February 22, 2017

Balancing Hormones: Seed Cycling + Herbal Infusions

I will forever be fascinated with the many ways to balance our hormones. For someone with an irregular cycle (and with the hopes of being blessed with many more babies) it’s something I always crave to learn more about it.

I feel as though I’ve tried most of the tinctures, herbs, teas, massages, seeds and potions out there – and I’m still always willing to try something new. I started taking a new herbal class at nights here and wanted to share something simple to start off with. I have written about seed cycling and lunaception before but for some of the newer readers (and my own interest) I thought I’d explain it here again!

I am by no means a doctor, an expert or a health practitioner but I know my body and I do my best to let my own intuition guide me and I encourage you to do the same. Seed cycling is a totally natural way to help guide our body’s natural hormone rhythm into balance. It works by either detoxifying the body of excess hormones or stimulating production where needed. For women in particular, it’s important to have the right amount of each hormone – not too much, and not too little. The various seed hulls contain lignans, which are chemicals that help bind up excess hormones, while the seed oils contain essential fatty acids that provide the building blocks for making hormones.

Excess estrogen is associated with a lot of problems including heavy cycles, endometriosis, fibroids, recurrent miscarriages, lack of ovulation and cysts. And excess androgens (one of which is testosterone) contributes to weight gain, male pattern baldness and acne – symptoms that are very characteristic of PCOS.

Traditional herbalism and naturopathy often treat the liver whenever there are reproductive health problems. Our livers take everything we put into our bodies—whether it is swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin—and filters it. It helps to break down what we need for our body to function optimally and excretes what we don’t.

Sometimes our bodies just aren’t able to digest or absorb what we’re eating properly. But we can totally change that. By adjusting what we eat and how we eat it we can start to teach our body how to take the goodness we’re giving it and make magic.

Sex-hormone binding globulin is the primary carrier protein (kind of like the vehicle for our hormones in the blood stream) and it is made in the liver. When our livers aren’t working at their optimal level, hormones continue to circulate in the body without enough carrier proteins causing an excess of hormones in the body. Simply put – if our liver isn’t functioning properly, we are most likely going to have a hormone imbalance.

Seed cycling is based on the idea that raw seeds ( not roasted, salted or cooked in any way ) carry various oils, vitamins and nutrients that help the body to produce, release and metabolize our major hormones. The seeds used in seed rotation are flax + pumpkin seeds during the first part of our cycle, and sesame + sunflower seeds in the latter. This won’t change things overnight but over time, as with most things in the body, things will slowly start to change.

The herbal infusions are a gentle way to support your monthly cycles while also aiming to add plant estrogen to your follicular phase and progesterone mimicking herbs in your luteal phase.

To begin with, at the very least, adding these seeds and infusions into our lives offers us a nourishing ritual based on our natural rhythms!

Phase One- the Follicular Phase (roughly days 1 through 14 of your cycle)

The follicular phase begins on the first day of your period and lasts until ovulation.

If your cycle is absent, begin seed cycling on the new moon.

The goal during the follicular phase is to regulate the absorption and production of estrogen. The roll of estrogen is to prepare the body for ovulation. Having too little estrogen can inhibit ovulation from occurring while having too much estrogen can make your PMS symptoms worse.

SEEDS: Consume 1 Tbsp each of raw organic freshly ground flax seeds and raw organic freshly ground pumpkin seeds daily (2 Tbsp total)

It is best to purchase the whole seeds (raw, organic and unhulled) and use a coffee grinder to grind them. I like to prepare a week supply at a time as the ground seeds are susceptible to oxidation and can go rancid. I like to store the ground seeds in a jar and keep in the fridge!

HERBS/TEAS: 1 Part Licorice Root, 1 Part Angelica Root, 1 Part Peony Root, 1 Part Vitex Agnus Castus, 1 Part Red Clover Tops (I liked to buy bulk herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs but you can also look to your local Herb Farm or Apothecary!

To make this tea infusion steep 1 ounce of dried mixed herbs in 1 quart of boiling water in a mason jar. Seal lid and let steep over night. Drain herbs and drink throughout the day.

SUPPLEMENTS: I also like to add in good dose of EPA/DHA in the form of fermented cod liver oil/fish oil to take daily. I like this one by Green Pasture.

Phase Two- The Luteal Phase (roughly days 15 through 28)

The beginning of this phase is marked by ovulation.

The main goal during this phase is to raise progesterone levels by consuming omega-6 rich seeds to stimulate its production. The main task of progesterone is to build up the uterine lining in preparation for pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, progesterone naturally decreases and the lining is shed during the first day of your period. Progesterone balance is key not only for a healthy pregnancy but also for easing painful menstrual cramps.

SEEDS: Consume 1 TB each of raw organic freshly ground raw organic sunflower seeds and raw organic freshly ground sesame seeds daily (2 Tbsp total)

It is best to purchase the whole seeds (raw, organic and unhulled) and use a coffee grinder to grind them. I like to prepare a week supply at a time as the ground seeds are susceptible to oxidation and can go rancid. I like to store the ground seeds in a jar and keep in the fridge!

HERBS/TEAS: 4 Parts Sarsaparilla Root,4 Parts Red Raspberry Leaf, 2 Parts Blessed Thistle, 1 Part Ginseng Root, 1 Part Vitex Agnus Castus

To make this tea infusion steep 1 ounce of dried mixed herbs in 1 quart of boiling water in a mason jar. Seal lid and let steep over night. Drain herbs and drink throughout the day.


If you’re feeling like me and you’re curious, try it. If you’re feeling stuck and like you don’t know what else you can do to help yourself, try it. If you’re interested but it seems weird or scary, that’s okay. There’s no saying that this has to be for you but I will say if you are even just a teeny bit interested, listen to that. Most times our bodies are smarter than we think and they just need a little nudge and some whole food loving to get them back on track.

And if you have any thoughts, questions, things you want to talk about, email me anytime at lovefestjourney@gmail.com. I’m so excited to be sharing the goodness I’m learning to not only benefit my own body but hopefully also yours! Next up is getting blood flow to the reproductive organs through self care + yoga and a new 21 Day Holistic Eating and Living Journey beginning on March 12 2017.

4 Comments

  • Amanda says:

    I am obsessed with seed cycling! It has been one of the most important practices that I’ve implemented balancing my own hormones and for my clients – I recommend it all the time! Thank you for sharing this wonderful resources. Bodies are amazing!

  • Britty says:

    Seed cycling worked wonders for my body and cycle. After a long time of having an irregular cycle I tried seed cycling (after your recommendation!) and within a few months my cycle was back on track. I found the best meals to add them to were in morning yogurt or oatmeal bowls or on top of salads at lunch! I’ve never tried the teas you mentioned but definitely going to!!

  • JFrank says:

    Hi , will it bring back ovulation, since 2 months I didnt ovulated and excess estrogen, less progesterone was revealed by blood test.
    I am trying to conceive, that means normal hormones and ovulation is must, thanks

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