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Herbs Shown to be Helpful in Treatment of PCOS

On : 09 February, 2013

In : PCOS , Polycystic Ovary Syndrome



Licorice belongs to a group of herbs known as adaptogens. They are herbs used during times of increased stress or convalescence to help the body cope with extreme changes. The effects of licorice in the body are diverse and include: antibacterial, anti-viral, demulcent or soothing qualities, antioxidant, and cholesterol and blood pressure-lowering. Glycerrhiza glabra, its more formal name, also mimics the action of cortisol in the body. Licorice has been combined with peony in a clinically studied formula that demonstrated testosterone-lowering and ovulation-inducing effects in women with PCOS. The study was published in the March/April 1994 issue of the International Journal of Fertility and Menopausal Studies, K. Takahashi.


The Chinese herb, Peonia lactiflora helps in the treatment of gynecological conditions. Although frequently used and studied in China and Japan as an ingredient in complex traditional Chinese formulas, much of the herbs biological influence has been attributed to the constituent, paeoniflorin. Paeoniflorin is able to reduce levels of androgens, in a dose dependent manner. By reversing the body’s inhibition aromotase activity, in fat cells, the ovaries and hair follicles, peony can reduce the visible and systemic effects of excess testosterone. The aromatase enzyme is responsible for converting androgens into estrogens. It is widely distributed around the body, so by stimulating the activity of this enzyme, androgen levels are reduced and estrogen levels are increased. This can prove helpful in women with PCOS, as they are known to have lower than normal levels of estrogens as well.

Goat’s Rue

Goat’s rue, known more formally as Galega officinalis is the original source of the substance guanidine. Guanidine is the active ingredient in anti-diabetic drug class known as biguanides. Metformin, a drug belonging to the biguanide medication group, is commonly prescribed to women with PCOS. By controlling chronically high blood sugar levels, balancing insulin levels, and encouraging fat loss, Metformin consequently affects the levels of testosterone in women. The article, “Metformin,” published by Clifford Bailey, Ph.D., in the New England Journal of Medicine, details that goat’s rue was used to synthesize drugs like Metformin in the 1920’s. Goat’s Rue is still used by traditional herbalists today.


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