Guest post by Kathryn Flynn
There is nothing more soothing than a hot cup of herbal tea to bring calm to a busy day. As women, we are often managing many roles. The simple act of sipping a cup of tea gives us an opportunity to reconnect with the natural cycles of our bodies and reflect on what we need. Not only is herbal tea calming, but as tea continues to grow in popularity, the medicinal values held within the tea leaves are also becoming more well-known and appreciated.
As we dig deeper into the intrinsic healing potential of herbal teas, we can also find ways to support our health and find balance using herbal teas to reconnect our bodies with the natural rhythms of our monthly cycle. New research is indicating that herbal teas can positively impact some of the most common symptoms of PCOS including skin problems, hirsutism (abnormal hair growth), weight management, irregular menstrual cycles and fertility.
What are Medicinal Herbal Teas?
Herbal Teas, often called tisanes, are caffeine free infusions that contain a combination of herbs, flowers, seeds, fruits and other extracts seeped in boiling water. Just as food has been used as medicine for thousands of years, the benefits of herbal teas for women have been well known since ancient times.
Why Choose Organic?
Numerous studies are linking chemicals to endocrine disruption. There are over 3000 known hormone disruptors among the many chemicals that are produced every day. By choosing organic, you are ensuring the you are ingesting chemical and pesticide free products. Whenever possible, choose 100% organic certified teas which ensures the highest level of purity.
3 Good Reasons to Quit Caffeine and Switch to Herbal Teas:
While caffeine disrupts the body, naturally caffeine-free herbal teas hydrate. Caffeine can cause physiological stress to our bodies, creating a surge of cortisol which can disrupt testosterone and insulin and negatively impact PCOS symptoms.
- Adrenal health and energy levels: Many of us are accustomed to relying on caffeine to give us the energy we need to make it through the day. However, on a physiological level, we are giving ourselves a false lift and actually stealing from our true energy reservoirs. Though you may initially crave the “caffeine boost,” as your body adjusts and hydrates, your adrenals will replenish and you will walk away with increased, steady energy.
- Endocrine disruption and miscarriage prevention: Equally as important as adrenal health, reducing caffeine intake is essential to the 60 million women of reproductive age in the US. Caffeine has been shown to disrupt endocrine function and deplete the body of micronutrients. One Kaiser Permanent Study linked caffeine to miscarriage and recommended keeping caffeine intake to under 200 mg per day.
- Cortisol and the Fight – Flight Response: Caffeine is may also heighten agitation and impact sleep, potentially causing a release of cortisol. Physiological and psychological stress are known to impact the menstrual cycle, reproductive health and increase cortisol in the body. We also know that cortisol negatively impacts testosterone and insulin resistance thereby exacerbating symptoms of PCOS.
Organic Super Teas for Hormonal Health and PCOS
While most people have sipped chamomile to relax, the power of herbal teas extends well beyond its calming properties. Research continues to confirm many different ways herbal teas can support woman from inflammation to blood sugar balance, insulin resistance, weight loss, hirsutism, skin conditions, detoxification and even hormonal health.
Here is a list of 4 medicinal teas to enjoy:
Turmeric is a beautiful yellow spice, commonly used in Indian curry dishes. It contains the powerful antioxidant curcumin, and studies are showing that it is helpful reducing inflammation which is believed to be the root cause of many imbalances including PCOS. It may also help with period cramps, skin health as well as insulin resistance and weight loss according to a Journal of Nutrition Study from 2009.
Ginger is a wonderfully aromatic tea with known benefits for women including fighting nausea in pregnancy and helping to ease any pain associated with the menstrual cycle. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and is also being studied for its benefits on the brain in Alzheimer’s prevention research. In addition, ginger has been shown to help lower blood sugar levels, which is essential to regulating insulin levels and hormone balance for PCOS.
3. Spearmint Tea–
Spearmint Tea is wonderfully refreshing and also has noted benefits for helping with hormone regulation related to hirsutism. One study showed spearmint tea to have “anti-androgen effects” in PCOS and additional research has also indicated that women who consumed 1-2 cups of spearmint tea a day lowered they testosterone levels which could potentially help to reduce the symptoms of hirsutism.
Both delicious and aromatic, cinnamon is being closely observed for its connection to balancing blood sugar levels, supporting insulin resistance and boosting metabolism. A recent study in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology has indicated that “cinnamon improves menstrual cyclicity in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.” This finding has also indicated cinnamon may help to increase pregnancy rates in those with PCOS. Cinnamon has also been shown to regulate blood sugar levels. Addressing insulin resistance not only supports hormone health, but it is the first step in supporting steady weight loss.
How to Make Your Own Infusions
Boil Water. If using loose tea, add tea to a diffuser. Place diffuser or tea bags in desired cup or tea pot and pour boiling water over tea to steep. Let sit for 3-5 minutes or more. Remove diffuser or tea bag and enjoy. Experiment with different tisanes and combinations for taste and healing benefits.
Special Offer for PCOS Divas from Moontime Tea.
Use code “pcosdiva15” for 15% off anything in the store. One coupon per customer.
As the author of Cooking for Fertility and the Founder of FertileFoods.com, Kathryn Flynn has had had the privilege of working with hundreds of women in fertility and pregnancy nutrition consultations. One of the foundational recommendations is to give up caffeine, which is often met with resistance. In response to this need, Kathryn created Moontime Tea for Women: a collection of herbal tea blends for women’s wellness at every stage of life. Moontime Tea is intentionally blended with 100% organic certified herbs and packed in convenient, chlorine-free tea bags. The first of Moontime Tea’s blends was developed to fulfill this need—a naturally caffeine free alternative to coffee designed to replenish reproductive health. Moontime Tea is based in Southern Oregon where Kathryn lives with her husband Michael and their two children, Emerson and Abigail.
Turmeric. (n.d.). Retrieved May 26, 2017, from http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/turmeric
Ejaz, A., Wu, D., Kwan, P., & Meydani, M. (2009, March 18). Curcumin Inhibits Adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes and Angiogenesis and Obesity in C57/BL Mice1–3 . Retrieved from http://jn.nutrition.org/content/139/5/919.full
Khandouzi, N., Shidfar, F., Rajab, A., Rahideh, T., Hosseini, P., & Taheri, M. M. (2015). The Effects of Ginger on Fasting Blood Sugar, Hemoglobin A1c, Apolipoprotein B, Apolipoprotein A-I and Malondialdehyde in Type 2 Diabetic Patients. Retrieved May 26, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4277626/
Grant, P. (2010, February). Spearmint herbal tea has significant anti-androgen effects in polycystic ovarian syndrome. A randomized controlled trial. Retrieved May 26, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19585478
Kort, D. H., MD, & Lobo, R. A., MD. (2014, November). Preliminary evidence that cinnamon improves menstrual cyclicity in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Retrieved May 26, 2017, from http://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378%2814%2900446-3/abstract