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hormonal imbalance ayurveda

As an Ayurvedic doctor, I often have patients consult me with different health conditions. And one of the reasons for some of the health problems, especially for women, is hormone imbalances. Health conditions, such as PCOS, hypothyroidism, etc. are all results of hormonal imbalance. 

 

In today’s fast-paced world, hormonal imbalances have become increasingly common. Factors such as stress, poor diet, environmental toxins and sedentary lifestyles can influence the balance of your hormones. The common symptoms include irregular menstrual cycles, mood swings, weight gain and low energy levels. While conventional medicine offers solutions like hormone replacement therapy, many individuals seek natural alternatives to restore balance to their hormones without side effects. 

 

In this blog, let us explore how Ayurveda offers natural methods to balance hormones effectively.

 

What is Hormonal Imbalance?

 

The endocrine system is made of endocrine glands. These glands secrete hormones that are necessary to carry out a variety of functions in our body. Endocrine glands do not have channels or ducts to carry these hormones. Therefore, hormones are discharged directly into the bloodstream. The pituitary gland, pineal gland, thymus, thyroid, adrenal glands, pancreas, testes and ovaries are among the most crucial endocrine glands in the body. 

Hormones play a crucial role in our growth, digestion, sexual desire and reproductive health. They are also responsible for our cognitive processes, emotions, regulating our body temperature, and satisfying our thirst. 

An excess or deficiency of a hormone in the body can lead to hormonal imbalances and eventually diseases. This situation can occur due to various factors, such as feeling stressed, having a poor diet, or experiencing health issues.  

 

Hormonal Imbalance as per Ayurveda

 

Ayurvedic texts do not have a direct mention of the endocrine glands. However, they do have mentions of symptoms due to the increase or decrease of hormones in different contexts. 

 

Influence of Doshas on endocrine glands

 

Doshas cannot be considered as hormones, as they lack form and also because Kapha and Pitta Doshas are stagnant and need to be mobilised by Vata Dosha. However, their functioning can be considered similar to hormones. 

 

Pituitary gland

 

Pituitary gland,  also known as the master gland, is located in the brain. This gland secretes hormones that control the operation of some of the other endocrine glands. Similarly, Prana Vata, Sadhaka Pitta and Tarpaka Kapha – subtypes of Vata, Pitta and Kapha Doshas are also located in the head. When these Dosha subtypes work together, it can be considered similar to the functions of the pituitary gland. Also, the Dosha subtypes have an influence on the pituitary gland and its functions.

 

Thyroid gland

 

The throat is considered the seat of Kapha as per Ayurveda. This is exactly where our thyroid and parathyroid glands are situated. The movement of Udana Vata and Prana Vata – two of the Vata subtypes also happens in the throat. So, you can say that Kapha, Prana Vata and Udana Vata oversee and influence the functioning of your thyroid and parathyroid glands. 

 

Adrenal glands and pancreas

 

Adrenal glands and pancreas are situated in the abdomen, which is also the seat of Ranjaka Pitta and Pachaka Pitta – Pitta subtypes, Kledaka Kapha – one of the Kapha subtypes and Samana Vata – a Vata subtype. Therefore, these Dosha subtypes do influence the functioning of the adrenal glands as well as pancreas. Also, since the Udana Vata moves upwards from the navel towards the throat, it also has an influence on the endocrine glands.

 

Testes and ovaries

 

Similarly, the testes in men and ovaries in women are located in the pelvis, which is primarily the territory of Apana Vata. Therefore, the functioning of the glands are overseen by the Vata subtype. 

 

 

 Treatment of Hormonal Imbalance with Ayurveda

 

Every year, I have a lot of patients who join my women’s hormonal health program as well as thyroid and PCOS reversal programs to have their hormonal imbalances corrected with Ayurveda. Though the treatment can vary with the health condition, Prakriti (body type) and Dosha imbalances of the patients, here are some of the common treatment approaches I follow.

 

Dietary Modifications

 

According to Ayurveda, poor gut health is the root cause of all the diseases. If your digestive fire (Agni) is not in balance, it can affect your digestion. Food, when not digested, turns into Ama (toxins) and the accumulation of toxins (Ama) in the body can lead to diseases and even disrupt your hormonal balance. Therefore, treatment for hormonal imbalances with Ayurveda often focus on improving digestive function mainly through dietary changes.

If you are someone who follows my Instagram page or reads my blogs, you might be aware of how 80% of my treatment involves food as medicine. Only the rest 20% involves medicines, that too if necessary. Therefore, my treatment plan for patients with hormonal imbalance primarily involves dietary corrections.

In Ayurveda, diet plays a crucial role in maintaining hormonal balance. Foods are categorised according to their taste (Rasa), energy (Virya), and post-digestive effect (Vipaka), and individuals are encouraged to eat according to their Dosha type and current imbalances. For example:

  • Vata-pacifying foods, such as warm soups, cooked grains, and nourishing oils, can help calm the nervous system and balance Vata hormones.
  • Pitta-pacifying foods, such as cooling fruits, vegetables, and grains, can help reduce inflammation and balance Pitta hormones.
  • Kapha-pacifying foods, such as light, dry, and spicy foods, can help stimulate digestion and balance Kapha hormones.

 

Herbs, herbal remedies and herbal medicines

 

There are a variety of Ayurvedic herbs that help balance your hormones. However, do not use any of these herbs or herbal medicines without consulting a qualified Ayurvedic doctor. There are strong Ayurvedic herbs, like Ashwagandha and Shatavari and Ayurvedic medicines with heavy metals, that when consumed in excess can have serious side effects. 

Some of the common herbs and medicines that help with hormonal imbalance according to Ayurveda include the following:

 

Triphala

Triphala – the herbal formulation consisting of three fruits, Amllki, Haritaki and Bibhitaki helps in promoting overall health and also flushing out toxins from the body. It also boosts digestion and helps in the elimination of wastes from the body, – two bodily functions that are essential to keep your hormones in balance.

 

Licorice

This is one of my favourite Ayurvedic herbs! Licorice or Mulethi helps regulate cortisol levels and supports the adrenal glands. You can have licorice in the form of tea, tonic or extracts, but with the advice of a qualified Ayurvedic doctor. 

 

Turmeric

Curcumin – the active component of turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming turmeric helps reduce inflammation that is a result of hormonal imbalance. 

 

Ayurvedic Therapies

 

Ayurvedic therapies such as Abhyanga (oil massage), Panchakarma (detoxification treatments), and Shirodhara (a soothing therapy involving the continuous pouring of warm oil over the forehead) can help balance hormones by calming the nervous system, improving circulation, and promoting detoxification.

 

Mind-Body Practices

 

Ayurveda recognises the intimate connection between the mind and body and emphasises the importance of mental and emotional well-being in maintaining hormonal balance. Practices such as meditation, mindfulness and self-reflection can help reduce stress, improve mood and promote hormonal harmony.

 

By incorporating dietary modifications, herbal remedies, Ayurvedic therapies, yoga, and mind-body practices into their lifestyle, individuals can support their hormonal health and experience greater vitality and balance. However, it’s essential to consult with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before making any significant changes to your lifestyle or treatment regimen. 

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Consult with Dr. Rekha Radhamony