Q: Hi Susun & Karen Joy,
Thank you for a wonderful website!
I've suffered 2 miscarriages in the past year, and my fertility specialist is pretty positive this is due to my endometriosis which is causing me to produce unhealthy eggs. I've begun a vegeterian diet in the past 3 weeks. I am going by Fern Reiss's "The Infertility Diet: Get Pregnant & Prevent Miscarriage", as I don't seem to be conceiving as quickly as I was before the last miscarriage, 6 mos. ago.
I've just ordered tinctures of the following herbs: nettle, rasberry leaf, false unicorn root, wild yam root, & burdock. I currently drink nettle tea every other day. I think if I can detox my liver, heal,subdue, or prevent further endometriosis, and get my total body into better health, I will successfully conceive and carry a pregnancy. I'm not sure what the dosage amounts of each tincture should be, if they should be taken together or if there are contraindications, and what other details I should know about taking these tincures. I chose these herbs because they're traditional medicine to my family's southeastern native tribes. Unfortunately, no one left in my family has much natural medicine advice.
My husband suggested these are likely to agree with my body based on genetic memory.
I welcome any advice you can give on how I should administer, and what more I can do to learn about herbalogy.
A: Hello, so wonderful you care so deeply for your health, and being proactive about what you can do. I love your idea of finding the plants that might be more familiar to your family history, and those you mention are wonderful women's herbs. I can speak best about the herbs I am most familiar with, as well as the approach to health I most prefer - the Wise Woman Tradition.
I hear your concern, and hear you have endometriosis. My approach then at this point would be to support your health, nourish it so it works most optimally. Like you then I would look toward overall reproductive health and your liver health. And like you I love both Burdock, as well as Dandelion for liver health, though would not see it as detox, or see your liver as toxic, but moreso needing some care so it does its job wonderfully. For this I love tincture of the dandelion root, 15-25 drops in water 3 times a day, usually with meals. It does not need to be with food; I do it this way because it has the added benefit of helping with digestion. You can do the same with Burdock root tincture :)
You mention Nettle and Red Raspberry leaf. I do not use these as tinctures. I feel the value is best found in them prepared as infusions. This is a strong tea - I know you mention drinking Nettle tea so I do not know which you are preparing. I prepare infusions by putting an ounce of the dried leaves in a quart jar, filling with boiling water, capping and letting sit 4-8 hours before straining and drinking. While pregnant I love alternating these each day. Prior to pregnancy I favor more Red Clover blossom infusions.
I have heard wonderful things about False Unicorn root and Wild Yam. In Susun Weed's Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, she recommends False Unicorn root be taken as a tincture, 5-15 drops per day, prior to pregnancy. Or the infusion can be taken in sips, up to a half a cup per day. To improve fertility, Susun recommends:
"If wild yam is taken in small doses (a cup of tea or 10-20 drops of the tincture daily from onset of menses until mid-period) it increases fertility!"
Q: Dear Karen Joy,
Hoping you can help me ascertain what's going on with my body since taking the tinctures & teas. Can you let me know what you think about this result? Thanks!
I've been on a vegeterian diet for over a month, off of meat & dairy products for 3 weeks, and I took wild yam root, false unicorn, & raspberry leaf tinctures & nettle tea for 2 weeks this month before & during my period. My period was abnormally long (10 days) and since it's stopped I'm still having an unusual discharge, not blood, but not normal cervical mucus. I'm very concerned to know if this could be resulting from a detox or from something else. I need to know what's causing this discoloration (and it appears to be very small amount of clotting) a week after my period has finished. Since I observe religious laws that prohibit me from having marital relations until my period is a completely over, I am wondering if this is still part of a period or if it's something else. Do you have any idea?
Thank you so much for your wise counsel.
