when starting a family, both parents need to prepare not only for the health of the growing baby, but also their own optimum health to ensure the best chances for an easy conception, a healthy pregnancy and an easy birth.
Certain herbs can be beneficial for increasing fertility by helping to cleanse, nourish and prepare the body for the pregnancy. Some of these herbs also assist the health, quantity and quality of sperm of the father, as well as the egg and uterus of the mother.
Raspberry Leaf is rich in nutrients, high in Vitamins C, E, A and B, and minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium and phosphorus as well as iron, zinc and manganese. These boost egg quality and strengthen the uterus. This herb can also help tone the muscles of the pelvic area preparing the mother’s body for labor and delivery, through the nourishment it provides. It can help recovery and healing from endometriosis, fibroids, cysts or cesarean section. A study published in a scientific publication shows the effectiveness of this simple herb, proving it can assist in preventing early or late term delivery and shortening the duration of labor. It is safe to consume prior to pregnancy to balance hormones and increase fertility, improve the chances of conception and help prevent miscarriage. It can be drunk as a tea or taken as a supplement or tincture in preparation for pregnancy.
Red Clover is another wonderful purifying and nourishing herb, rich in vitamins. It is also one of the best blood cleansing herbs, which makes it an excellent choice for preparing for conception. This herb is good for cleaning and detoxifying the body of environmental pollutants, and is also known to be helpful for women with cystic acne and other skin conditions. It is good for circulation to the genitals so it’is helpful to both men and women. For women, it has shown to increase cervical mucus, giving relief to the discomfort of vaginal dryness. Another benefit of this herb is the high content of both calcium and magnesium it contains. These minerals are important for smooth muscle function and have shown to reduce menstrual cramps.
Vitex or Chaste Tree berry, is known as the hormone balancing herb. It may be helpful for encouraging ovulation, balancing progesterone levels and luteinizing hormones. Luteinizing hormones stimulate the ovaries to release an egg during ovulation and the corpus luteum, which produces the progesterone to sustain pregnancy. For men, this herb stimulates the production of testosterone, which stimulates the sperm production.
Motherwort is a uterine tonic, to be used in preparation for pregnancy, and since it is a stimulant, must be stopped after conception occurs due to the mild contractions it can produce.
Nettle is another wonderful hormone balancing herb, rich in minerals and vitamins, and often used for treating anemia. Best used as a gentle cleanse prior to pregnancy and a nourishing preparation for conception. This herb contains more chlorophyll than any other, which is important to clean, purify and oxygenate the blood. It helps with the absorption of calcium and nourishes kidneys during pregnancy to help with the extra demands of the mother’s needs.
Dandelion Leaf is one of the best herbs for preventing pre-eclampsia, which can be from poor nutrition or high body fat, causing high blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine. This condition can lead to insufficient blood flow to the uterus which can cause seizures and a full eclampsia condition, which is life-threatening. Dandelion is a good source of folic acid and iron as well as being a strengthening herb for the liver.
Milk Thistle is commonly used as a liver cleanse and for liver health. It is also a hormone balancing herb, good for eliminating any imbalance or excesses. This herb is an important part of the preparatory detoxification for both men and women. It can also be used during early pregnancy to help combat morning sickness. It can be taken in pill or tincture form.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen herb often used for providing assistance with hormone balancing and endocrine health. It is a great choice for couples having difficulty conceiving. Since it is a nervine it has a calming effect which helps reduce stress and can assist with regulating sleep. It has been shown to increase libido and sperm count.
Maca is another adaptogen herb which has a wealth of minerals. It offers 60 different phytonutrients known to improve fertility in both men and women by supporting hormones and thyroid functions. This herb comes from a native root grown in the harsh volcanic areas in the Andes Mountains of Peru. These extreme conditions are hard to survive in and produce a highly potent root known for promoting fertility, energy, and sexual virility. Taking maca as a preparation for pregnancy may help balance the estrogen to progesterone ratio, essential to conception and full-term pregnancies. Too much estrogen in men can cause erectile dysfunction, lack of libido and low sperm count, poor motility as well as lower production of seminal fluid. Do not use during pregnancy, since there are no studies to show the safety of this potent herb during this period.
These are just a few of the most useful and best known herbs which have helpful functions for fertility in both men and women. Different herbs have different functions, potency and effects, so come in and discuss with Metro Integrative’s practitioners which is the best for your personal journey.
advice from the naturopath:
Over the centuries, herbs have been widely and effectively used to help treat fertility and successful conceptions, as well as healthy full term pregnancies.
With many herbs becoming popular and more easily obtainable, it is important to do your research on which are safe before, in preparation, during pregnancy, and during which trimesters. Herbs are highly potent and can have some very specific results, such as black cohosh, a popular herb for treating hot flashes, mood swings and sleep disturbances, which can cause premature labor and dilation of the cervix, if taken during pregnancy.
I highly recommend working with a qualified herbalist or naturopath to ensure you are getting the correct advice for your needs, since everyone is different. You are welcome to call in person or by phone or email us with questions. Metro Integrative Pharmacy carries many of the herbs discussed above. Check with us which would work best for you.
Please come in to discuss any issues with Metro Integrative’s practitioners who will offer assistance in selecting the best products for your needs.
Sally Warren, PhD
Board Certified Traditional Naturopathic Doctor,
Metro Integrative Pharmacy
This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition. The information in this article is for educational purposes only.