Progesterone plays an important role in the health of women. This hormone regulates menstruation, supports pregnancy and alters fertility. Progesterone also affects men. It changes testosterone level and impacts sperm count. Levels decrease with age, and this decline contributes to menopausal symptoms and prostate cancer. Synthetic drugs can correct these problems, but they often cause unwanted side effects. Natural remedies such as herbs may eventually provide a better option. Speak with a doctor before using herbal supplements to increase your progesterone.
Preliminary research indicates that fruit taken from the Kenya oak tree, Vitex fischeri, can help treat menopausal symptoms. The mechanisms underlying these improvements remain unknown, but they might involve progesterone enhancement. An investigation published in the November 2008 edition of the "American Journal of Primatology" revealed that chimpanzees eating this herb had unusually high levels of progesterone. Estrogen levels were unaffected, and the animals appeared healthy during their seasonal consumption of the fruit.
Many women use chasteberry, Vitex agnus-cantus, to alleviate their premenstrual symptoms. This herb effectively treats the breast pain that most women feel before they menstruate. Increases in progesterone may mediate these effects. A report offered in the August 2000 issue of "Research in Complementary Medicine" indicated that chasteberry increased progesterone during certain parts of the menstrual cycle. The supplement increased the hormone immediately before menstruation, but not at other points. Herb-related side effects were brief and mild.
Alternative healers often use dill, Anethum graveolens, as an antiseptic to treat wounds and prevent infection. This plant also affects your body's hormones, and it may eventually prove effective in treating diabetes. Dill contains antioxidants which may contribute to these medicinal effects. An experiment presented in the October 2006 edition of "Phytotherapy Research" showed that large doses of dill increased progesterone and lengthened reproductive cycles. The herb appeared safe as no toxic effects were observed in this study.
The herbal remedy Szechuan lovage, Ligusticum wallichii, plays an important role in traditional Chinese medicine. Native to India, this supplement is known to reduce inflammation and bolster immunity. It activates a special receptor present throughout your body. This receptor controls the immune system, and it regulates the effects of reproductive steroids like progesterone. A study described in the August 2006 issue of "Life Sciences" demonstrated that Szechuan lovage increased circulating progesterone in laboratory animals. This finding suggests that the herbal remedy has potential as a hormone replacement therapy, but additional testing remains necessary.
- "American Journal of Primatology"; Hyperprogesteronemia in Response to Vitex Fischeri Consumption in Wild Chimpanzees (Pan Troglodytes Schweinfurthii); Melissa Emery Thompson, et al.; November 2008
- "Research in Complementary Medicine"; Efficacy of the Complex Medication Phyto-Hypophyson L in Female, Hormone-Related Sterility; J. Bergmann, et al.; August 2000
- "Phytotherapy Research"; Effects of Anethum Graveolens L. on Female Reproductive System; Malihealzaman Monsefi, et al.; October 2006
- "Life Sciences"; Dynamics of Progestogenic Activity in Serum Following Administration of Ligusticum Chuanxiong; Laurence S. Lim, et al.; August 2006
Tomas Linnaeus is a psychologist, scientist and activist. Extensively trained in neuroscience, he has been published in professional journals like "Physiology and Behavior," "Journal of Sleep Research" and "Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews." Linnaeus has been writing for over 25 years and received a doctoral degree in psychology from Bowling Green State University.