Couples preparing for a new pregnancy can optimize the health, viability, and probability of a pregnancy by enhancing fertility with herbal remedies.

Herbal remedies have a long history of optimizing women’s and men’s hormonal health safely and effectively. When used in conjunction with a clean healthy diet, exercise, and proper stress management, herbs can tonify the uterus, support uterine health, and balance hormones. Herbs can also balance men’s hormones and heighten sperm viability.

Herbal formulas for optimizing women’s fertility should include these basic herbs for hormonal wellness: chaste tree berry, red raspberry, dong quai, and rhodiola.

Chaste tree berry seems to indirectly stimulate the ovaries to produce and balance progesterone production.  Progesterone is vital to embryo implantation and retention. By enhancing progesterone, the uterus creates a healthier, fuller lining for a fertilized embryo to implant and enhances embryo development during the first seven weeks of embryo growth. 

Red raspberry is known for tonifying the uterine walls and muscles.  Red raspberry contains a constituent called fragrine, which is responsible for enhancing the tone of the pelvic floor, in general, and specifically the uterine wall muscles which can assist in embryo implantation and retention.

Dong quai stimulates blood flow to the uterus by dilating peripheral blood vessels. Improving blood flow promotes healthy circulation and assists in bringing vital nutrients to the area. Dong quai is also known for having estrogen-like effects, which helps balance healthy levels of estrogen hormones.

Rhodiola is associated with improved adrenal gland function. Adrenal glands produce cortisol and androgens which can be negatively affected by chronic, daily stress. When adrenal gland production is compromised, it can have an effect on other reproductive hormones as well as create low levels of inflammation. Rhodiola tonifies adrenal glands, which, in turn, balances reproductive hormones, inflammation, and the immune system.

There are herbal remedies that assist in men’s reproductive health as well. The herbal remedies, American ginseng, tribulus, maca root, and saw palmetto assist in male hormonal health and viability and efficacy of sperm. American ginseng is known to balance hormones and enhance male vitality. Tribulus is known to enhance sperm count, sperm motility and sperm morphology. Maca root enhances libido, sperm health, and balances reproductive hormones. Saw palmetto manages high stress levels and supports overall reproductive function.

Beginning the appropriate herbal formulas in advance of conception can enhance the health and success of a pregnancy. It can take three or more months to balance female hormones, and it takes three months to build sperm. Making time and planning for conception should begin a minimum of three months ahead of conception, or as soon as possible if a couple has yet to conceive. There are many excellent herbal formulas for fertility available which may contain additional herbs to those mentioned. Additional herbal remedies can be safe and effective additives; however, also be aware of any herbal remedies that need to be discontinued upon conception as well as those that are beneficial to continue to retain a pregnancy in the first trimester.

Dr. Shannon Sinsheimer is state licensed naturopathic doctor with a focus on fertility, family wellness, and pre-conception health. She can be reached at Optimal Health Center (760) 568.2598.

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