EPISODE 37 | WHAT TCM HAS TO SAY ABOUT YOUR CYCLE | PT 1 Timing, Length & Temperatures

I was listening to other podcasts as I often do, and one happened to be about the basics of TCM diagnosis. It dawned on me that I have yet to demystify this system of medicine that I love so much.  Today’s podcast is my attempt to explain some basic diagnostic terms in TCM, especially how they relate to your menstrual cycle and your fertility.

I believe that symptoms are God’s gift when it comes to figuring out what exactly is going on in your body. This reigns especially true when it comes to trying to figure out what exactly is happening internally when it comes to your fertility. If you’ve noticed subtle changes in your menstrual cycle in regards to timing, length or amount of bleeding and have wondered if this effects your fertility or how to rebalance it, this episode is for you. If you’ve ever had acupuncture and wondered what the heck your practitioner was referring to when they mentioned you had Kidney Yin Deficiency or Liver Qi stagnation, this episode is also for you. If you have considered getting acupuncture, but never really understood how it could help your fertility, this episode is for you. If you just want to know what your BBT or AVA charts mean through a lease of TCM and what to do about it, this episode is definitely for you. 

 

The Eight Principles (辩证) are:

1. Yin: Yin, along with Yang, is the most general classification for pattern diagnosis and it describes the relationship between the other three pairs of the Principles. Generally speaking, Yin is Cold and the fluids of the body.

2. Yang: Yang, along with Yin is used to describe the relationship between the other three pairs of the Principles. For example, Heat is Yang or the energy / Qi of the body. 

3. Interior: Interior describes diseases that manifest themselves in the Zang-fu organs or deep inside the body, such as Qi, blood, and bone marrow. In menstrual terms, this may mean scanty menses,  late menarche, or erratic cycles in general. 

4. Exterior: Exterior describes diseases that manifest themselves on surface of the body, such hair, skin, nails, and meridians. In menstrual terms, this may mean the symptoms of external pathogen that has invaded the body, like an STD that presents with a rash.

5. Heat: Heat describes the absence of an aversion to Cold. In menstrual terms, it can mean BBTs above 98.2, high temps above 97.2 in the follicular phase that provoke early ovulation, or cramps that do not respond to a heating pad. 

6. Cold: Cold describes an aversion to Cold. In menstrual terms, we see it as low BBT temps, dark blood with pain, or menstrual cramping that responds to a heating pad.

7. Deficiency: Deficiency is used to describe a vacuity in Qi, blood (Xue) or body fluids (Jinye).  In menstrual health we see it as cramping that gets worse as the period goes on, low temps on a BBT, short luteal cycles meaning Kidney Yang Deficiency or short follicular cycles meaning Kidney Yin Deficiency.

8. Excess: Excess is generally classified as any disease that can't be identified as a Deficiency pattern. Usually, it means that one of the Six Excesses is present. In menstrual health we may see it is as STD, yeast infections, bacterial infections,  growths (like fibroids), certain types of PCOS that involve the concept of phlegm and dampness, or even in certain presentations of endometriosis. 

It’s important to decipher if an imbalance is truly excess or deficiency because it will often mean completely different herbal preparations to balance the body. 

 

After a basic diagnosis of the diseases is given via the Eight Principles, the diagnostic continues and focuses on more specific conditions. After evaluating the present symptoms, a person’s condition is further evaluated as to how the specific entities (Qi, meridians, Zang-fu, etc.) are affected. This where we start to get into concepts like stagnation. You may hear about blood stasis or Liver Qi stagnation, where flow is disrupted. We still have to use the above pillars to decide if it stagnated due to deficiency or excess, but knowing what organ it is affecting by asking questions helps us to target the herbal formula to a greater degree and ensure the system is balanced. 

Causes of Imbalances

Traditional Chinese Medicine does not strongly differentiate between the cause and effect of a disease. However, there are three major categories that are considered to give rise to disease. The three major categories of disease causes are:

1. External: Disease caused by the Six Excesses. These have to do with the environment in which we live,  too much cold, too hot of environment, too damp of an environment, too dry of environment. For example; I reside in South Florida and it’s currently August at the time of this taping. It isn’t just hot out, it’s downright slimy. For a male that has worked outside all day, he might be exposing himself to super high temperatures all day long and  that could drastically affect his quality and count of sperm. 

2. Internal: Disease caused the by Seven Emotions or Seven Affects: Anger, Fear, Anxiety, Fright, Grief, Pensiveness, and Joy. These are said to affect the Zang-fuorgans. Constant high stress without a constant relaxation response have been shown to negatively impact sperm and egg health as well as ovulation.

