Androgens are male sex hormones such as testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT). They exist in and benefit both males and females by increasing energy, enhancing libido, and lowering osteoporosis risk. However, high androgen can have undesirable effects on a woman’s body, such as deepening the voice, promoting excess body hair, and even leading to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which can cause infertility. These hormones are also primarily responsible for acne in both sexes. Oral contraceptives and diuretic medications are often used to block androgen production, but they can also have harmful side effects. Reducing your androgen levels naturally is safer and can be just as effective.

Take herbal supplements that lower the amount of androgens circulating in the bloodstream. Saw palmetto inhibits excess testosterone production in men and women. Other herbs such as chasteberry (also known as vitex agnus-castus) and black cohosh increase estrogen, the female sex hormone, and should only be taken by women.

You can also balance your hormones by taking maca root, a Peruvian plant known for its fertility-boosting benefits.

Eat a balanced diet with lots of fruits, nuts, and green vegetables to help regulate hormone levels. Soy foods such as tofu, tempeh, and edamame contain phytoestrogens, which can enhance and mimic the effects of estrogen on the female body.

Eat less red meat since it can raise androgen, and avoid greasy, fried foods—they only make the undesirable effects of androgens worse.

Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese practice, can reduce excess androgens produced by the pituitary gland, release endorphins, and create an overall feeling of well-being.

Tip

Spearmint has anti-androgenic effects. Drink one to two cups of spearmint tea daily.