Herbs & Adaptogens For Each Menstrual Phase


The menstrual cycle is divided into two phases: the follicular phase and the luteal phase. Within these phases, there are two additional phases: menstruation and ovulation. The follicular phase starts on the first day of your cycle (the first day of menstruation) and lasts until ovulation, usually around day 10-14. The luteal phase begins after this, and lasts for days 14-28 (approximately), leading up to your next period. These phases are prompted by hormonal changes that occur naturally within the body, and so the health of our menstrual cycles can tell us a lot about the health of our hormones.

If our cycles are irregular and our hormones imbalanced, they can be supported and rebalanced by using herbs and adaptogens throughout the course of each month. Alternating with different herbs and adaptogens that are complementary to the specific phases of our cycles is the most effective way to achieve harmony.

If you are dealing with a serious hormonal imbalance or recent diagnosis, it's imperative that you seek support and guidance from a nutrition practitioner.

Here are some guidelines for ensuring a happy cycle


This is the phase in which our bodies prepare for a potential pregnancy. It’s an opportunity for a new beginning and we often feel a heightened energy and vitality in the body. There’s a steady increase of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) as well as increased estrogen, which causes luteinizing hormone (LH) levels to go up dramatically and several follicles to develop. These follicles hold immature eggs, until at least one is released in ovulation. We want to support the potential for increased vitality during this time.

As we feel our energy levels increasing, we should notice PMS symptoms decreasing and a generally more pleasant sense of being. We are more extroverted, social, and confident during this phase. This reflects our animalistic instinct of attempting to attract a mate in preparation for ovulation and conception. Even if you’re not trying to get pregnant at this time, it’s a good idea to support this phase to ensure overall health and bodily balance.

Phase 1 optional herbs & adaptogens


High in iron to support blood loss

Drink as a tea or infusion daily


Holy basil

Regulates blood sugar

Boosts immunity

Drink as a tea or infusion daily during this phase.


Nourishes the kidneys after menses

Reduces Stress hormones

Lifts energy

Drink as an infusion daily during this phase- best in the a.m. as it can be stimulating.

Phase 2: LUTEAL

This phase begins right after ovulation. It is marked by the breaking down of an unfertilized egg, decreased levels of estrogen, and a spike in progesterone levels. This abrupt change in hormones is what can lead to intense unpleasant or unmanageable feeling and symptoms. This is generally a time when we begin to look within. Our energy decreases and we may become more withdrawn and introverted.

Phase 2 optional herbs & adaptogens

Chaste tree berry (aka vitex)

Helps to lengthen the luteal phase. This is important as a short luteal phase can be indicative of conception issues in the future (or currently if you’re trying to conceive).

Boosts progesterone levels

Take in tincture or capsule form daily during this phase.


Warms the body

Helps clear gas and bloating

Supports digestion & detoxification

Drink as a tea, add to food or take in capsule form as needed

Burdock Root

removes excess hormones

cleanses the liver

Drink as a tea or infusion daily


Holy basil

Lifts mood and helps with mild depression associated with PMS

Drink as a tea or infusion daily during this phase.


Balances stress levels

Increases vitality and energy levels, which can be low during this phase

Take in tincture or powder as needed


Menstruation marks the beginning of a cycle and is the easiest phase to recognize. The uterine lining begins to shed, resulting in bleeding. This is a result of decreased levels of estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen will steadily increase over the course of the menstrual and follicular phases, but progesterone will stay at a consistently low level until ovulation, at which time you’ll steadily feel energy levels increasing.

Menstrual phase herbs & adaptogens

Red raspberry leaf

A uterine tonic, it relieves cramping and pain

Drink as a tea or infusion daily


High in iron to support blood loss & remineralize the body

Drink as a tea or infusion daily


Helps relieve cramping associated with menses.

Take as a decoction or tincture daily.



Supports digestive system

Helps with menstrual cramps

Add to food or take in capsule form as needed


Chaga mushroom

High in iron to support blood loss

Supports immunity & regulates energy

Works as a cleansing aid, to support this method of cleansing (menses)

Drink as a decoction or in powder form as desired


Helps to regulate hormone imbalances

Nourishes the body

Boosts immunity

Take in tincture form as needed


Ovulation occurs halfway through the average cycle, and begins with the release of at least one mature egg. It’s a 1-2 day window when we are most fertile and when we experience a peak in estrogen, LH, and LSF. This is usually when we are feeling at our peak. Energy levels are up, our skin looks vibrant and clear, and we have an extrospective presence. We are usually at our sexual peak as well.

Ovulation phase herbs & adaptogens

Red clover

Increases cervical mucus and lubricates the vagina

Drink as an infusion daily



Boosts LH production, which promotes healthy ovulation

If you’re trying to conceive, take it from menstruation up until ovulation begins, then stop and resume next cycle.

Take as a tea or in power form as desired


Increases energy and stamina

Increases libido

Balances estrogen levels

Take in powder form daily or as desired


In addition to supporting the individual stages of the menstrual cycle, we can support our liver all month long. Liver health is vital for proper hormone balance and menstrual health. The liver is responsible for processing and secreting hormones from the body, and it can become clogged if there is an excess.

Liver supporting herbs:

*Dandelion root

*Burdock Root

*Milk thistle

*Chicory root

*Yellow Dock


Certain fibers bind to excess estrogen in the body and help the liver to metabolize and excrete it. Fiber also helps to balance blood sugar levels and reduce cortisol levels, lowering the burden of stress in the body. In addition, fiber promotes digestive regularity, reducing constipation related to PMS. Ensure you’re getting 35 to 40 grams of insoluble fiber per day.

Ground flax seeds are a great option as they specifically bind to estrogen receptors and balance levels.


The liver is a strong and resilient organ - it’s the only organ that can regenerate itself! Give your liver a break by doing cleansing 1 day a week throughout the month. This will give it an opportunity to rest and flush out toxins.

1 day per week - eat light and nourish with soups, salads, juices, herbal teas, infusions & plenty of water

Chrysanthemum tea

Supports cleansing

Reduces heat in the body


Beauty tonic

Drink as a tea

Yoni Steaming: Steaming helps improve stagnation and remove old residue in the vaginal canal and womb space. If blood from the previous menstrual cycle has not been properly removed and cleansed, the body identifies it as a foreign substance. This activates muscles in the abdomen to attempt to push it out of the body. This muscle contracting action results in painful cramps. Doing vaginal steams can assist the body with cleansing the uterus, speed up blood flow, and improve circulation, which enhances the body’s own cleansing mechanisms.

Adding herbs to the process can enhance the effects. Beneficial herbs include: lavender, white sage, nettle, rose, red raspberry, chamomile, dandelion, calendula, and mugwort.

*Do not steam during your period, after ovulation if you are trying to get pregnant, or if there is excess heat in the body due to fever, hot flashes, or night sweats.