Herbs for treating PCOS

Herbs

Dose

Use

Black cohosh
(Cimicifuga racemosa)

0.5–1.5 ml, 3x/day

May have an anti-androgenic effect and may lower LH levels. May cause stomach discomfort and headaches. Use cautiously.

Blueberries,
fresh or frozen
(Vaccinium spp) or
blueberry solid extract

1/2–1 cup/day,
or 1/4 teaspoon of the extract

May normalize blood sugar levels.

Chaste tree
(Vitex agnes-castus)

1–5 ml, 3x/day

For irregular menstruation and pain with periods; this herb is well tolerated and excellent for balancing hormones.

Devil’s club
(Oplopanax horridum)

15–30 drops (0.5–1.0 ml),
3x/day

As a member of the ginseng family, devil’s club may be useful as a tonic to regulate the body’s stress response, which is important because stress can lead to insulin resistance.

Hops
(Humulus lupulus)

0.5 gram steeped in 6 ounces water, 2x/day

Taken as a tea, hops may reduce symptoms of excessive androgens. Hops tea may be quite bitter, so sweeten with honey.

Red peony root
(Paeonia lactiflora)

3–9 grams steeped in 6 ounces water, 2x/day

Taken as a tea or a tincture, this herb may also reduce androgen production. Peony may have a cooling effect, so add a warming element such as cinnamon to this tea.

Red root
(Ceanothus americanus)

1–2 ml, 3x/day

May increase lymph and fluid circulation and stimulate energy flow.

—M.P.M.

Source: Emma Whiteoak Lee, a clinical herbalist in Ithaca, New York.
Note: As always, see a knowledgeable herbalist, naturopath, or Chinese medical practitioner when considering treating a serious condition with herbs.