3. Other Irregularities: Disease caused by something that is neither external nor internal, such as having unbalanced diet, damage done by parasites or in this day & age- toxins. In modern day you could think of this as the quality of the food we eat, and what toxins we are exposed to including those we slather on our skin in our beauty products. This is often the one cause of imbalance that we have the most control over. 

Timing Matters and How Do You Time a Cycle Anyways?

Ideally a menstrual cycle (from the start of one period to the next) is 28 days, the same as a lunar cycle. It's not uncommon for cycles to shift in accordance to new moons, full moons, changing time zones with travel, or with extreme stress or changes in diet, but when it comes to your fertility, the length can have a huge impact, in some cases it can decrease your chances of conceiving by up to 50%. 

Length Matters

Length of your cycle as well as how long you bleed for equally matter but for different reasons.  

Three main consequences of shorter cycles include lower egg quality, inability to sustain a pregnancy, and early ovulation.

Temperature matters

Most couples are shocked when they have a miscarriage. They are often even more shocked when they find out the chances of having one for any healthy couple is 30%. The good news is, that by simply tracking your basal body temperatures and waiting to conceive the following cycle after a "healthy" one is detected you can drop your chances of miscarriage to less than 5%.

* healthy cycle means having an average of 97.2 BBT in the follicular stage of the cycle and an average of 98.2 BBT in the luteal cycle, with a mid-cycle ovulation and a luteal phase lasting at least 10 days.

Did you know that you could get the same custom herbal formulas I use with my acupuncture
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Links to take you further

Episode about Cervical Mucus

LadyPotions.com/episode27

Artofacu-stpete.com

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16357595

Disclaimer :

You must not rely on the information in this podcast as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website or in this podcast.

EPISODE 36 | MINI MINDFUL MOMENT | Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Mini Mindful Moments- Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Have you ever had the experience where you go to get a massage or acupuncture or maybe even a pedicure, and you have no idea that you are holding stress in your body until the practitioner starts working on you, and it hurts sooo good and you are suddenly aware of 

A. how stressed you are

B. that something hurts that you didn’t even realize 

C. how disconnected you are from your body

I have, guilty as charged. It happens, I get caught up in my to do lists or the occasional over extension of myself and I show up at one of my bi- monthly scheduled self care appointments and I’m suddenly aware that I am way more stressed than I thought. I see this happen all the time in my clinic with my fertility patients. I ask them if they have any pain or discomfort and they reply, I’m fine. Often times I will start with a technique of cupping to help relieve tension in the neck and back and as soon as I lay my hands on them, I can feel the knots. Sometimes I can see the tension in their necks, just by how they are holding themselves. So if this sounds like you, today’s exercise is going to help you get out of your head and into your body. It’s call PMR or progressive muscle relaxation. It’s great for people that live in their heads. It distracts them just long enough to reconnect with their precious body. Now if you have an acute or chronic pain you may want to skip that body or go lightly with it when we get there, as this technique involves tensing the muscle first and then relaxation. It’s kind of like tricking your muscles into relaxing, especially when you feel like you no longer know how to. So even if you’ve done this one before, do it with me. Sometimes its super nice to just let someone else guide you and really get you out of your head. 



EPISODE 34 | MINI MINDFUL MOMENT | Mindfulness 101

How do you set the tone for mindfulness & actually practice it?

Whether you are doing something prolific like making love, or something mundane like the dishes get in the habit of asking yourself these questions and then observing the answer you come up with, without judgment. 

What do I hear?

What do I feel?

What do I smell?

What do I see?

What do I taste?

Try it with me, wherever you are, whatever you are doing ask yourself these simple questions. Drop into the present moment and quit entertaining your past or your worries about the future. 

By taking the time to ask yourself these questions and thoughtfully responding, you allow yourself to me more fully engaged in the activity and deepen your experience.

Even though it is a practice that is seemingly more mental than following the breath because we are entertaining your mind, it really allows you to drop out of your head and into your body. 

It allows you take a break from what’s going on in your head, which chances are is the same conversation with yourself on repeat, and I’m willing to bet it’s probably not saying anything you would repeat to someone outloud. 

So if you want to change the way you feel, you have to start paying attention to what is really happening in the moment and not what your repetitious thoughts would like you to believe. 

It's so simple. 

You just have to commit to doing it! 

Let's get mindful together. 

