in high altitude, mainly in Peru.
It is also a member of the cruciferous family of veggies (along with kale, broccoli, cabbage and so on).
And cruciferous veggies are very helpful for lowering estrogen because they contain compounds called glucosinolates (source).
These glucosinolates play a major role in metabolizing estrogen.
Also, glucosinolates are high in sulfur which the liver uses to make glutathione (that’s the major detoxifier we discussed earlier).
Other maca benefits include:
- boosting fertility
- regulating mood.
- restoring healthy libido.
- supporting the body’s stress response system.
Note: if you have a delicate digestive system, you might be better off buying cooked maca powder (aka gelatinized – no actual gelatin in it). The healing compounds are more easily available for your body to absorb compared to the raw form of maca.
Ashwagandha is a root herb that is particularly effective at regulating cortisol levels.
As we saw earlier, if your cortisol requirements get too high, you can end up not having enough raw material to make progesterone.
And if progesterone gets too low, then estrogen becomes artificially high.
So, ashwagandha can be used to support your body and keep your progesterone to estrogen ratio in a safe range.
Other benefits of ashwagandha include:
- regulating blood sugar.
- improving insulin sensitivity.
- protecting the brain from oxidative stress.
- balancing immune function.
4. Rhodiola Rosea
This herb, which grows mainly in cold mountainous areas of Europe and Asia, is famous for its stress reducing powers.
According to one study, rhodiola “offers comprehensive treatment of stress symptoms and can prevent chronic stress and stress-related complications.” (source).
Another study done with 101 participants who had a combination of work and life stress, showed significant improvements in their stress symptoms after just 3 days of rhodiola supplementation (source).
By improving how the body responds to stress, rhodiola lowers cortisol and can improve some of the conditions that contribute to estrogen dominance.
Other rhodiola benefits include:
- easing depression
- burning belly fat
- boosting energy and vitality
- fighting off fatigue
5. Reishi Mushrooms
Similar to schisandra berries, reishi is another adaptogen that is effective at preventing liver disease and supporting optimal liver function (source).
Reishi is also rich in antioxidants that boost the immune system.
Now, why does the immune system matter for your hormones?
Well, if your immune system is compromised, that means more stress and inflammation.
And once stress and inflammation go up, well, we’re back in that vicious cycle of elevated cortisol.
So, when you boost your immune system with an herb like reishi, your body is able to fight off things like pathogens.
And as a result, your cortisol levels improve and your liver also gets to rest (since there are less pathogens to worry about).
Other benefits of reishi include:
- regulating blood sugar
- fighting off allergies
- supporting healthy heart function
Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory herb that not only relieves physical inflammation but it also improves systemic inflammation.
In addition, turmeric supports liver health by:
- protecting liver cells from the side effects of inflammation.
- reducing blockage of the bile duct (which leads to bile accumulating in the liver).
It’s no wonder that turmeric is a go-to natural remedy for just about everything these days!
HOW TO USE ADAPTOGENIC HERBS FOR ESTROGEN DOMINANCE
There are four main ways to add these herbs to to your diet:
- take as a supplement capsule
- add to your smoothies
- drink them as an adaptogenic coffee
- enjoy them in a tea
The easiest and most convenient way of adding adaptogens to your diet is to take them as a supplement.
Not only can you buy them individually, but you can also buy them in a blend.
If you’d like to try more than adaptogen at the same time, then I strongly recommend buying them in a premade blend.
These herbs can be quite strong and you don’t want to use them in the wrong dosage.
A pre-made blend from a reputable herb company is more likely to formulated in a way that the herbs work well together.
Here are my recommendations (they’re all available on Amazon):
- Adrenal Health blend (contains ashwagandha, schisandra and rhodiola) – get it here
- maca capsules (yellow maca is considered best for general hormone support) – get it here
- reishi supplement – available here
- ashwagandha capsules – available here
- rhodiola capsules – available here
- turmeric capsules – get it here
Another simple and delicious way to enjoy the health benefits of adaptogenic herbs is to add them to a hormone-balancing smoothie.
Maca, schisandra and ashwagandha all work quite well in smoothies (unlike other herbs that have a bitter or very earthy taste).
If you’d like to try this option and want some smoothie recipes to get started, then check out this article on hormone-balancing smoothies.
Here are recommendations for powders to use:
- Maca powder (the yellow variety is ideal for everyday hormone support) – get it here
- Schisandra powder – get it here
- Ashwagandha powder – get it here
Adaptogenic Coffee Blend
If you’re a regular coffee drinker then it’s important to know that your morning cup o’ joe can overstimulate the adrenals, leading to high cortisol.
However, you can still get the boost you need by substituting your coffee with an adaptogenic coffee.
FourSigmatic is one brand that is known for blending adaptogenic mushrooms with other healthy ingredients that help you feel alive and vibrant (but not overstimulated).
If you’d like to try this coffee alternative, I suggest getting this one which contains:
- reishi mushrooms
- rosehips (lots of stress-busting vitamin C)
- holy basil (another soothing adaptogen that regulates blood sugar and helps stress)
Does coffee raise estrogen?
Since coffee is a stimulant it can overstimulate the adrenals, leading to higher cortisol. As a result that can have a negative impact on estrogen levels.
What foods decrease estrogen levels?
Cruciferous veggies, whole fruits and veggies, whole grains and legumes, green tea and fermented foods are all very helpful for reducing estrogen.
What supplements reduce estrogen levels?
DIM and I3C supplements are some of the best for reducing estrogen. In addition, milk thistle and dandelion root (both of which boost liver function) are beneficial supplements for estrogen dominance.
Adaptogenic herbs are very versatile and they can support your body when it comes to recovering from estrogen dominance.
Do keep in mind that these herbs are not meant for permanent use because they’re quite potent.
You can start off using them for about 2 to 3 months and then evaluate how you feel.
Also, it’s a good idea to keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Take at least 1 day off a week from these herbs
- Take 1 week off after 6 weeks of use
- If you use them for up to 6 months, take at least 1 month off
In addition, even though these herbs are powerful, they’re not a magic wand.
To get the best results, make sure to evaluate your diet and lifestyle so that you can support your hormones holistically.
If you need help with this, start by reading these two posts:
I hope this post helps you get some relief and if you have any questions or comments, leave your feedback below 🙂