5 Herbal Remedies for Hirsutism Caused By Excess Testosterone
A lot of women with PCOS are suffering from excess testosterone, which results in excess hair growth, male pattern boldness, acne, irregular periods, polycystic ovaries and low libido. In order to diagnose a hormonal imbalance an endocrinologist will do a blood or saliva test checking for all sex hormones. The polycystic ovarian syndrome is directly affected by diet, lifestyle and exposure to environmental toxins. When living an unhealthy and stressful life the symptoms of PCOS may significantly worsen. Therefore it is important to maintain a healthy diet and to exercise regularly. I highly recommend doing yoga or finding another hobby that does not only relax the mind but also exercises the body.
I have put together a list of the most popular supplements used by women with high testosterone. I usually try supplements for a minimum of three months to see if I notice a change. It is important to remember that there is not one herb that works for everyone, so it is good to experiment. Hirsutism is one of the symptoms of PCOS that is incredibly difficult to get rid of so it might take 6-12 months to see improvements.
1. Saw Palmetto is a small palm tree that is native to the United States. The actual supplement comes from reddish berries that are grown on the palm tree. It is a very popular supplement for high testosterone, the natural herb inhibits the production of an enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT (an androgen). DHT is the hormone in your skin that stimulates hair growth. Saw Palmetto is very similar to the drug Spironolactone, it can especially help with androgenic acne. Saw palmetto is available on iHerb.
2. Spearmint tea is one of the most well known supplements for hirsutism that has been used in Middle Eastern countries for hundreds of years. It has anti-androgenic properties that reduce the level of free testosterone in the blood. Spearmint tea should not be confused with peppermint tea. A minimum of 2 cups should be consumed every day for several months. Organic spearmint tea is available on iHerb.
3. Inositol has been found to lower testosterone by improving the way that the body uses insulin and help women with fertility problems. It is a pseudo vitamin (often said to be a B vitamin) which is naturally found in animals and plants such as oranges and cantaloupes. There are nine different forms of inositol, however myo-inositol and d-chiro-inositol have been most studied for women with PCOS. Apart from being beneficial for women with high testosterone, the supplement helps with blood circulation, promotes sleep, fights depression and improves weight loss. It is suggested to take 2000mg (up to 4 grams) of myo-inositol daily combined with 50mg of d-chiro-inositol. Although I do prefer the capsule version of most supplements, I do not mind the taste of inositol at all, as it turns out a lot cheaper to get the powdered version. I use the nowfoods brands for myo-inositol powder and order d-chiro-inositol on amazon (which is exactly 50mg per serving). A lot of women also use a supplement called ovasitol which is both inositol versions combined, however mixing them yourself is a lot cheaper.
4. Licorice also known as sweet root is a natural remedy that has been used for thousands of years. The root itself is 50 times sweeter than sugar and is commonly used to treat colds and liver diseases. It has anti-androgonic properties and helps to balance hormones by actively fighting environmental endocrine disruptors. Liquorice also works as an anti inflammatory, stimulates the adrenal glands and boosts the immune system. The superfood has also shown to improve liver help by detoxification, stabilising blood sugar levels and improving overall gut health. Powdered liquorice can also be used as a topical acne treatment. I like to drink licorice tea and taking liquorice root supplements in capsule form. Licorice can deplete the body of potassium, so it is important to combine the supplement with bananas, avocados or apricots and not supplement for more than 3 months at a time.
5. Vitex agnus castus also known as chaste tree or chaste berry is an herb that is commonly used in Europe to treat hormonal imbalances and menstrual pains. While this does not work for everyone, many women with PCOS – including me seem to have great success with it. When trying any herbal supplement I always try it for a minimum of 3 months until I decide if it works for me or not. I personally cannot recommend vitex enough to women who do not produce enough progesterone. Vitex supports the pituitary gland to produce progesterone and luteinizing hormones. Progesterone is a natural androgen blocker. This means that vitex helps to regulate menstrual cycles, induces ovulation and also relieves period pains. The supplement has been working very well for me for the past 7 years due to my low progesterone levels and taking vitex regulated my cycles completely. I take 1-1.5 grams of vitex a day throughout my whole cycle. Women without PCOS who are looking to relieve menstrual pain or menopause symptoms should take lower doses. Vitex is a completely natural supplement that is sold in pharmacies, however higher doses of vitex are available on iHerb in pill and liquid form. My personal favourite is sold on Amazon and is by Oregon’s Wild Harvest.