Join me in the 29 Day Fertility Meditation Challenge- Begins August 26th


EPISODE 31 | REAL FOOD FOR REAL PREGNANCY w/ Lily Nichols RDN, CDE

How to Feel Good, Build a Healthy Baby and Avoid Gestational Diabetes

Description: Today we welcome Lily Nichols, Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator,  researcher and an author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition and exercise. Lily draws from the current scientific literature and blends it with the wisdom of traditional culture and nature. We talk about the Western expectation of women managing it all directly after pregnancy and giving birth, and Lily’s prescription for healing and self-care. She shares how she began backing philosophy with results and clinical data to author two of her groundbreaking books, Real Food for Gestational Diabetes and Real Food for Pregnancy. She also gives some of her top picks for pregnancy food, embracing mindfulness, and how she feeds her family for months at a time using only two animals. Let your intuition guide you, and then use Lily’s book to prove these decisions with scientifically proven data.

Get the first chapter of Real Food for Pregnancy Free

To share your own fertility story, please email me at hillary@ladypotions.com. I look forward to connecting with you, as you are what this podcast is all about.

 

Takeaway:

[2:26] Lily wrote Real Food for Pregnancy when her son was 10 months old, and she herself was healing from pregnancy and birth.

[3:48] Lily encourages prioritizing food and self-care at all stages of pregnancy, including the preventative stage prior, and the fourth trimester, the postpartum months.

[7:38] It was almost by accident that Lily got into the nutrition field. She was looking for a part-time role in the nutrition field that did not include a hospital, saw an opening for California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program and starting working clinically in Gestational Diabetes. As she implemented the nutrition element of the protocol in the clinic, she noticed a lack of improvement. The common sense side of her observed the current guidelines didn’t emphasize real foods, and were pretty high-carb.

[8:47] Women with Gestational Diabetes are often not able to tolerate large amounts of carbs without elevated blood sugar. These findings led Lily down the path of researching a low carb and nutrient dense diet from real foods. She started using it clinically and knew she was on to something with excellent results. This led her to author her first book, Real Food for Gestational Diabetes. This changed the course of how many viewed their philosophy in the nutrition and pregnancy field.

[14:38] Lily comes at the information from a proactive and informed outcome, not a fear-based one.

[18:12] Lily shares some sample meal plans compared to the current recommended ones, and the breakdown of the ratio between protein, carb, etc.

[21:20] Carbohydrates are in many vegetables and fruits.

[22:07] There is very little nutrition education for MD’s, and much of what they are learning is outdated. One example is the hesitancy for the low carb diet due to ketones in the urine. A ketogenic diet could be a safe option during pregnancy, as a woman’s body often dips into ketosis naturally during pregnancy.

[24:27] Organ meats and liver are the most nutrient dense parts of an animal. Supplying a high amount of iron, choline and B12, Lily supplies recipe ideas in her books on incorporating it dishes, so you aren’t eating a whole plate of just liver.

[35:07] When choosing animal products, Lily is a proponent of choosing the highest quality and best sourced meat. Nothing goes to waste and she encourages families to purchase from a farmer and utilize the whole animal.

[38:57] Even the most culinary-challenged person can develop basic skills to make a flavorful and nutritious meal.

[45:14] Lily gives us some good news — her opinion is that small amounts of caffeine are okay. A lot of the foods that are mentioned to avoid due to food borne illness are also ones that provide critical nutrients. She suggests eating foods sourced from high quality places, and the risk is extremely low. 

[52:58] Eating well is one of the ways we can be mindful in pregnancy. Mindful moments, spiritual self-care and moving our body are also key elements to keep our body aligned through the process. It’s not about pushing and resisting, it’s about being mindful and going with the flow in a gentle. guided way.

 

Continuing your journey:

Lily Nichols Blog

Real Food for Pregnancy- amazon

Real Food for Pregnancy — Get the First Chapter Free 

Gestational Diabetes info and course by Lily Nichols

Real Food for Gestational Diabetes

California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program

@lilynicholsrdn on Instagram

@ladypotions4u on Twitter

@ladypotions4u on Instagram

American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine

Disclaimer * 

You must not rely on the information in this podcast as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website or in this podcast.

EPISODE 14 | PLACENTAS, PUSHING & THE 4TH TRIMESTER | PT2 w/ Dawn Herring

Why we use our placenta, how to get labor going, and understanding when an intervention is medically necessary.

Description: We are thrilled to have the awesome Dawn Herring of Empowered Birth Series back as our guest today. Like myself, Dawn wants to change the conversation in labor to where it can unfold throughout the process and the woman finds it easier to trust her body through grounded knowledge and preparation. Every woman is different, every birth is different, and we are here to share our full-circle journeys to help empower and free us from an exact perception of what birth should look like. I talk with Dawn about the Bishop Score, placentas, and the importance of taking labels off any judgment of looking at any and all options during childbirth and conception. We hope our talk inspires you to allow what is and listen to your own body as a guide.


