Seed cycling has been a long-standing therapy to aid in hormone balance as part of our menstrual cycle as certain seeds and oils are consumed to balance the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone in women. It is used for a variety of hormone-related concerns, used as treatment or part of a lifestyle, as there can also be adjunct therapies.
There’s also a spiritual and lifestyle component, as we are beings of nature and sensitive to universal energy, where certain activities and lifestyle choices are best done at different parts of the cycle.
A normal menstrual cycle occurs every 28-35 days, heavier the first day or two and lighter as the cycle continues, and lasts about 3-7 days. Estrogen and progesterone drop around the last week before her menses, so she begins day 1 of bleeding with low hormone levels.
About a week later the brain senses these low levels, and soon estrogen and another hormone called follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) keep each other going until estrogen peaks and signals the release of luteinizing hormone (LH). Around day 14, ovulation occurs where the egg gets released from the ovary, and progesterone begins to rise to thicken the inner lining of the uterus to prepare for implantation. If there isn’t any sperm, progesterone drops (estrogen has pretty much been on the decline too), and her period begins all over again.
The first half of the cycle focuses on estrogen, where 1-2 tablespoons of ground flax, chia, or pumpkin seeds naturally help promote healthy estrogen levels (make and metabolize), as well as 1-2 grams of high-quality fish oil that has EPA and DHA. At day 14, 1-2 tablespoons of ground sesame or sunflower seeds help support the main hormone progesterone, along with about 1 gram of evening primrose oil. These seeds contain important minerals like copper and zinc, needed to produce hormones. In addition, healthy fats help with overall hormone production and reduce inflammation.
We are all spiritual beings, and our body thrives when it’s natural rhythm is aligned with nature, such as having hormone-like melatonin (activated by dark), that puts us to sleep at night, and cortisol waking us up as for the day.
Further, our body is mostly water, so it can be affected by planetary shifts in the universe. This ebb and flow are synonymous to our cycle, where women may find themselves in various moods and energies throughout the month. The new moon is a great time for reflection, taking a step back (we are also losing quite a bit of blood, getting rid of what doesn’t serve us) and then taking action (around days 8-15), as we do well with higher intensity exercise due to the boost in estrogen.
The full moon is when we organize and put those desires into action, exercise becomes gentler, and we may feel a little more tired and relaxed as progesterone is now the main hormone at play.
Common concerns in women who may benefit from this lifestyle change are those who have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), or PCOS-like (she may have high testosterone, or anovulation, without the case of cystic ovaries), endometriosis, infertility, menstrual cycle irregularities, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), or other main concerns like acne and thyroid issues that tend to also involve some sort of hormone imbalance.
Seed cycling can help restore a proper rhythm to her cycle usually in about 3-6 months, depending on the woman. If she does not cycle, or cycles irregularly, consider starting on the new moon. However, sometimes women cycle the opposite (i.e. day 1 on the full moon), and feel fine, as these seeds are regularly promoting hormone balance. Ultimately, it’s important to listen to your body.
While this is great for women with menses, postmenopausal women may benefit from daily ground flaxseeds, as they both help produce and bind up estrogen (also promote a good metabolite of estrogen), decrease blood pressure, and feed good gut bacteria (important in metabolizing estrogen too).
Seed cycling is a great place to start if you identify with any of these concerns, or just want to incorporate this into your life for overall health. That said, there are usually other concerns at hand so working with a knowledgeable practitioner to potentially add in certain herbs or nutrients to these phases, as well as address the mind-body connection to facilitate further healing can bring a whole new level of awareness to your body.
They may also be able to be of guidance on an individualized plan to expand on healthful lifestyle habits, as well as around various testing methods to get to the root cause of dis-ease. Hormone imbalance goes much farther than solely replacing hormones, as there are at least eight different organs in the endocrine systems, all turning out multiple signals that can be easily influenced by internal and external stressors. Addressing all aspects of health, and perhaps having seed cycling as part of your lifestyle, helps to not only treat but double as prevention for lessening the risk of hormonal based concerns over time.
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