A: I see you wrote this 5 days ago. How are you today? Is there still discharge that you are concerned about? I can not answer for sure what it is, though know myself that dramatic changes in diet can affect us. I do not consider this a detox however.
love and blessings,
Q: Hi Karen Joy,
Somehow I missed this email from you; I'm so sorry I didnt see it and reply sooner! I did take your advice about limiting the number of herbs I take on at once. Since last cycle I just stuck with the false unicorn root tincture, since all the literature I read says that is a sure-fire way to help endo. I also started adding some Vitex tincture, according to a 'Tayler Tonic' recipe I found online. So this month my usual 27 day period switched to 31 days. But today is my 9th day of menstruation and its just as heavy as ever! I'm concerned. I just don't know what this means. I've rarely had a period longer than 7 days, esp. this heavy. Any idea what may be happening? I'm trying to continue my basically vegeterian and lactose-free diet as well. I read that a whole foods diet (and avoiding fat, fried food, caffeine & alcohol) will help ease the stress I put on my liver and the liver can help eliminate some of the endo! I don't know if that's true but it sounds good.
Would love to know what you think about if these extra long periods are health or not.
Thanks so very much,
A: It is great to hear from you. It is hard to know what is causing the change in what is familiar in your cycles. You have made lots of changes - the ones I know about being the use of Vitex tincture, False Unicorn root tincture, no more dairy, no more meat. Last cycle too you were working with some herbs that were new to you. Your last cycle lasted 10 days, so perhaps this did as well? So this change could be related to one or several of the above changes, other changes we are less aware of at the moment, or something else entirely, just coincidental. I can not answer this. The bleeding itself likely will not harm you, it is the cause we need to know to know of risk. When we do bleed excessively we can lose more iron, and the resulting anemia can itself allow us to bleed more. Your amount of bleeding I doubt will have yet affected this, but to be sure I would myself increase iron rich foods in your diet. You have eliminated a great source of this - red meat.
It seems originally your concern was that you had not conceived in a few months so you made changes to your diet and herbs and now are having abnormal cycles where they were once fine. Is this true? It takes time after a miscarriage for us to adjust. This may have been the only hindrance and no change was needed.
Also, lots of people have their own ideas about what is healthy for a person or not -lifestyle, foods, herbs. I can offer mine but some would contradict what you read elsewhere. It is you who have to find this out for yourself, what is best for you. One person's ideas (even my own :)) can not be right for everyone.
My feeling about endo and liver and immune health, is that the more vibrant a body is, more vital, more resilient, the better it is able to process what is normal and natural in life. Stressed livers and immune systems have a harder time and may leave one more prone to endo. However, and this is important, this does not mean that one with endo has a weaker immune system or liver health than one without!! There are many other unseen factors I am sure, due to our genes and environments we lived in. I just mean the stronger our immunity and the stronger our liver and the more vital our hormone health the better we are.
That said then I would want to nourish our liver and our immune system. If one were weak we want to encourage the person to get stronger by working and by feeding her foods that she can build with. If our liver, whose job it is to process out what is not needed in our body, is stressed, I would favor feeding the liver rather than trying to keep it from working. I do this with liver nourishing foods and herbs. To keep your herb protocol simple still I would then focus on bitter foods - greens that are bitter, dandelion is a wonderful one! Same with our immune system, I would focus on nourishing it with good foods. For healthy hormone function I am of the strong belief we most need healthy fats - to me this comes from uncooked extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, raw but soaked or sprouted nuts and seeds, and organic free ranging meats and dairy products.
I know, just another set of ideas for you to choose from. I trust in time you finding what is best for you. It would be my guess the changing cycles are more likely to be a result of your changing diet and herbs. I had distressing changes when I went vegan. However, there are some things that can cause changes in our cycle that can be harmful if they continue - fibroids or endo in some places, uterine polyp, uterine cancer. I would not guess these for you, but must acknowledge I can not know with out tests that only a doctor can do. It is up to you if you feel those tests are necessary right now. Any moment in life we may be walking with a life threatening condition. We must choose when and how often we wish to rule those possibilities out, to the best of our ability.
Please continue to write as you wish. I do have many opinions, but most wish to support you to find what you feel is best for you. I will be curious to hear how you are doing. I will wonder, and would love to hear back.
love and blessings,