Takeaways

[7:16] Dawn shares how some of the complications of her own birth experience helped to heal her own judgment and expectations on how birth should be. Now she can provide information neutral and evidence-based.

[18:26] When discussing an intervention, it’s important to first check upon the health of mother and baby.

[19:10] Dawn discusses what a Bishop Score is, and how women can use it to their advantage as a powerful tool and dialogue to determine what type of intervention, if any, is appropriate.

[28:01] Dawn shares the tricks of encouraging labor to begin that she teaches in her Class 4. She is a huge fan of acupressure, herbs, a chiropractor trained in the Webster Technique, and nipple stimulation. It is very important to be in touch with your practitioner and/or midwife regarding these plans so everyone can be on board with the plan.

[35:44] Most women’s water breaks while they are in labor. If the water does break before labor, Dawn likes the use the COAT method to know what to look for: Color, Odor, Amount, and Time.

[46:53] Dawn and I both have seen a lot of information on the placenta, and discuss the possibility of eating your placenta. There have been thousands of years with research to back up that for the right situation it can be beneficial and healthy.

[57:30] Dawn’s last class talks about the 4th trimester which I think is so crucial. This is where every new mom really starts to doubt herself and I’ve seen education and grandmothers and friends make a huge difference at this stage in a woman’s life so I love that she broached this subject.

 

References:

Fertile Minds on LibSyn

Fertile Minds on iTunes

 

Continue Your Journey:

Bishop Score Research

Debra Betts — Acupuncture and Acupressure for Pregnancy and Childbirth

Placenta- buddha belly doula & placenta services

Acupressure App on google Play

More Placenta! Research

Episode 7 | Is Adrenal Fatigue Behind Your Infertility?

Treating Adrenal Fatigue Naturally to Restore Your Fertility for Both Males & Females

Description: In today’s episode we are talking all about burnout — how it happens, how to recover naturally, which herbs to take and why meditation helps. I will also cover how long it takes to fully recover, and why so many of us in our culture experience a higher level of stress than ever before. As we mentioned in previous episodes, our society puts an emphasis on “doing” rather than “being” and accomplishment rather than relaxation and rejuvenation. While both are necessary for a balanced and successful life, we’ve seen more cases of burnout and adrenal fatigue than ever before, and I wanted to tackle the subject of which herbs could help those of you who are just plain burned out. Today, I'll be going through the main adaptogens and highlighting their functions when it comes to treating fertility in both men and women, along with their general functions, so you can make an informed choice for your situation.

Takeaways

[:59] We have seen more cases of burnout and adrenal fatigue recently in my clinic due to the effects of Hurricane Irma.

[1:49] Burnout happens when you’ve pushed your stress response system past its limit of nightly repair. You’ve been ‘stretched’ for so long that you’ve actually started to put a strain on your body rather than simply being mentally fatigued. It begins to take a toll on your physicality and your reproductive hormones take a nosedive,  along with your immune system, energy, and cognitive repair mechanisms. Your brain starts saying, “I can’t let you keep pushing yourself like this anymore, so I’m going to basically send you into exhaustion and breakdown so you have no choice but to hit the brakes and pull over to the side of the road.”

[2:25] Dr. Hammer, my mentor, used to describe adrenal fatigue like this as a type of protective depression that comes over the body in order to force you to rest.

[3:32] Here are just some of the many common symptoms and health problems caused by adrenal burnout:

  • Blood sugar problems and insulin resistance, which is both prediabetes and hypoglycemia

  • Brain fog, concentration problems

  • Difficulty falling asleep (you feel “tired and wired”) or restless sleep

  • Digestive symptoms

  • Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  • Feeling stuck in the “on” position – overwhelmed and overdrive

  • Food cravings, especially for sugar, carbs, or fatty foods, and afternoon sugar or caffeine cravings

  • Frequent colds, infections

  • High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes

  • Hormonal imbalances, PMS, fertility problems, menopause symptoms

  • Inflammation, joint pain, fibromyalgia

  • Irritability, anxiety, or depression

  • Waking up tired in the morning

  • Weight gain (especially that “spare tire” or those “muffin tops”) due to cortisol being released

[5:49] Today I'll be talking exclusively about my favorite category of herbs called adaptogens to help you heal your adrenal fatigue and burnout. Adaptogens are a group of herbs that were first categorized with that name around the 1940s, though they’ve been used in traditional herbalism for thousands of years for their ability to improve stamina, fertility, and immunity, and as general tonics to promote longevity and well-being. Adaptogens help to regulate the hypothalamus and adrenal glands (your HPA axis), which are in charge of your stress response and cortisol production. In a stressful situation, adaptogenic herbs maintain and restore balance, normalizing your physiological response to prevent your body and mind from jumping into overdrive and becoming exhausted at every stressor. This protects your skin and body from the toll of stress and the damage of hormones like cortisol that stress releases.

