You've decided to take the plunge and start a family of your very own. We all know the importance of prenatal vitamins and the ever-important Vitamin D supplements to ensure our health. We also know about our Omega-3s and 6s and Folic Acids as well for a healthy body as well.
With so many advice columns, how-to books, and old wives' tales out there these days, it's easy to get overwhelmed.
One of the most common searches for mothers-to-be is, "what natural supplements can I use to increase the odds of conception"? While there are multiple studies that question the effectiveness of natural supplements for fertility, there are a multitude of herbs out there that are believed to help in some small way. Many of them, in fact, are included in a woman's prenatal vitamin supplement as well when you take the time to read the labels.
Humanity’s quest to increase our odds of adding to our families has been a constant throughout our history, so it’s no surprise that the first treatments we turned to back then were the herbs and other supplements found in nature. It is also no surprise that many of us out there believe that it is time to return to our roots and look back to the plants, flowers, herbs, and other natural remedies that our planet has to offer in search of answers.
As usual, we want to remind you that any of the suggested natural supplements and vitamins below are in no way a replacement for professional medical advice and treatment. Before beginning or taking any new supplements, we strongly advise anyone considering the supplements below to first consult with a medical professional and/or your family doctor to ensure no adverse reactions or side effects may occur.
1. Chaste Tree Berry
Also known as Vitex Agnus-Castus, this natural supplement is believed to help balance the progesterone and estrogen levels when trying to regulate the menstrual cycle. It's also believed to help reduce the levels in the hormone known as prolactin. High prolactin levels, also known as hyperprolactinemia, have been linked to some types of male and female infertility. For women suffering from PCOS (Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome), it has also been shown to help improve fertility outcomes!
Isn’t it a fun bit of irony that a plant once used by monks in ancient times to reduce sexual desire is more commonly known nowadays for helping increase fertility instead? We believe that the Chaste Tree Berry definitely has some strong potential as a fertility supplement.
2. Black Cohosh
Also known by its scientific name of Cimicifuga racemosa, this natural supplement has been known to increase your fertility. Like the Chaste Tree Berry above, some clinical trials have noted a marked improvement in fertility success in women suffering from Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome by helping induce ovulation. It has also been shown to lower the luteinizing hormone (LH) and is believed to aid in implantation rates as a result.
3. Evening Primrose Oil
Extracted from the Evening Primrose plant, this natural supplement is believed to help maintain and promote hormonal balances as well as giving a boost to the production of cervical mucus.
Once called the "King’s Cure-All", this supplement is quite rich in the Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids, gamma-linoleic and linoleic acids too for that added bonus. For those not in the know, cervical mucus is considered essential for the sperm's journey to the egg and thus conception. It’s also commonly used to help induce labor for women who are ready to bring that baby into the world and has the added bonus of treating the overproduction of prostaglandins that causes uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, depression, irritability, and depression during PMS.
This extract from the root of the Ashwagandha plant is commonly taken in one of two forms; capsules or tinctures. It's believed that this natural supplement will help bolster your body's immune system and support the endocrine system-- any damage or impairment to those, as we know, can lead to fertility issues. As a bonus, the Ashwagandha root extract is also believed to help in stress-induced infertility in men! It’s a great herb all around, and we’ve covered it before.
Rich in minerals and nutrients, this plant grows in the volcanic soils in the highlands of Peru. While it has been known to be taken in capsule or tincture form, Maca is more commonly added in powder form to smoothies and juices.
It's also considered a food staple to the Peruvian people! As a supplement, Maca is believed to support and boost your thyroid health as well as provide balance to your hormones. It may also increase your stamina, energy, and most importantly, your libido.
A common spice, cinnamon can have a tincture extracted from the plant's root or the bark itself can be powdered and put into a capsule form for easy digestion.
The spice hosts a wide range of health benefits including limiting insulin resistance, a factor thought to be a cause of Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, and thus infertility in women. It also helps control heavy menstrual bleeding and can help regulate your menstrual cycles and boost overall fertility chances. Plus, it’s delicious and available pretty much everywhere!
For centuries now, this herb has been used as a natural supplement to treat fertility in India. Some decide to consume it in an easy to swallow capsule form, while others prefer to take the extract straight up. Like several herbal supplements, Shatavari has multiple benefits and uses including adjusting and controlling the immune system, increasing the production of the ever-important cervical mucus, regulating the menstrual cycle, and helping to fight off the damaging effects of stress on the body.
