The decision to have a child is a big step in one’s life. However, in some cases, this decision can be met with some challenges. To ensure you will be able to have children, it is essential to nourish and support your reproductive system.
There are many ways to support reproductive health—eliminating hormone-disrupting toxins from your diet and lifestyle, eating a nutrient-rich diet, exercising regularly, keeping your stress levels low, and getting proper sleep. However, one of the best ways to support your reproductive health and improve fertility is with the help of using natural herbs for fertility.
In this article, we will discuss some of the best herbs for fertility.
What Is Fertility?
Fertility is the natural ability to conceive or induce conception. Infertility is the inability to achieve a viable pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, infertility affects up to 15% of couples. (1) Infertility can happen in both men and women.
What Affects Fertility?
Many different factors can affect fertility in men and women. However, some of the top causes of infertility in men include:
- Abnormal sperm production or function due to genetic defects, health problems or infections.
- Problems with the delivery of sperm due to sexual problems, genetic diseases, structural problems, or injury to reproductive organs
- Environmental factors such as pesticide exposure, radiation, cigarette smoking, alcohol, marijuana, steroids, and certain medications
Some of the top causes of infertility in women include:
- Ovulation disorders caused by hormonal imbalances, eating disorders, or health problems
- Uterine or cervical abnormalities
- Fallopian tube damage or blockage, often caused by inflammation or sexually transmitted infections
- Endometriosis, a condition in which cells similar to the lining of the uterus, or endometrium, grow outside the uterus.
- Early menopause (primary ovarian insufficiency)
- Pelvic adhesions
- Environmental factors such as pesticide exposure, radiation, hormone-disrupting chemicals etc. (2)
Many factors can affect fertility or lead to infertility, and not all cases can be corrected. In many cases, however, fertility can be enhanced through dietary, lifestyle, or surgical procedures (in the case of structural issues). In addition, certain herbs may be very helpful for improving fertility in men and women.
Best Herbs for Fertility
Among the best herbs for fertility problems, some are universal and may improve fertility in both men and women. Others are more specific to either men or women. After all, the reproductive system characterizes the most significant difference in men and women biologically, so it is no surprise that specific herbs have specific effects on the different reproductive systems. Below, we will discuss the top herbs good for fertility in men and women.
Best Herbs for Female Fertility
The best herbs for female fertility include:
Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus), also known as vitex, is an incredible herb native to the Mediterranean that has many benefits for women’s health. Compounds in chasteberry appear to affect certain women’s hormones associated with pregnancy. (3) Prolactin, for example, is a hormone produced in the pituitary gland whose primary functions involve pregnancy and breast milk production. Studies on chasteberry show that it may increase prolactin levels in women, making it one of the best herbs for fertility and pregnancy. (3)
Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is another excellent herb for fertility in women. This herb has been used as a reproductive tonic for centuries, and modern research has found that compounds in red clover may help to increase circulation to reproductive organs. (4) Improved circulation to the ovaries and uterus allows them to work at their peak.
Black cohosh (Actaea racemose), also known as black bugbane, is a flowering plant native to North America that has many benefits for women’s hormonal health. Research on black cohosh indicates that it may improve fertility by inducing the hypothalamus to reduce the release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which is associated with better ovulation and implantation rates. (5)
Additional Herbs for Female Fertility
Some additional herbs associated with improved fertility in women include:
- Wild yam
- Evening primrose
- Cramp bark
- Licorice root
- Schizandra berry
- Dong quai
Among the possible causes of infertility in women, blocked fallopian tubes are one potential cause. While this may be structural (and would require surgery to repair in this case), there are certain fertility herbs for blocked tubes as well. Dong quai, mugwort, ginger, and ginseng are herbs commonly used for unblocking fallopian tubes.
Best Herbs for Male Fertility
The best herbs for male fertility include:
Maca (Lepidium meyenii, also known as Peruvian ginseng, is an herb native to the mountainous regions of Peru. It has many benefits for male health, and compounds in maca root may improve fertility in men. Studies have found that men who take maca have been shown to have increased semen volume, increased sperm counts, and enhanced sperm motility. (6) Maca root is considered one of the best herbs for male fertility and sperm health.
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a famous male tonic often used for prostate health. It may also help to increase male fertility. Sperm production in men is guided by the testosterone hormone. Insufficient testosterone production in men results in a low sperm count. Research on saw palmetto has found that it increases male fertility by affecting the balance of free testosterone in the body. (7)
Shilajit is a mineral-rich resin that exudes from the high Himalayan mountains. It has formed over millions of years from the decomposition of plants and organic matter and is a rich source of minerals and fulvic acid. Shilajit has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine as a tonic for energy and sexual health. Research on shilajit has shown that it may help increase testosterone production in men, which may also improve male fertility. (8) However, many unprocessed forms of shilajit have been found to be contaminated with heavy metals like lead. So, it is crucial to ensure you get a high-quality purified shilajit supplement tested for heavy metals. Shilajit is known to be a potent health tonic, but like with all supplements, you want to make sure it is of optimal quality.
Additional Herbs for Male Fertility
Some additional herbs associated with improved fertility in men include:
- Tongkat ali
- Tribulus terrestris
- Ginkgo biloba
- Licorice Root
- Schizandra berry
Herbs That Support Fertility in Both Men and Women
Some of the herbs that have been shown to support fertility in both men and women include:
- Schizandra berry
- Ginkgo biloba
- Licorice Root
Natural Ways to Support Fertility
While herbs may be very beneficial for enhancing fertility in men and women, it is also essential to take a holistic approach that incorporates dietary and lifestyle factors. Some of the best tips for improving fertility naturally include:
- Avoiding toxic chemicals in your diet or environment like pesticides, hormone-disrupting chemicals (often found in plastics), and harmful chemical additives in food, hygiene, and beauty products
- Eating a healthy, nutrient-rich diet based on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and well-sourced animal products
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly (but avoid overexercising, as this has been shown to affect fertility in women)
- Prevent sexually transmitted infections by following safe sex practices
- Manage your stress and avoid chronic stress
Fertility is a measure of your ability to conceive or induce conception. For many who decide to have children, infertility in either partner can be an obstacle. Unfortunately, infertility cannot always be fixed, depending on the cause of it. However, there are, thankfully, many ways to improve fertility naturally in both men and women. Some of the best natural tools for improving fertility are herbs with specific compounds that affect fertility.
In addition to using herbs for fertility, it is vital to take a holistic approach that addresses dietary, lifestyle, and environmental factors. If you are struggling with infertility or have any concerns about fertility, be sure to consult your doctor for the best medical advice.