[7:32] The herbs that I am discussing in this series all fall into the “generally regarded as safe” category, but that does not mean they are safe for everyone. There aren't many studies done with these herbs during pregnancy, and not all herbs are suitable for all people, so just something to keep in mind along your journey.

[8:28] Many herbs work synergistically with other herbs, so even though I am going to outline individual herbs in this series, keep in mind that most of them, if not all, are going to work best when they are combined with other compatible herbs. This is also an area where an herbalist's training and skill can take healing to a whole new level. That said, there is also value in the practice of “simpling,” where you focus on using just one single herb so you can intimately connect with its effects before using in a more powerful combination.

[9:06] While you'll start to feel improvements in as little as a week, I tell most patients to stay on them for 3-6 months and then come off and see how you feel. It all depends on how depleted you are and it takes some time to reverse damage from prolonged stress.

[10:45] Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is one of the most clinically researched adaptogens with widespread traditional uses. With the ability to aid in regulating the production of cortisol, it manifests anti-fatigue, anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant benefits. Rhodiola has been studied for the ability to reduce stress in night duty physicians and fight off the fatigue of students caused by stress during exams. Strong scientific evidence for Rhodiola Rosea SHR-5 extract exists in improving attention, cognitive function, and mental performance in fatigue and in chronic fatigue syndrome. Rhodiola extract helps promote a calm emotional state and supports strong mental performance, optimal immune function, and hormonal balance. If you've ever seen it in its raw form you immediately notice its light pink color and sweet rose scent. Its cooling nature helps to avoid jitteriness that can sometimes be a side effect of other adaptogens like ginseng. This is why I reach for Rhodiola when I'm trying to reduce anxiety in a patient. It also improves mental and physical stamina, improves sleep, and reduces, “burn out,” and irritability. It boosts the immune system, decreases the frequency of colds and infections, and reduces inflammation. It is used in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome as well as fibromyalgia. It can be beneficial for poor appetite and as part of a treatment plan for chronic stress headaches. It's helpful in the treatment of ADHD, especially when coupled with high doses of essential fatty acids like fish oil. Personally I have used it multiple times while climbing the Pyrenees to avoid altitude sickness. It works exceptionally well for this when combined with cordyceps, reishi mushroom, and holy basil. In Tibet, it's been used for eons before ascending Everest. If you are interested in coming to the Pyrenees with me next year, check out our retreats page for more info.

[14:02] This herb has been coveted and used as medicine by many over thousands of years.The ancient Chinese had such regard for this herb that they sent expeditions into Siberia to obtain it. Siberians also secretly transported it down to the Caucasian mountains where it was traded for wines, honey, and garlic. And newly married Siberian couples routinely receive bouquets of Rhodiola as a sentiment towards increasing fertility. In men it improves erectile dysfunction, low libido. In women it relieves amenorrhea and infertility caused by minor hormonal imbalances or stress. And because of its additional ability to control blood sugars, it can be useful in the treatment of Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).  

Dose: 200-400 mg in capsules or tablets daily OR 2-3 mL (40-60 drops) of tincture, in water, 2-3 times daily. As a decoration simmer 1-2 tsp with 8-10 oz water for 15 min covered for then steep for an additional 45 minutes. Strain and consume 1-3 cups per day as needed. Use products standardized to 2-3% rosavin and 0.8-1% salidroside and of the Rosea variety. You may take it as a fertility tea alone or with others in an easy to comply with pill mentioned below.

Cautions: Avoid if you have bipolar depression with manic behavior. Rarely it can cause insomnia in very sensitive people.

Adrenal Response by Innate 

Adrenal Response CC by Innate 

HPA Axis by Gaia

Cortisol Calm — paired with the next herb Ashwagandha

[15:42]  Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha, sometimes known as Indian ginseng, is one of the most commonly used adaptogen herbs in Ayurvedic healing to help balance and restore the body. Ashwagandha is a powerful calming agent, naturally lowering cortisol, reducing fatigue, balancing thyroid hormones and regulating immune function.

