Three Herbs to Unleash Your Feminine Power
In this post I’m going to introduce you to three herbs to unleash your feminine power. Feminine power is on the rise. Thank Goddess. Feminine power shows up as strength, endurance, fierce love and deep compassion, self-sacrifice, creativity, intelligence and intuition. After millennia of patriarchal systems, a shift in the balance of power and a revaluing of the fierce feminine is unfolding. We have a tremendous amount of work to do, within and without. We can and we will do this work. As women, we are not strangers to hard work, long hours, the pain of child birth, defending our families and communities, reclaiming our freedom and reinventing our lives in the face of illness and oppression.
Some days I feel this feminine potency coursing within me like a great river. At other times the flow feels weak, anemic, barely a trickle. When my energy is low, I know more attention to self-care is in order. I also turn to herbal remedies that strengthen the nervous system and alleviate the effects of stress and hard work. These herbs are classified as adaptogens.
“Feminine power shows up as strength, endurance, fierce love and deep compassion, self-sacrifice, creativity, intelligence and intuition.”
Adaptogens help the body adapt to stress and restore balance. They increase the body’s resistance to physical, biological, emotional and environmental stressors. They will also strengthen a weakened immune system reducing the chances of you catching the common cold or flu bug. Adaptogens have been used by athletes to increase stamina and reduce recovery times after strenuous exercise. Many adaptogens improve mental focus and clarity. Some adapotgens have an affinity for specific body systems which includes those that promote fertility and reproductive health.
Are you starting to see how these medicinal plants might be the prefect remedy for a modern day feminine warrior, a single mom attending school at night or a grandmother working and raising her own grandchildren? Consider the energy needs of a busy executive or small business working long hours to prove her worth in a competitive environment. Adaptogens would support all of these women and others like them asserting their feminine power in every more powerful and creative ways. While there are many adaptogens in the modern herbal apothecary, in this post I’m going to introduce you to three powerful adaptogens uniquely suited for a woman’s health and vitality, Ginseng, Maca and Rhodiola
The roots of these plants are have been utilized as medicine for thousands of years. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that it is the roots of Ginseng, Maca and Rhodiola that offer us their strength and nourishment at the deepest level. A plants roots reach down into Mother Earth providing the strength that anchors the plant in place. At the same time, the roots draw nourishment in the form or nutrients and water upward, giving life to the leaves, flowers and fruit. The process of unleashing our feminine power is like this. It often begins with going deep, turning within and discovering the anchor that is our most authentic self. This inner wisdom becomes the source place for the expression of our feminine power, the power to manifest change, to be strong, openhearted and vulnerable. It is the power to bring forth something that did not previously exist, whether that is a child, an idea, a book, a garden, a form of service or a work of art. The roots of these adaptogens assist us in this deep and challenging work, nourishing and sustaining us as we struggle and grow.
Ginseng Root | Panax Ginseng
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.
Maca Root | Lepidium peruvianum
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. Personally, I find Maca helpful for my busy life as a small business owner. I incorporate the powdered root in smoothies and I love to have these Maca-rich Mental Energy Balls for a quick pick-me-up. For you and your beloved, I highly recommend these Raw Chocolate Bliss Balls made with Maca, Chocolate and Coconut!
Rhodiola Root | Rhodiola rosea
Rhodiola is native to the harsh, cold sub-arctic regions of North America, Europe and Asia. Vikings reportedly used the root for strength and stamina before epic battles and long voyages. In parts of northern Europe recently married couples once received gifts of Rhodiola to promote fertility and the birth of healthy children. Today there exists a large body of published research on the medicinal properties of Rhodiola root that corroborates thousands of years of traditional use.
For women who need to remain cool and collected under pressure, Rhodiola relieves fatigue and promotes mental clarity and alertness, even improving memory and the ability for prolonged concentration when used regularly. Rhodiola supports muscle building and improves the energy available to muscles during strenuous activity. It also improves muscle strength and endurance.
Rhodiola is also a good choice for women with menstrual irregularities who are having trouble conceiving. In one clinical trial 40 women who had ceased menstruating were given Rhodiola. Normal menses were restored in over 60% of the women and 11 became pregnant. Physicians have also reported women becoming pregnant after using Rhodiola for several months where standard fertility drugs had failed. In post-menopausal women, Rhodiola can help relieve menopause related depression and brain fog.
Energetically Rhodiola is sweet, slightly bitter, spicy, cool and dry. It is consider more cooling than Ginseng and is less likely to cause anxiety or over-stimulation. The root can be prepared as tea by simmering the roots or taken as a liquid extract or in capsules.
Dear sisters, the time to cultivate your warrior heart is now. Feminine power is on the rise and the Goddess is calling you to offer your highest and best. The planet, the waters and all the living creature needs you to show up and lead. So, take good care brave ones, support one another and when the going gets tough, reach for the strong hands and hearts of your loved ones, and don’t forget your favorite adaptogen.
Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief, Winston D, Maimes S, Healing Art Press, 2007.
Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Alternative Therapies and Integrative Medicine for total Health and Wellness, Hudson T, McGraw-Hill, 2008.
Effects of Red Ginseng Supplementation on Menopausal Symptoms and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Postmenopausal Women: A Double-blind Randomized Controlled Trial, Young Kim S., et al. Menopause 2012; 19(4) 461-466.
Beneficial Effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on Psychological Symptoms and Measures of Sexual dysfunction in Postmenopausal Women are Not Related to Estrogen or Androgen Content. Brooks NA, et al., Menopause, 2008 Nov-Dec, 15:1157-62.
A Double-blind Placebo-controlled Trial of Maca Root as Treatment for Antidepressant-induced Sexual Dysfunction in Women, Dording C, Schettler P, Dalton E, et al. Evidence Based Complimentary Alternative Medicine, 2015; Article ID 949036.
Rhodiola Rosea: A Phytomedicinal Overview, Brown R, et al., American Botanical Council, HerbalGram, 2002, Issue 56:40-52.
Effect of Rhodiola Rosea extract on Ovarian Function, Proceedings of the Scientific Conference on Endocrinology and Gynecology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 1970 Sept 15-16; 46-48.