Herbal medicine has a long tradition of treating pregnancy and the preconception process. Herbs are powerful and many modern pharmaceuticals are synthetic and extracted forms of herbals that have been used throughout time. Classical Chinese medicine has an entire pharmacopeia that utilizes complex herbal formulas that can contain up to 20 herbs per dosage. The tradition of western herbal medicine tends to focus on the use of single herbal remedies. There are many herbs that are used in both western and eastern traditions simultaneously. Most fertility formulas that are sold online or at health food stores are general tonics that are relatively good. However the best way to treat the menstrual cycle and increase fertility with herbs is by customizing the herbs you are using depending on where you are in the follicular and luteal phases.
Follicular balancing herbs tend to benefit yin energy and estrogen. The traditional Chinese formula that treats yin deficiency is called Zuo Gui Wan. There are many western herbs that are available in liquid extract, tinctures and pills. Because detoxing and improving liver metabolism benefits estrogen balance in the body, many liver qi moving herbs are also used to strengthen the luteal phase, particularly for those people with inconsistent basal body temperatures and heightened stress. Dandelion root and milk thistle are well known for their liver cleaning properties. Red clover, burdock root, evening primrose oil and seaweeds are beneficial to the follicular phase and are detoxifying and protective of toxic xenoestrogens from the environment. Red clover and marshmallow can increase cervical mucous around ovulation and vertex. Yin yang huo or horny goat weed is effective for increasing the LH surge.
Luteal balancing herbs tend to benefit yang energy and progesterone. You guy wan is the Chinese herbal medicine that is most often used. Warming herbs such as cinnamon and ginger are gentle and can help to increase overall BBT. Stronger western herbs such as vitex, wild yam, schisandra, maca, ginseng and all other adaptogenic herbs should be used in chronic luteal weakness. Due to interdependence between yin and yang or the follicular and luteal phases, strengthening one phase will often have an effect on the opposite phase. Using the BBT and tracking your cycle over several months will give you an indication of which herbs are having an effect on your cycle and in what way.