Ashwagandha has over 4,000 years of traditional use in India. It is considered both a food and a tonic medicine for improving energy, memory and learning, promoting libido, and preventing premature aging. Ashwagandha is calming and anti-inflammatory. It is used to improve sleep, reduce anxiety, improve memory, and reduce inflammation and oxidative stress (damage from inflammation). It boosts the immune system, is included in the treatment of arthritis, and can be beneficial in the treatment of fertility challenges.

It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine mixed with ghee and honey to treat low sperm count and sexual debility. In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that investigated a group of 46 male patients between 26 and 40 years of age who had low sperm count, between 5-20 million/ml. The group receiving the treatment were given 225 mg per day of a full spectrum root extract of ashwagandha. Ashwagandha root has also been used traditionally as an aphrodisiac and has been found in numerous studies to increase the secretion of testosterone in humans and animals.

Surprisingly, after just 90 days of therapy, the study found that the Ashwagandha group experienced a whopping 167% increase in the amount of sperm when compared to the control group. It was also found that the Ashwagandha group experienced a 57% increase in sperm motility. Serum testosterone also increased in this study by 17%, and LH (luteinizing hormone) by 54%. It is quite clear that ashwagandha is a tonic to the male reproductive system when the information from this study and previous studies are combined. It is for this reason that I recommend that women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome do NOT use Ashwagandha for stress, fertility or adrenal health (even though it is present in many fertility formulas for women). Women with PCOS already have high levels of male hormones and in theory, Ashwagandha could take the hormones the wrong way. It is thought that ashwagandha works not only through improving male hormone parameters but also by reducing stress. it is known that stress increases the amount of radical oxygen species that can damage the sperm. It can be helpful for a woman that is experiencing weakness from repeated heavy menstrual bleeding or recurrent miscarriage. One of my favorite fertility blends is Ashwagandha with holy basil and nettles for this indication.

[19:27] Aviva Romm suggests It’s suited for when you might say:

  • I’m tired and wired.

  • I struggle to fall asleep.

  • I have chronically achy and painful joints or arthritis.

  • I deal with memory and brain fog.

  • I’m nervous or anxious.

  • I have chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or chronic muscle tension.

Dose: 3 to 6 grams of the dried herb in capsule form daily OR 1 to 4 mL (20-80 drops) of tincture, in water, 3 times per day. Decoction: take 1/2 tsp dried root in 8 oz of water, simmer for 10 minutes, steep for an additional 30 min. Consume 4 oz 2-3 times a day as needed.

Cautions: Not for use in pregnancy; though not likely to be a problem, use cautiously if you are sensitive to plants in the nightshade family; avoid with pharmaceutical sedatives and pain medications. Avoid if you have hemochromatosis (excess iron). Avoid using if you have hyperthyroid.

[20:04] Holy Basil: The Vitalizer

Holy or “sacred” basil has been revered in India for over 5,000 years as an herb that calms the mind and spirit and promotes longevity. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is called Tulsi, which means “incomparable one.” It is used to improve energy and relieve fatigue, for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions, and to lower blood glucose, triglycerides, and cholesterol. Holy basil may also protect the liver, helps with nicotine withdrawal, and elevates the mood, especially providing relief from mild depression. While this herb is related to common basil, it is a different species and common basil is not a substitute. Not only is it used as a medicinal, it is sacred to the Hindu religion and is used in the morning prayers to ensure personal health, spiritual purity, and familial well-being. Strings of beads from the plant's stems are used in meditation to give clarity and protection, hence its name. Daily use of this herb is believed to help maintain the balance of the chakras of the body. It is acclaimed as possessing sattva (energy or purity) and as being capable of bringing on goodness, virtue, and joy.

Properties: adaptogens, antibacterial, antidepressant, antioxidant, antiviral, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, galactagogue (promotes the flow of breast milk), and immunomodulator.

Dose: 2-3 mL (40–60 drops) of tincture, in water, three times daily

Cautions: None known.

[22:32] Shatavari: The Hormonal Harmonizer, Queen of Women’s Adaptogens                            

Shatavari is considered the “Queen of Herbs” in Ayurvedic medicine, where it is beloved as one of the most powerful rejuvenating tonics for women. It is nourishing and calming, as well as hormonally balancing; it is used for irritability and many hormonal imbalances affecting the mood, for example, emotional symptoms of PMS and menopause. It is also used as a fertility tonic and may be used for vaginal dryness, low libido, and sleep problems and perimenopause. In addition, research suggests benefits for improving immunity, antioxidant activity, improved insulin secretion, reduction in gastric acidity, and the prevention of stress ulcers. It has mild estrogenic and cholesterol-lowering effects.

