Both men and women are born with masculine and feminine energies, and this is reflected in several ancient cultural traditions. Ayurvedic medicine refers to these energies as ida and pingala, while in Chinese medicine they’re referred to as yin and yang. Feminine energy is found within and all around us, and Mother Nature is the most prominent source.
Today we live in a society that glorifies being fast-paced and always in a “go-getter” mindset, leaving little time for self-reflection and nurturing. This is a perfect example of a major imbalance of the masculine and feminine energies in the world. An unhealthy amount of masculine has left the western world aggressive, competitive, and more in a head-space rather than heart space.
Since modern life often requires women to more strongly embody and embrace their masculine energies - in order to lead confidently in the world and at home - it’s more imperative than ever that we also remember to nurture, nourish, heal, and restore the feminine. A balance between masculine and feminine energies is essential for our overall health and well-being. Many women spend a good part of their lives embodying their masculine energies, and find it difficult to shift into the feminine - leading with more of an intuitive, fluid, and gentle energy.When we neglect the imbalance within our bodies as well we can begin to experience major illness and dis-ease. This can show up as mood swings, hormonal imbalance, pain and discomfort within the reproductive organs, disconnect and numbness in the Yoni (vagina), anxiety, infertility, etc.
One of the most beautiful ways we can begin to reconnect to the feminine is through nourishing ourselves with plant medicine and herbs. Not only is working with sacred plants the most raw and pure way to initiate healing, but it goes back to our most primal roots. We go back to healing ourselves in the way our elders and ancestors once did. It is intuitive and we are building an intimate connection with Mother Nature and the endless sources of vitality and abundance she provides.
Below are 5 of our favorite herbs to ignite the feminine energy within us.
High in the Andes mountains of Peru, Maca root has been used as a food for thousands of years. It’s popularity as a “super food” for energy, stamina and sexual health is much more recent. While pharmacological research and clinical trials are still few compared to Ginseng, the results are promising and support the historical and anecdotal record. We do know that Maca is a nutrient-dense root, rich in amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitmins and minerals. This alone would tend to explain its ability to increase energy, strength and stamina.
Maca appears to have important benefits for women in their reproductive years, reportedly relieving menstrural irregularities including moods swings, irritability and depression. Women of all ages also report improvements in libido and sexual responsiveness when using Maca. In a recent study with older, women, Maca relieved depression and sexual dysfunction in post-menopausal women. In another recent clinical trial Maca also helped relieve anti-depressant (SSRI) induced sexual dysfunction in post-menopausal women.
Like Ginseng, different varieties of Maca, red, black and yellow are reported to have slightly different properties. Energetically, Maca is warming and stimulating. You can use Maca root in its powdered form in smoothies or in food, simmer the powdered root for tea, or as a liquid extract. You can incorporate the powdered root in smoothies or add them into homemade bliss balls!
RED RASPBERRY LEAF
As its name suggests, raspberry leaf is the leaf of the raspberry plant. Also known as “the woman’s herb,” it is naturally high in vitamins and minerals we need for female health specifically: magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, and vitamins B, A, C, and E. The high level of B vitamins in particular makes it useful for relieving nausea, soothing leg cramps, and improving sleep. (Symptoms that definitely increase during pregnancy!) Because of its high vitamin and mineral content, it helps balance hormones and strengthens the walls of uterus and the general pelvic area. Because these nutrients are coming from a food-based source, they are highly absorbable and better than a supplement.
Another potent adaptogen, ashwagandha is an ancient Indian herb that is said to support female reproduction and sexual energy. The herb has been used for centuries to combat stress in women and men alike. Ashwagandha specifically targets the endocrine system and encourages hormonal balance. One study with over 50 menopausal women looked into the effects of supplementing with ashwagandha and found a significant decline in symptoms such as anxiety, hot flashes, and mood. Ashwagandha has been used to support good mood for centuries, and research is beginning to find that the plant may play a powerful role in combating mental and emotional stress. This makes ashwagandha a potent tool against mood swings.
Prized by both traditional Indian and Chinese medicines, the Chinese consider it a Jing tonic, or a tonic which aids physical energy and sexual drive. It’s formed from organic compressed plant material from the Himalayas. The compound is then concentrated and purified to create a high-potency extract. Packed with nutrients, amino acids, and antioxidants, its fulvic acid passes easily across the intestinal barrier which expedites antioxidant availability. It also promotes vitality by stimulating cellular ATP production. Shilajit is also known to alleviate anxiety, lift mood, and stimulate overall health.
Panax Ginseng root has been used for thousands of years. It is one of the most studied herbs in the modern herbal apothecary with a significant body of modern scientific research confirms traditional uses. Panax Ginseng is available in different forms and varieties and is also sometimes called Asian Ginseng, Kirin Ginseng, Korean Ginseng, Red Ginseng or White Ginseng, depending on the its origin, the age of the root and how it has been processed after harvesting.
For women of any age who are juggling family, work, self-care and the demands of living in a complex world, Ginseng improves stamina and helps reduce mental and physical fatigue. Considered the most stimulating of adapotgens, Ginseng is used for adrenal fatigue and depletion of the endocrine system, general weakness, to reduce cortisol levels elevated by stress and as an immune tonic. This power plant made the short list of herbs for feminine power because it also supports the female reproductive system at all stages of a woman’s life–maiden, mother and crone. In young women experiencing infertility of indeterminate cause, Ginseng can help by improving overall health and vitality. For women of all ages Ginseng is known as an aphrodisiac promoting sexual desire and response.
Ginseng is also a source of phytoestrogens which are naturally occurring plant nutrients that exert and an estrogen-like effect on the body. Ginseng’s phytoestrogens may assist a woman who is not menstruating due to low estrogen levels and can be especially helpful for low estrogen related to menopause. Ginseng can provide relief for many menopausal symptoms from mental fatigue to hot flashes, vaginal dryness and depression. In one randomized, controlled clinical trial using 3 grams of Red Panax Ginseng the Ginseng group had significant improvements in all menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, using two of the most common research tools for evaluating menopausal symptoms. Participants in the ginseng group also saw a reduction in total cholesterol and LDL levels compared to the placebo group.
Energetically, Panax Ginseng is sweet, bitter, warm moist and stimulating. Some people may feel over stimulated by Ginseng. Others may feel a strong kindling of inner fire and drive. Choose accordingly and listen to your body. You may want to avoid Ginseng is you suffer from anxiety, insomnia, or hypertension. Ginseng can be used as a tea, liquid extract, or in capsules.