8. Castor Oil
Don’t feel like taking a tincture, extract, or capsule today but still want to help move things along? Castor Oil is the perfect natural supplement. All you need to do is get a bottle of Castor Oil, a piece of flannel or other soft cloth you don’t mind getting rid of (and is clean!), and soak it through until it’s fully saturated.
Put yourself into a comfortable position, apply the soaked cloth to your lower abdomen, put some plastic wrap around it to hold it in place, and apply a hot water bottle to secure it in place. Cover with a towel and binge some TV shows for about 30-45 minutes while it works its magic. Castor Oil helps stimulate your lymphatic system, circulatory system, and helps that liver work to cleanse the toxins from your body, as well as help maintain your hormone balance.
9. White Peony
An important herb in Chinese medicine used for a wide variety of health issues, White Peony is used in combination with other herbal remedies to help promote conception. Consumed as either a liquid extract or a decoction, White Peony helps by promoting the circulation of blood in your pelvic area. It is also believed to help with endometriosis, uterine fibroids, painful menstruation, and symptoms relating to Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome as well.
10. Milk Thistle
Another excellent natural supplement that is believed to help protect, cleanse, and renew your liver.
In return for the support, your liver can focus on cleansing the toxins from your body as well as support maintaining the ever-vital hormonal health and balance in your body; an important thing to consider for those wanting to increase their chances of conceiving. Milk Thistle is difficult to digest in its natural seed form, so it is recommended to take it as a tincture if you wish to partake of its beneficial properties.
Damiana is a natural fertility supplement made from the leaves of a shrub commonly found through all of Central and South America, the West Indies, and Mexico. When dried and brewed as a tea, Damiana is believed to be a potent aphrodisiac as a result of its ability to increase blood flow to your sexual organs as well as stimulate the nerves. Not just for women, Damiana is also believed to help men control a condition called spermatorrhea; a condition that causes accidental and excessive ejaculation. It is also said to help male impotence.
12. Dong Quai
Another herb used since ancient times, Dong Quai is believed to be a powerful fertility aid. It is believed to specialize in treating menstrual irregularities as well as helping with the uterine muscle health. Dong Quai is almost always found as a tincture and is also said to help regulate the menstrual cycle, manage short cycles with intense cramping, assist with light menstruation cycles, as well as promoting blood circulation through the pelvic region.
So there you have it; a list of 12 all-natural supplements to help you boost you and/or your partner’s fertility. Did you recognize any of these supplements from prior research, or heard of them by word of mouth from friends, family, or a natural medicine specialist?
Please keep in mind that supplements can only do so much for fertility boosting in comparison to current medical options. Also keep in mind two of the best methods to helping you be at your peak physical best is to have a proper, healthy diet full of nutrient and vitamin-rich meals to help your body feel and be at its best in that regard.
Make sure you are getting plenty of exercise while you are at it; your body may complain, but it does like to be active and it does a world of good on your self-esteem, your sense of well-being, your digestion, your heart health, and getting your blood circulating properly throughout your body. Being in good health is extremely important for your fertility.
Keeping a healthy emotional and psychological state of mind is also important while you are trying to conceive; everyone knows the body is incredibly sensitive to the type of damage stress and stress-related hormones have. Make sure you are taking time to practice mindfulness, deep breathing, and are in touch with your emotional state of being as well. The more stress and pressure you put on yourself, the more difficult it will be to "get in the mood" and the harder you have to work against your body’s natural reaction to go into protection mode. Communicate openly and with compassion when it comes to yourself as well as your partner; it’s the two of you together, after all!
There are times and circumstances when natural methods fail to have a meaningful impact. When this happens, please do not hesitate to make an appointment with a fertility specialist and your general care provider in order to discuss testing and fertility aids. Sometimes our bodies need something more targeted and potent than what nature can give us, and that’s where the hundreds of years of science comes into play - taking our favorite natural compounds and isolating, perfecting, and enhancing their effects.
Testing to make sure there’s no unexpected surprises like your thyroid causing problems, endometriosis, or low sperm and/or egg count is something we recommend as well to give you the absolute best shot at conceiving. Modern tests can even help you track the best windows of opportunity for conception, how wild is that? And, of course, there are those of us who need even more encouragement and assistance via IVF and other modern fertility treatments.
After all, if natural remedies and treatments aren’t working? A little store-bought help and assistance may be worth trying as well.