Dose: 2-4 mL (40-80 drops) of tincture, in water, 2-3 times daily

Cautions: Avoid if you have a history of estrogen-receptor positive cancer.

“Due to lack of safety data, I do not recommend adaptogens for use during pregnancy, however, they are considered safe for use while breastfeeding, and can help new moms to cope with the stress and demands of sleepless nights! I also do not recommend adaptogens if you are taking any medications that suppress the immune system, unless your doctor also approves, as there can be herb-drug interactions in this case.”

— Hillary Talbott

 

Continue Your Journey- Links, References & Citations:

Herbal Consult

You wouldn't take your car to the plumber to get it fixed so why wouldn't you consult an herbalist when looking for the safest natural fertility solution when you are trying to conceive? Customizing herbal blends and sourcing them from safe and reputable suppliers is what I do all day long every day and I want to help you and your partner feel better and conceive faster. With this option you will undergo the same evaluation I put my acupuncture patients through before prescribing anything. We will go over your history & your partner's history, current medications, past bbt's, and any past labs so you know you are receiving a custom herbal solution unique to you. 

EPISODE 6 | MASCULINE & FEMININE ENERGY | Erin Gray

Description: Hello and welcome to a fun and juicy episode, all about male and female energies. Today we will be answering the question: what’s the difference between these energies and why does it matter when it comes to conception? Our guest on today’s show is the lovely Erin Gray, mental health counselor and licensed massage therapist extraordinaire. We also talk about balancing the male / female energies, the cultural background of how we got here in the first place, what not to do, and solid examples you can try out today.

 

 

Takeaways:

[1:15] I invite you to join me in Sweden this summer at my Relax & Recharge Retreat in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Imagine doing daily yoga and meditation surrounded by horses and alpacas, being served farm-to-table organic meals, and hiking or journaling as you practice simply BEING. Of course, partners and friends are welcome, but this meditation retreat is designed to help you get in touch with your male and female energies and the balancing act of giving and receiving. To learn more about that you can visitladypotions.com/retreats for specifics.

[2:23] We welcome our guest, Erin Gray. Erin was featured in Episode 4, as well, where we talk about “Doing vs. Being.”

[3:16] I’m a woman married to a man, why do I need to how to operate from my male or female energy? First, the biological functions. It throws our cortisol levels off, throws us into fight or flight mode, and creates a cascade of hormonal imbalance.

[6:22] In order to optimize your fertility, it’s important to balance the energy of womanly “receiving” and male “doing.”

[9:14] If culture values doing over reflection, how did we get this way? Culturally women want to feel valued, so it is natural that we would align to try and fit in. However, the tides are changing and more women in society are owning their femininity.

[12:39] What happens to men when we compete with them, and how do we correct it when it happens? We each have masculine and feminine energy, and the ideal situation is where there is a polarity between the two.

[15:16] Men want to show up for the feminine. If we emasculate them, they will shut down and not engage with us.

[17:23] What would you tell a listener who just realized she’s been operating from her masculine side? We hear my own personal story about it! One of the best ways to jump quickly into the feminine is to softly ask for what we need and what would make us happy. We also need to soften to our own desire to our feminine place.

[24:19] We give some examples of how to step down from your masculine energy and invite your man to step up from his. It’s like magic!

[28:49] Praising your partner has energetic benefits for both you and your man.

DOWLOAD YOUR CHEAT SHEET HERE

Continue Your Journey:

To learn more about the Relax & Recharge Retreat:ladypotions.com/retreats

To connect with Erin Gray: Erinmgray.abmp.com

About Erin:

Erin M. Gray is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Licensed Massage Therapist. She graduated from Nova Southeastern University with a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and from Bhakti Academe School of Intuitive Massage and Healing with a diploma and certifications in Level V Bhakti Massage and Bhakti Energy Work. She is also certified as a Level I Aromatherapy Practitioner.

 

EPISODE 5 | MINDFUL MOMENTS | Don Miguel Ruiz - The Four Agreements

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.”

— Mahatma Gandhi

 

Episode 5- Mindful Moments and The Four Agreements

Thank you for joining me for the first installment of Mindful Moments on Fertile Minds Radio. If you listened to episode 1 or you have worked with me in the past than you already know meditation is a large part of what I do to keep rising towards the best version of myself AND a big part of what I teach to my patients in order to help them have a deeper inner awareness and to achieve high mental clarity. Now, you might be asking yourself what this has to do with fertility? 

