Improve Your Chances of Conceiving Naturally - The Herbal Solution

©Jan Andersen
















Infertility is a ghastly word because of the connotations that are associated with it, but is a term that is generally applied when a couple fail to conceive following unprotected sex over a period of a year to eighteen months.   Infertility implies that a woman or a man's reproductive system is defunct, when this is often not the case and can be due to a simple and treatable cause.  Many older women may automatically assume that their failure to conceive is linked directly to their age, when this may not be the case at all.

Many conventional infertility treatments focus on the actual mechanics of fertilisation, when often the overall condition of the body is the key to successful conception.  There are many root causes that can inhibit the processes necessary for fertilisation, such as stress, illness, a hormonal imbalance and poor diet.  These are just some of the factors that can affect the organs that all play an important part in the process of reproduction.  Poor circulation, for example, can mean that the blood supply to the uterus and the ovaries will be impaired, causing an inability to produce viable eggs, or else an environment within the womb that is not conducive to implantation of a fertilised egg. In addition, some women may not realise the detrimental effect that alcohol and drugs (even over the counter medications) can have on fertility.

The good news is that a trip to your local health store or online herbalist can eliminate the need for all those uncomfortable, invasive tests that are so often part of the infertility diagnosis process.

Herbalism is not only the oldest form of medicine in the world, but is the most tested and proven method of treating ailments, with much of the world still relying on the properties of herbs for its primary healthcare.  Around 25% of all prescription drugs have been developed from plants because they contain a large number of natural chemicals.

Herbs help to strengthen and nourish the organs and systems responsible for the intricate process of successful conception, in addition to promoting a general feeling of well-being, which is crucial before, during and after pregnancy. 

It is important to mention, however, that once conception has taken place, there are some herbs that should never be taken during pregnancy, but information and advice about the safety of individual herbs can easily be obtained from several sources, such as books, practitioners and reliable online organisations.

Following are just some of the popular herbal remedies that can be used to treat male and female infertility.

For Women:

Agnus Castus:  Agnus Castus is the fruit of a Mediterranean shrub, Vitex agnus-castus, which is also known as the chaste tree.  This acts as a hormone regulator and will help if you have irregular periods or if you are not ovulating due to a hormonal imbalance.  Agnus Castus is also useful if you are prone to miscarriage before the twelfth week of pregnancy and can also help with PMS and menopausal symptoms.

A ¼ of a level teaspoon of the dried, crushed berries can be sprinkled on food, the best time being first thing in the morning.  Alternatively, one cup of the 1decoction can be taken daily.

Caution: Agnus Castus should not be taken in conjunction with Progesterone supplements.

False Unicorn Root:  Although this has been used for centuries as a fertility aid, False Unicorn Root is an endangered species, so should only be used if absolutely necessary.  It helps to regulate the ovaries and strengthen the lining of the womb.

Caution: False Unicorn Root should never be used during pregnancy

Red Clover:  Red Clover is a very common plant with bright pink blossoms and is renowned for its fertility-enhancing properties.  The leaves and blossoms are rich in B vitamins, calcium and protein and also helps to detoxify the blood.   Up to four cups of the decoction (made from dried, not fresh, blossoms) can be drunk a day, but you may need to take this for some time to reap the full benefits.

Caution:  Red Clover contains blood-thinning properties, so should not therefore be used following surgery or in patients with blood-clotting disorders.

Shatavari: This is a member of the asparagus family and is used as a woman's tonic. Shatavari has an affinity with the uterus, the reproductive system and natural cycles. It is a soft, cooling herb that clears inflammation and dryness in the body.


For Men:

Saw Palmetto Berries:  These are the berries from a small, palm-like plant that is found in the US and the West Indies.  Saw Palmetto has the effect of stimulating the sex hormones and can also be used to treat prostate enlargement.  A decoction can be made from ½ teaspoon of berries to one cup of water.  One to two cups should be drunk daily.

Damiana: Damiana is a small, aromatic shrub grown in South America.  The leaves act as a stimulant for the reproductive system, as well as acting as an aphrodisiac and an aid for impotence.


In addition to herbs, evidence suggests that Zinc, Vitamin E and Vitamin B6 can help to increase fertility.  Zinc deficiency has been linked to low sperm count and a loss of libido in men and reduced fertility in women.

Herbalism offers hope to many childless couples.  When a woman or man has been diagnosed as being infertile, they often find that their most important goal in life is to have a baby.  Some couples spend their life savings on costly, time-consuming and invasive infertility treatment, which is often unsuccessful, whereas others, who don't have the necessary resources, resign themselves to a life of childlessness. 

Although herbalism is regarded as an alternative therapy, the truth is that herbs have been used for hundreds of years to treat every ailment that exists.  After all, plants were the only medicine available to our ancestors and the human race has survived, so they must have been doing something right!

There are many herbs that can be used to treat various aspects of infertility and these can be discussed with a specialist.  As with any method of self-help, it always wise to consult an expert before attempting to administer a cure yourself, but with careful management natural cures are definitely the preferable and safest option.


Footnotes:

1Decoction:  A standard decoction can be made using 40g (1½ oz) herb to 750ml (1½ pints) water.  Method:  Place the herb in a saucepan with the water.  Put on a lid and bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.  Strain the liquid and pour into a clean container.  This decoction should keep in a refrigerator for around two to three days.

Warning: Herbs should never be taken in conjunction with any other type of fertility drugs and some herbal remedies may actually reduce fertility, such as St John's Wort, Ginkgo and Echinacea. For a list of herbs to avoid during pregnancy, please visit:
http://www.buildingbetterhealth.com/topic/9177

For an easy-to-follow fertility guide that charts the herbal remedies that can be taken during each stage of the menstrual cycle, please follow this link:
http://www.babyzone.com/preconception/herbs/generalfertility.asp


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