A Virginia woman who treats her hormonal health issues with herbs and plants says she’s “never felt better.”
Ash Ruiz, 27, suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal imbalance that affects one in 10 women of childbearing age in the US, irregular menstrual cycles, ovarian cysts, and excessive levels of male sex hormones. , which can cause abnormal hair. growth.
She tried birth control and “tons” of pharmaceutical treatments, but turned to alternative medicine after taking medical botany classes in college, using plants such as echinacea for digestion and mullein for bronchitis.
Mrs. Ruiz states: “I feel more in balance with myself.”
She’s not the only one experimenting with natural remedies. Figures show that nearly a third of Americans have tried some form of alternative medicine, including herbs and acupuncture.
Ash Ruiz, 27, a Virginia herbalist, turned to alternative medicine after taking medical botany classes in college. He now uses them to treat his polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Ms. Ruiz was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome at age 14 and had been taking birth control to regulate her menstrual cycle.
However, when she tried raspberry leaf tea and chasteberry vitex, an extract from the Mediterranean chasteberry plant, she said she felt “like myself again.”
Ms. Ruiz claims that these remedies, which also include red clover and nettle tea, rebalanced her hormones, calmed her anxiety, helped her irregular periods, and relieved her headaches.
He said that since he tried these remedies, he will “never go back” to using only traditional medicines.
“I’ve been on tons of different medications from a young age, but I feel more in balance with myself now,” she said.
“I was prescribed birth control from a young age and now I am constantly trying to find natural ways to regulate my hormones.”
Ms. Ruiz was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome after her parents took her to a gynecologist for her irregular menstrual cycles. When she was a teenager, she would go up to four months without having her period. Her scans revealed “many” cysts on her ovaries.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal disorder that affects one in 10 American women of childbearing age, according to the U.S. Office on Women’s Health. It causes the ovaries to produce excessive amounts of androgen, the male sex hormone, due to the formation of cysts along the outer edges of the organ.
This leads to irregular menstrual cycles, abnormal hair growth, acne, obesity, hair loss and infertility.
Doctors prescribed contraceptives for Ms. Ruiz, which she took for about seven years.
“None of us knew any better, so when they put me on birth control, I just took it, and it was horrible from then on,” she said.
“I used to have migraines, irregular periods, weight gain, anxiety… so many symptoms, the list goes on.”
“And contraceptives made things worse: I didn’t feel like myself.”
Herbs chosen by Ms. Ruiz to relieve PCOS symptoms include vitex chasteberry, St. John’s wort, and raspberry leaf tea.
Ms. Ruiz says that herbal remedies make her feel “like herself again” and that she will “never go back” to using only traditional medicine.
In 2017, Ms. Ruiz began studying medical botany at Virginia Commonwealth University.
He liked how “different” it seemed from other areas of study and dedicated all his research to St. John’s wort, a plant used to treat depression, burns and cuts, among other conditions.
“From then on, I felt like it had to be that way,” he said.
‘Anyway I was trying a juice cleanse for my PCOS symptoms. In reality, everything is united.
Shortly after trying herbal remedies, he noticed his anxiety disappearing, which made him think, “This is the real thing.”
“I saw a huge improvement in my energy levels, as fatigue was also one of my symptoms,” he said.
“I have seen such drastic improvements in my cycle: my periods are more frequent and there is much less pelvic pain and discomfort.”
Six years later, Ms. Ruiz studies herbalism and also runs a medicinal herb business.
Her preferred herbs for relieving PCOS symptoms include vitex chasteberry, St. John’s wort, and raspberry leaf tea.
“I would tell anyone to try raspberry leaves for hormones,” he said. “Even pregnant women.”
“Some people prefer to take it as a tincture, but I always steep it in hot water and make a tea.”
“It’s a uterine tonic, meaning it helps tone and strengthen the uterus; although I had extremely irregular periods with PCOS, when I did get it, it was very heavy and painful.”
Chasteberry, also known as vitex agnus-castus, has been shown in some studies to increase fertility and reduce symptoms of hormonal conditions such as menopause. However, much of the research is unclear.
For example, a 2015 study in the journal International Immunopharmacology found that an active compound in the plant, called Casticin, could reduce inflammation in animals. However, the study also found that over-the-counter medications like aspirin work just as well.
St. John’s wort is a European plant with yellow star-shaped flowers. Some research has suggested that it can help reduce symptoms of mild to moderate depression, but there is no evidence to show that it can treat more severe forms.
Raspberry leaf tea is a tea made from raspberry leaves. It can also be taken in pill form. Some studies suggest it can be used to speed up labor and reduce pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, although there is no solid evidence.