We get asked a lot of questions about A Little Fertili-tea – “How long does it take to work?” “I have [endometriosis / PCOS / anovulatory cycles / hormonal imbalance], will it work for me?” “Can I drink it while receiving ART or IVF?”
There is no short or straightforward answer to these questions, other than to start off by saying everyone is different. We each have a unique set of health, lifestyle, mind and body factors, some of which we may be aware of, others which may remain unexplained.
Fertility is a complex area with a lot of questions and few answers. Over the last 20 years it has received a lot of modern medicine attention and research. Modern medicine techniques and philosophies tend to comprise a “reductionist” approach – this means the focus is at the cellular and molecular level to examine the tiniest building blocks of life, their formation, the pathologies and how to fight symptoms of disease. However, in doing this, many of these approaches may not fully consider the whole person – the bigger picture. What isn’t being researched in fertility a whole lot is the efficacy of a balanced or holistic approach – looking at how all of the systems work together (in addition to a modern medicine approach). Traditional medicine takes a step back to consider the person as a whole and how natural approaches can help restore the body to equilibrium, foster wellbeing and strength, in order for the body to be strong enough to able to fend off disruptions and function the way it is meant to. The focus is not on the expression or symptoms of disease, but instead on restoring strength and equilibrium to achieve and maintain health and wellbeing.
Herbology is a core part of traditional medicine, and herbal teas and blends (infusions) have been used for centuries all around the world in various medicinal approaches, from uses in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic practices, to uses by the Ancient Romans and Greeks, Egyptians, and Native Americans to name but a few. In these ancient times, herbalism and medicine was interchangeable, and it is these practices from which modern medicine was born and derived.
The herbs in A Little Fertili-tea are no different in that they have been used for centuries to help restore, balance and maintain women’s reproductive health. We mentioned earlier that investment is primarily in modern medicine treatments, and traditional medicine including herbs has taken a back seat, having to rely on anecdotal evidence. However, increasingly so, we are seeing more and more studies and reviews of evidence examining the efficacy of traditional medicinal approaches. This is a step forward for natural medicine in Western countries where modern medicine approaches tend to dominate, and are perceived to be the gold standard. Let’s look a little more closely at the (all certified organic) core ingredients of A Little Fertili-tea: Raspberry Leaf, Nettle Leaf, Chasteberry, Dandelion Root, Shatavari Root and Motherwort, and what the scientific evidence (where it’s been collected) says about each.
Historical uses of red raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus) include prevention of miscarriage by strengthening the luteal phase of the cycle (the latter phase), promoting a strong uterine lining and reducing premenstrual symptoms such as cramping and nausea. (1,2) Uterine tone is thought to be provided by the phyto-progestogen qualities the leaves have, (i.e. naturally occurring plant derived chemicals that increase the levels of progesterone in the body which is essential to sustain and healthy pregnancy). In a scientific review of research published in 2018, the author says “Red raspberry leaf has been used as a uterine tonic and general pregnancy tea for at least two centuries. Although this botanical is often mistakenly recommended to induce labor, its actual role is to increase blood flow to the uterus and aid the uterine muscle fibers in more organized contraction.”
Red raspberry leaves are also rich in vitamins and minerals (including B vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and iron), as well as containing vast amounts of antioxidants (3,4), necessary for a healthy reproductive system preparing for pregnancy.
Studies show that nettle leaf (Urtica dioica) supports liver detoxification – a core process related to success in fertility. Nettle leaf has been found to protect the liver against toxins (5,6), and a rich source of minerals and iron (7), which is particularly important for women with irregular or heavier menstruation.
Nutritionist Donovan Grant explains “Chlorophyll is a detox agent, so when consumed regularly it helps to clean the body, which improves the chance of an egg being fertilised and sustained to maturity. The plant is also rich in iron, calcium, and vitamins A, C, D and K, so it's used as a general tonic by many.”
Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus) has been used since Ancient Greece as a traditional remedy providing relief for conditions affecting the reproductive system.
Recent studies show that chasteberry can alleviate symptoms of PMS and menopause (9,10), and plays a role in balancing hormones, acting on the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis (hormonal feedback loop). In regulating and balancing hormones, it has been found to improve timing and regularity of the menstrual cycle (11,12,13,14,15).
Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale) is known for its remarkable ability to prepare the body for conception by clearing fertility pathways. Its primary function encourages bile production and speeds up the elimination of toxins and wastes in the liver (16), such as hormone disrupting chemicals that negatively affect fertility. It also contains chicoric acid (regulates insulin release and glucose uptake) and inulin (a prebiotic soluble fibre which has been found to lower and regulate blood sugar), both of these compounds work to optimise blood sugar and digestive pathways (17,18). Dandelion root also contains polyphenol anti-oxidants and the anti-oxidant beta-carotene which provide protection against oxidative stress and cellular damage (19). Lastly, dandelion root provides the body with essential nutrients needed to optimise fertility.
Shatavari root (Asparagus racemosus), has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine for its far reaching diverse benefits and properties. It aids in the regulation of oestrogen levels thereby promoting regular menstrual cycles and relieves stress-related fertility issues (20), while also supporting fertility as an anti-inflammatory agent and anti-oxidant (21). Recent studies have identified the presence of a new anti-oxidant racemofuran, in addition to the two known anti-oxidants asparagamine A and racemosol (22), which help combat oxidative stress. Studies also show additional benefits from shatavari in relieving anxiety and depression; very important when experiencing fertility issues and/or during fertility treatment (23,24).
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) supports fertility by reducing uterine muscle spasm, cramping and improving uterine tone (25,26). Studies have also shown it can alleviate anxiety and depression (27,28), which is of vital importance during tough times of investigating one’s fertility issues.
Remember, it’s not about finding a magic tea, or a magic pill or the perfect doctor (although we all wish it was this simple). Your fertility journey will likely require to you invest time and consistency into restoring your body’s vitality and its efficient use of the energy it produces to achieve overall health and wellbeing through a number of ways – A Little Fertili-tea being one of them. And all we can say is that it will all be worth it.
Please note: We believe that traditional medicine has a place, and this may be hand in hand with modern medicine. When tackling the unknown, why not arm yourself with as many tools in your toolbelt as you can? However, while many specialists advocate for this, if you're seeking fertility assistance from a health professional or specialist, consult your specialist before consuming A Little Fertili-tea. There are a range of different perspective of the benefits of integrative health approaches, and your specialist will have data and insights into your unique circumstances and the best treatment pathway for you.
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