Many couples experience difficulty conceiving after deciding to start a family. Although the human race has survived because of the robustness of both sexes’ reproductive systems, many people still have difficulty conceiving within a set timeframe or at all.
They may turn to modern medicine to alleviate issues causing infertility or to improve fertility, particularly couples whose males have low sperm counts. But modern medicine is not always able to treat fertility issues. In these cases, couples may turn to herbs and natural remedies.
It’s true that some herbal remedies and supplements may have beneficial effects on fertility levels in both men and women. But it’s important to know which herbs you should target, as well as set your expectations so you aren’t disappointed if results are not as dramatic or positive as you hope.
They can be, but it’s always important to talk to your doctor before trying any new treatment to increase fertility (either as a male or female). Remember, herbs are not always FDA-approved medications or treatments under any circumstances, although the FDA has acknowledged that certain herbs can provide medicinal effects in some cases.
You also need to remember that herbal infertility treatments are cumulative. Any effects that they do provide will take some time to kick in, so many couples find that herbal medicines only treat infertility after between 60 and 120 days. Additionally, many herbs are cycle-dependent, so women looking to boost fertility should chart their menstrual cycle to take herbs when it is most effective.
Herbs may be beneficial treatments for a variety of infertility issues, including premature ovarian failure, male factor, low sperm production, advanced maternal age, and more.
Some herbal supplements may interfere with the effectiveness of over-the-counter or prescribed drugs, which may make them a bad choice for couples who are already on medication to treat infertility issues. Furthermore, some herbs can have potentially serious side effects, especially when taken in large doses.
Because of these factors, it’s crucial that you speak to your doctor before trying any herbal supplements to treat infertility. Explain the herbs you want to try so your doctor can warn you about any drug interactions or side effects, particularly if you are on birth control.
You should also be aware that some herbal supplements, especially when taken over several weeks or months, can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle and estrogen levels. A woman's hormonal balance can play a big role in conception chances.
In this way, herbal supplements may counterintuitively lower the odds of conception by throwing off your conception plan or by making it more difficult for eggs to be fertilized.
Bottom line: plan out any herbal fertility treatments carefully and in conjunction with your doctor for the best possible results and a healthy pregnancy.
There are thousands of different herbs and herbal supplements that you can choose from, including red clover, red raspberry leaf, and black cohosh. The below six are potentially beneficial options due to their mineral content or their effects on the reproductive system, as well as overall health benefits.
Maca, also called Lepidium meyenii, is a kind of tuber (a vegetable like a turnip) indigenous to the Peruvian Andes. Maca might be a good herb for treating infertility because it is an adaptogen: a compound that can help your body cope with increased stress.
Additionally, Maca affects various androgens, including testosterone, and both men and women. While it isn’t yet clear whether Maca directly affects testosterone levels, there is evidence showing that Maca can affect fertility positively in mice of both sexes.
Note that this may indicate that Maca is not a suitable herbal treatment for women with PCOS since this condition is typically characterized by elevated androgen levels and changes to menstruation.
Green tea is a popular beverage and a potentially healthy herbal supplement to take if you are looking to increase your fertility. Green tea’s high antioxidant content might provide fertility benefits by improving the viability of sperm in men and the viability of eggs in women.
In addition, green tea can be used with other herbs, as well as several spices (seen below). In this way, you can consume multiple herbs efficiently using green tea as a liquid vector.
Chasteberry (also called chaste tree berry) is an old herbal treatment that was used thousands of years ago by cultures such as the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Today, chasteberry is still widely used in Europe and in other places to treat a variety of conditions, such as uterine bleeding, PMS, and other menstrual cycle irregularities.
German physicians sometimes prescribe this herb to treat PMS and to regulate the menstrual cycle. This herb doesn’t include any major side effects and there aren’t any significant herb-drug interactions to worry about.
Chasteberry is most easily consumed as part of an herbal blend. It’s primarily beneficial for treating female infertility as opposed to male infertility.
The spice cinnamon is another potential herbal cure for infertility, although it is also sometimes used to treat other ailments.
There’s some research indicating that cinnamon may help women who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome, which often causes irregular menstrual cycles and difficulty conceiving. Cinnamon is best used as a spice or supplement to other herbal remedies. It’s easy to add cinnamon, for example, to green tea or other beverages.
Ginseng is a traditional herb used in Chinese medicine to this day. It’s often used as an aphrodisiac and has provided historical benefits for men suffering from erectile dysfunction. There’s some evidence to suggest that ginseng, when consumed by itself or in tea, can boost male sperm counts, as well as alleviate some of the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
This may be beneficial if you suspect infertility is because of declining sperm counts, which is a current and worldwide phenomenon, though researchers are not sure of its causes at this time.
Turmeric is another potentially viable herbal remedy for infertility. Often used as a spice, this herb might be able to improve ovulation. The mechanisms behind this effect are not yet understood, but turmeric may also be up to prevent various pregnancy complications, as well as preserve the viability of sperm for longer.
Additionally, some research indicates that turmeric may improve ovulation in women who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome. This may, in turn, assist with conception. Turmeric may further help to reduce inflammation associated with preeclampsia, which is a potentially deadly complication during pregnancy.
It’s difficult to become pregnant if your body has health issues aside from challenges with its reproductive system. There are a variety of prenatal vitamins and minerals that couples should target if they want to raise their fertility levels for traditional fertilization or IVF (in vitro fertilization). These include:
Ultimately, the best herbal fertility supplements for improving fertility or curing infertility will be those that meet your lifestyle needs and those that are recommended by your doctor.
You should speak to your doctor or healthcare professional before beginning any new herbal treatment or attempting to cure infertility on your own, as well as ensure that any herbs you plan to consume will not interfere with any drugs or other medication you may be on. An herbalist may be able to provide additional recommendations.
Furthermore, don’t rely on herbs to boost fertility or guarantee conception where other methods have failed. Herbs may be able to increase the chances of conception in some circumstances, but they are not catchall solutions for conception complications.