Treatment for: Female Hormonal Imbalance
Secret ingredient: Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum), crucifers
It’s no secret that women experience mood swings, cramps, bloating, hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, and dozens of other symptoms throughout their lives as a result of hormonal cycles, and this can go on for 60 or more years of their adult lives, from their first menses to the end of menopause and beyond. Yet hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which attempts to restore estrogen, progesterone and/or testosterone levels, is a controversial subject.
Another approach – symptom management – uses pharmaceuticals to control each symptom, often with results that lead to other health issues.
Many women I talk to are seeking natural alternatives, and they think that hormones labeled as “bio-identical” are natural. If you’re among them, think again. Outside of a woman’s body, there is nothing found in nature that’s bio-identical.
So called bio-identical hormones must be synthesized in a lab, typically from soy or yams. Other types are made from conjugated equine estrogen from pregnant mare urine (Premarin), medroxyprogesterone acetate (Provera), or a combination of the two (PremPro). None of these have been shown to be better than the former conventional treatment for hormone replacement.
In most cases, the risks outweigh the benefits.
Adaptogens may be the most important compounds under research today. Not only can these unique healing plants balance stressors caused by disease and boost our immune function, but I’ve seen a lot of research that shows that they can improve thyroid function, lower cholesterol, reduce anxiety, alleviate depression, reduce brain cell degeneration, stabilize blood sugar, and support the adrenal glands – all of which work to balance female hormones.
The time of girlhood to womanhood and the transition from the reproductive years to later age are times to listen to and address underlying imbalances. Any ongoing discomfort is the body’s way of communicating its needs. Don’t mask symptoms with medications or remedies that are less than natural.
In the Female Hormonal Holy Basil and Crucifers Protocol, you will use the adaptogen Holy Basil and cruciferous vegetables to restore balance in the body.
How It Works
I’ve visited many countries around the world, both for the cultural experience and in my quest to uncover natural homeopathic remedies for common maladies that plague (mostly Western) society. What I’ve discovered is that there are pockets of women who do not suffer from hot flashes, PMS, and other symptoms related to loss of estrogen or hormonal imbalance.
India is overcrowded and many locations offer less-than-ideal living conditions, yet women of all ages don’t present the same symptoms as Western women, and it has to do with their diet.
During the Female Hormonal Holy Basil and Crucifers Protocol, you will introduce the adaptogen Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) into your lifestyle to balance the hormone estrogen, the chemical messenger that regulates hair loss and thinning, fatigue, fertility cycles, weight, sleep and libido. Its flavor is spicy; sort of a blend of mint, licorice and clove, with non-nutritive protective compounds.
In addition, you’ll introduce large amounts of indole-3-carbinol into your diet, a substance that helps modulate estrogens and has the added effect of protecting against some cancers (it’s the reason researchers believe crucifers to be beneficial in preventing breast cancer).
Female Hormonal Holy Basil and Crucifers Protocol
You should begin to feel some relief from symptoms in 2 weeks, however it generally takes approximately 30 days for the body to adapt and exhibit changes.
You will need:
- Holy basil (Tulsi), fresh or dried
- Other protocol foods
- A high powered blender (NutriBullet) and food processor
For thirty days, you will begin and end each day with 8 ounces of Tulsi tea made from fresh, dried or powdered Tulsi.
- 1 quart water
- 7 Tbsp Tulsi fresh or dried, or 3 Tbsp powdered Tulsi
Bring water to just below a boil. Remove from heat and add Tulsi. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Drink hot or cold.
- Customize your tea with cinnamon, black pepper or cayenne to taste, lemon grass, coriander seeds, anise seeds, vanilla extract, dried or fresh ginger root, raw honey or coconut sugar.
For the rest of the protocol:
- Where no serving portion is indicated, you may eat as much as you want.
- For salads, choose any homemade salad dressing up to 3 Tbsp.
- You may add additional crucifers at any time of day beyond the recommended serving.
- Always consume some type of fat with veggies to aid their metabolism (butter, olive oil, raw nuts, meats, egg yolks, whole fat yogurt).
- You may add additional lettuces to salads beyond the recommended crucifers.
- Drink 8 glasses of water each day if possible (you can count your tea).
Breakfast: 2-egg omelet with 1/2 cup broccoli florets. Cut broccoli into very small pieces and lightly steam. Add just before eggs are finished.
