Hormones prompt many of the next developmental stages in life.
Adolescence is the period during which boys begin to become men and girls begin to become women. Girls start to menstruate, their bodies preparing for pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. Boys’ bodies begin to change shape, their voices break, and they begin to grow facial hair.
Hormones drive all these changes.
Plants contain many hormones, and their use has a full, rich history.
There is still a vast amount of scientific research to be done on the world’s hundreds of hormonal herbs, but it is known that the same herb can often affect men and women in varying ways in different situations.
They mostly contain saponins, which have a steroidal effect on the body, acting as building blocks that can be converted by the body to the exact requirements that are needed. Sometimes these hormonal herbs increase
or decrease the output of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus, while other times have a more broad-spectrum effect on the entire endocrine system.
What follows is a summary of the current knowledge regarding the three main male and female hormones, about which science is constantly discovering more enlightening revelations.
functions of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in the body
• guides the young female from fetus to babyhood to womanhood, partially explaining why girls behave like girls (such as playing nurturing games) and why eventually they grow breasts and develop higher voices and broader hips.
• helps in the growth of the endometrial tissue, which forms a “nest” for a fertilized egg. It is the fertility hormone.
• helps to relax blood vessel walls and aids circulation and tone in the genital tract. This relaxation causes cervical secretions that are inviting to the sperm.
• helps to retain bone calcium.
• needs to be balanced in order to prevent dramatic mood swings, painful cramping in menstruation, and more problems in later womanhood. A joyful woman has balanced estrogen.
• levels increase after menstruation and ovulation, then decrease premenstrually. Although this hormone is present throughout the whole cycle, premenstrually it can surge and decrease.
• produced excessively creates an imbalance in the production of a hormone called aldosterone, which in turn disturbs water balance in the body, resulting in swelling and tenderness of the breasts, stomach,
and ankles. Excessive estrogen will lower progesterone levels and cause a chemical imbalance in the brain involving the hormones, adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine. It will also cause poor metabolism of some vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids and will overstimulate the body, causing paranoia, anxiety, palpitations, hot and cold sweats, shaking, and lowered blood sugar.
• a deficiency interferes with the successful breakdown of tryptophan and other mood-balancing and mood-enhancing chemicals in the brain. Menopausal symptoms can reflect this problem but also others,
including loss of bone density, lack of vaginal secretions, and many more.
• appears in great concentration, together with other steroid hormones, whenever the body is damaged by physical trauma, chemical action, or illness. This estrogen surge possibly serves as a stimulus or catalyst for cellular growth and body repair.
• encourages the development of female hormones in pubescent girls.
• is the precursor of the other sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone.
• is the predominant hormone in the second phase of the menstrual cycle, acting to maintain any fertilized eggs.
• mainly prepares for and supports pregnancy (in fact, the word progesterone is derived from Latin words meaning “supporting gestation”).
Without it, spontaneous abortion can take place. It is vital for the survival of the embryo and fetus throughout gestation.
• protects against breast fi brocysts and endometrial and breast cancers.
• is a natural diuretic and can alleviate a premenstrual bloated feeling.
• helps use fat for energy: fat is built by estrogen, progesterone works to balance this production.
• is a natural antidepressant—lack of it will bring on apathy, sluggishness, and depression. But an excessive amount of progesterone may also cause depression, lack of concentration, and weepiness.
• helps thyroid action and resulting energy levels.
• normalizes blood clotting. If clots are seen during menstruation, progesterone herbs will help.
• helps normalize blood sugar levels; often premenstrual sugar cravings mean that there is too little progesterone available.
• normalizes zinc and copper levels, which are especially vital for the immune system.
• stimulates bone growth, which is vital for the development of children and to prevent osteoporosis in later life.
• is the precursor of cortisone synthesis by the adrenal cortex, which is essential for sustaining the balance of the adrenal glands. Cortisone in turn directly supports the thyroid.
• restores proper cell oxygen levels and therefore helps concentration and, in particular, mental agility.
• is vital during menopause just as much as estrogen for the balance of hormones.
• is produced primarily by the testes in the male body. The testes lie dormant throughout infancy and early childhood until the onset of puberty, at which time the male organs enlarge. If levels are low during the development of the fetus, the testes will not descend properly, if at all. The development of sperm may also be adversely affected.
• causes aggression—which, when channeled correctly, is a major human survival mechanism.
• promotes hair growth on the face, abdomen, pubis, chest, and armpits and increases laryngeal development, which lowers the adult male voice.
• increases the protein content of muscles, bones, and skin.
• encourages the development of male hormones in pubescent boys