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Many women and people with periods can attest to some of the discomforts accompanying PMS, menstruation, and menopause. Much of our reproductive health relates to hormones–chemical messengers that move through the body to regulate mood, health, and biological function. 

Research suggests that herbs can partner with the endocrine system, the networking system responsible for transporting hormones to organs and tissues to support healthy hormone levels. 

But can herbal remedies really make a difference, and which ones might be best for you? The Brothers Apothecary is here to break down what we know.

What Herbs Can Support Women’s Health?

While more research on herbal remedies is needed, early evidence suggests several herbs can support reproductive health, libido, discomfort during PMS or menopause, and more. Read on to learn more about some of the most common herbs and how they may support your well-being. 

Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh is native to Northern America, often found in the woodlands of what is now known as Maine and Ontario. A tall and wispy plant with small and star-like white flowers, the Black Cohosh has been used by the Cherokee, Algonquian, and Iroquois nations to relieve swelling and support the reproductive system during and after menopause. 

The root of the black cohosh may serve as a phytoestrogen, a plant-based compound that behaves like estrogen in the body. While not a substitute for estrogen, the active ingredients in the root–which include triterpene glycosides–are thought to increase the effects of estrogen in some areas of the body and decrease the effects of estrogen in other areas of the body. 

Some evidence suggests that black cohosh root could be particularly useful in easing the discomfort caused by hot flashes during menopause. 


Turmeric is a member of the ginger family that is known for its vibrant golden color and warm, earthy flavor, the active ingredients.

By helping reduce swelling, curcumin supplements can ease cramps and body pains that may accompany periods. Curcumin may also increase the production of BDNF proteins and serotonin and dopamine hormones, all of which help regulate mood and emotions. 

This means that turmeric can help regulate some of the behavioral and emotional changes people with periods may experience during PMS. 

Maca Root

Maca is a cruciferous vegetable, similar to broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale. Grown best in extreme conditions at the Andes mountains of Peru, the maca root contains essential amino acids, fatty acids, fiber, iron, vitamin C, and calcium. 

The maca root also contains the plant compounds glucosinolates and polyphenols, supporting healthy blood flow and reducing oxidative stress. Some studies suggest that maca root may work to affect hormone levels to support fertility and sexual function

In fact, the bioactive compounds in the maca root may also work within the body to promote bone health. 

Dong Quai

Grown in the mountains of China, Japan, and Korea, the Dong Quai plant is in the same family of plants like parsley, celery, and carrots. 

The purplish root of the Dong Quai is believed to affect estrogen and other hormones in a way that could ease discomfort associated with PMS, menstruation, or menopause.

While there is little evidence supporting use on its own, some research suggests that supplements that combine Dong Quai with other herbs such as chamomile or ginseng and black cohosh may help with hot flashes.  


A member of the nightshade family, ashwagandha, may help reduce stress levels, increasing libido.

When dealing with stress, the body can overproduce cortisol, considered a stress hormone. However, the compounds in the ashwagandha root may reduce cortisol levels, reduce feelings of stress, and improve mental clarity

In lowering stress levels, ashwagandha may also support sexual function. A 2015 study suggests that ashwagandha can help women reach more orgasms and experience more enjoyable sex.  

St. John’s Wort

Native to Europe, St. John’s wort is a flowering shrub. Named for the time of year the flowers bloom–the birthday of John the Baptist–the flowers and leaves of this plant are used to relieve stress and tension related to menopause.

The active ingredients hyperforin and hypericin may improve serotonin levels, reduce stress, and improve sleep quality.  


Ginseng is a small plant with fleshy roots found in Asia and America. Ginseng can be grown for different lengths of time. Fresh ginseng is grown for four years before harvested, while white ginseng is grown after four to six years, and red ginseng is grown for over six years. 

The ginseng root contains two beneficial compounds called ginsenosides and gintonin that are thought to work together to provide support. The antioxidant properties of ginseng can help reduce stress.

There is also evidence that Korean red ginseng, in particular, can help support sexual function in women during and after menopause. 


A flowering plant found in the Mediterranean, parsley has a rich history in culinary and medicinal use. The leaves, seeds, and roots of the parsley plant have all been used in herbal remedies.

Parsley is filled with healthy vitamins and minerals, including the antioxidant-packed vitamin C and vitamin K, which is necessary for bone health. It aids the osteoblast cells responsible for bone growth and maintenance. This can help prevent bone loss that may develop with age. 


Also native to the Mediterranean region, the fenugreek plant seeds have been used to increase the production of breast milk during breastfeeding.  

The fenugreek seeds have a maple-like flavor, containing nutrient-rich vitamin C, B vitamins, and beta carotene. The phytoestrogen chemicals found in the seeds are thought to play a role in stimulating lactation

Can Herbs Improve Fertility?

More research is needed to understand how herbal remedies can affect fertility. Studies show that certain herbs can support fertility by increasing ovarian function and affecting hormone levels. 

Suppose you are interested in exploring herbal remedies for fertility. In that case, it is best to speak with a healthcare provider to determine what type of herbs and what dosage may fit your individual needs. 

Is It Safe To Use Herbs for Libido Support?

Herbs are typically considered safe for libido support when taken at the recommended dosage. However, it is important to research any herbal supplement and only use products from trusted manufacturers that use high-quality ingredients and are third-party tested. 

Herbs contain strong, active ingredients that can react with other herbs and drugs – especially blood thinners, blood pressure medication, and aspirin – so it is best to check with a healthcare provider before starting a new supplement. You should also research possible interactions before combining herbal products.

Certain herbal supplements can also pose a risk if you have an upcoming surgery, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Adults over 65 should also speak to a doctor before using herbal medicines, as older adults may metabolize supplements differently. 

It is also essential to examine what dosages have been tested for safety in clinical studies and never exceed a product’s recommended dosage.


From reducing stress to improving libido, herbal remedies have long been used to support a wide range of functions. The Brothers Apothecary is excited to share how you can incorporate herbs into your life and support your well-being!



A comparative study on the effect of “black cohosh” and “evening primrose oil” on menopausal hot flashes | NIH

Curcumin attenuates the severity of premenstrual syndrome symptoms: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial | Complementary Therapies in Medicine 

Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: a systematic review | NIH 

Contemporary Alternatives to Plant Estrogens for Menopause | Maturitas 

Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Improving Sexual Function in Women: A Pilot Study | BioMed Research International

St. John’s wort Information | Mount Sinai 

Yin and Yang of ginseng pharmacology: ginsenosides vs gintonin | Acta Pharmacol Sin.

Apigenin inhibits osteoblastogenesis and osteoclastogenesis and prevents bone loss in ovariectomized mice | Cytotechnology

​​Effectiveness of fenugreek as a galactagogue: A network meta-analysis | Phytother Res

Jesse Richardson, Health & Wellness Advocate
Ambassador of Teas, CEO

Jesse Richardson is the co-founder of The Brothers Apothecary. He's an avid tea drinker and the primary creator behind The Brothers' products. An undergraduate of UCLA for Political Science, Jesse currently studies Medicinal Plants at Cornell University and The International School of Herbal Arts & Sciences.

Meet the Brothers.

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