Lunch: Salad made with 1/2 cup raw cabbage, 1 red bell pepper julienned, and anything else you like.
Dinner: 6-8 Brussels sprouts lightly sautéed in butter; 4 ounces protein (your choice).
Breakfast: Smoothie: 1 cup arugula, 4 ounces water, 1/4 cup cranberries or other berry, and 1 small banana.
Lunch: Sandwich: 4 ounces protein (turkey, tuna, boiled eggs, almond butter); 1 cup very lightly steamed kale or collard greens
Dinner: 1/2 to 1 whole head cauliflower lightly steamed. Break into pieces and toss with 4-5 cloves chopped garlic sautéed in 2 Tbsp melted butter.
Breakfast: Egg salad on toast; 1 cup steamed kale drizzled with olive oil.
Lunch: Salad: 10 raw almonds, 1 cup arugula, 1 red bell pepper, and 1/2 cup pineapple chunks.
Dinner: Apple slices, celery sticks, and 1/2 cup raw broccoli florets dipped in almond butter or cottage cheese.
Breakfast: 2-3 slices bacon; 1 cup sautéed broccoli; 1/2 grapefruit or 1 whole orange.
Lunch: Salad: 1 cup arugula, 4 sliced radishes, 1 Tbsp sunflower seeds.
Dinner: 1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans tossed with garlic sautéed in butter and 1/2 cup cooked black or brown rice.
Breakfast: Smoothie: 1/2 cup pineapple, 1/4 cranberries or other berry, 1 small banana, 1/4 cup plain yogurt, 1 cup baby kale, and 1/2 cup water.
Lunch: 1 whole bunch broccoli rabe lightly steamed and drizzled with olive oil; 1-2 slices toasted Ezekiel bread.
Dinner: 4-6 ounces grilled or broiled chicken, 8-10 Brussels sprouts sautéed in butter or grilled; drizzled with lemon juice.
Breakfast: Omelet; 1 cup mustard greens, kale or collards lightly steamed.
Lunch: Sandwich: 4 ounces protein; 1/2 cup steamed kale
Dinner: 1/2 to 1 whole head steamed cauliflower and 1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans; toss together with garlic sautéed in butter.
Breakfast: 1/2 cup berries, 2 Tbsp raw sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup cottage cheese or whole fat plain yogurt.
Lunch: Salad: 1 chopped apple, 10 raw almonds, 1/4 cup bean sprouts, 1 cup field greens. Toss with arugula dressing: In blender, combine 3 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1 Tbsp raw honey, 1/2 cup arugula.
Dinner: 4-8 ounces purchased or homemade hummus. Dip radishes, broccoli, carrots, celery, or whatever you like.
- 4 cloves raw garlic
- 1 cup canned (drained) or prepared chick peas
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp water
- Coarsely puree all ingredients in a food processor. Serve sprinkled with paprika or red pepper flakes
Repeat the menus for days 1-7 for the next three weeks. You can make substitutions but keep the following in mind:
- Eat 4 ounces of protein with at least two meals
- Include at least 1/2-1 cup of crucifers with at least two meals (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, arugula, kohlrabi, bok choi, broccoli rabe (rappini), Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, collard greens, daikon, horseradish, radish, mustard greens, rutabaga, turnip greens and roots, watercress, wasabi)
- Drink 8 glasses water each day
- Continue to maintain a healthy weight. Excessive fat in the body contributes to over-production of estrogen.
- Precaution: Tulsi is not recommended if pregnant or nursing, and may lower blood sugar in children. It also has mild blood thinning properties.
- Include phytoestrogens in your diet from organic soy, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, bean sprouts, and legumes (garbanzo beans and peas) to help balance hormones naturally.
- If you prefer soy products, opt for non-GM organic tofu, edamame, tempeh, miso, and naturally fermented soy sauce.
- Precaution: Raw phytoestrogens compete with iodine absorption, so if you have a thyroid condition, cook them and wait 2 hours after taking thyroid medication to eat them.
- A mere 15 minutes of deep breathing twice a day helps with hot flashes and night sweats.
Did you know?
- Holy Basil, also called Tulsi, is highly regarded in Ayurvedic medicine and can be traced back at least 3,000 years.
- Ocimum sanctum is a distant cousin to Ocimum basilicum or culinary basil.