In my opinion it has everything to do with conceiving and here’s why. I think of meditation as a tool that we can use to help cultivate peace during stressful times. It’s a practice that starts to leak into the rest of our daily life, helping us to feel calm and clear even when we are in the middle of the storm with big decisions to be made. Further more, it’s a tool that we can use to calm the nervous system. 

When the nervous system is in fight or flight, it’s broadcasting the message to every single sell in our bodies that the world is not a safe place at the moment and it’s certainly not a good time to procreate. It’s telling our immunity and sex hormones to drop, our blood to clot incase we get cut and shunting our blood flow to our limbs away fro our organs so we can fight or run away. Now most of us have pretty stressful lives and end up in a low grade fight or flight most of our day. The problem is, that the reptilian part of our brain that governs our body's reaction to whether the Nervous System is broadcasting the message “fight or run” vs “it’s time to feed and breed,” doesn’t realize that normal stressors like your boss, a full email inbox, or getting your period when you were sure that you were pregnant this time, isn’t exactly the same as a saber tooth tiger ready to make us their next meal. This is why meditation is a valuable tool now more than ever. It can over-ride this very primal part of our brain that hasn’t yet caught up to the immense stimuli we come into contact with moment to moment. Life has changed at a rapid pace, but our brains are a little slow to catch up- and believe it or not the tool of mediation can help us to hack our own nervous system. 

 

 

So it can help us to stay calm not only while trying to conceive, but while we are pregnant which is super important because that baby is being bathed in a biochemical reaction you creating in reaction to every thought you have. Think about that for a second. You have a thought, an emotion occurs, neurons in your brain fire changing your biochemistry and bam, your baby absorbs it. This is why I love to teach women to meditate BEFORE they get pregnant. 

And lastly, don’t forget the ultimate test for which you will be super glad you have access to this tool called meditation- parenting. 

Your kids are going to challenge you to grow on every single level more than you could ever dream. They’re like little mirrors of self realization beaming back at you 24/7 and we all know self awareness or constructive criticism is easier to take when your calm, so why not cultivate this practice now?

At the beginning of the episode I read a quote for Ghandi that I absolutely love. It’s such a great reminder that it’s our minds that ultimately create our destiny.

There is alignment between our inner dialogue and our outer dialogue... between what we’re thinking and what we’re doing; between how we’re feeling and how we’re living life; between what our thoughts are and what we’re saying.

It’s easier to speak from the heart when there’s alignment.  It’s easier to not have to wonder, “Is this person really on my side?”  There’s passion and excitement in your alignment, there’s freedom and a code that lets you live your human expression from a more universal space.  This couldn’t be more important than when you are communicating with your partner and your health care providers during this vulnerable time of trying to conceive. 

Today’s meditation is based on a simple code that I find relevant to clarity, daily evolution, & personal transformation: the Four Agreements by the author don Miguel Ruiz. Now, my meditation teacher davidji has encouraged me to get this meditation out there because it’s so useful to so many. It’s so simple, yet so true. I used to have a print out of the four agreements hanging on the wall next to my desk during graduate school, because it seemed that every patient I had that was emotionally suffering could somehow be relieved by simply adopting one or a few of these agreements into their lives. 

It's a powerful code to integrate into every word, thought and deed, and mostly likely –these four timeless truths- are already integrated in some way into your Sacred Values.  If nothing else, they can act as a powerful opener of your heart; and that will allow you to create more love in your life, feel more love and give more love. If you are asking yourself right now, I don’t know what my sacred values are, I encourage you to check out davidji’s new book Sacred Powers launching this Winter. In it you’ll find powerful exercises to execute after you meditate to help you design your divine code. Once you decide the principles you are committed to living your life by, making decisions big and small get a whole lot easier. 

The Four Agreements are:

#1.  Be impeccable with your word. 

#2.  Don’t take anything personally

#3.  Don’t make assumptions

#4.  Always do your best

For today’s meditation I’m going to give you examples of how don Miguel Ruiz’s concept of the four agreements could pertain to a fertility journey. So Get comfy and let's meditate together. 

If you love this meditation and want to own it without this intro so you can do it anytime anyplace simply text 4Agreements to 44222. 

 

Continue the Journey

Your Brain On Meditation- What Happens?

My beloved teacher davidji

The Four Agreements- Audible

The Four Agreements- Amazon

Special Thanks to Musician

Christopher Lloyd Clark

This Meditation- text 4Agreements to 44222- if you get a message that say service access denied call T mobile and ask them to "enable short message codes."

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