Let's Hear It For The Boys
It’s Men’s Health Week, with Father’s Day right around the corner, so let’s talk men’s health. It is a common misconception that there are “women’s herbs” and “men’s herbs”, although the latter get much less air time. Virtually any herb that one might use in the treatment of women, one might also use in the treatment of men, and vice versa.
Because all foetuses start out as female, all male tissues are derived from female ones and, in a broad way, retain their functions. Male bodies produce the same hormones - e.g. oestrogen, testosterone, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinising hormone (LH) - as female ones, and male reproductive tissues have similar functions to their female counterparts, such as maturing sperm or egg cells. Herbs that affect the human body will generally have similar actions whether that body is male or female.
Sarsaparilla (Smilax ssp.) is a delicious Caribbean root, helpful for prompting the liver to detoxify, acting steadily and persuasively on testosterone balance, especially in the skin. It’s a prime herb for young men with acne or skin blemishes, and works well in older men to support healthy prostate function.
Raspberry (Rubus ideaus) is an excellent toning remedy for the bladder and pelvic region, giving strength and healthy tone to muscles that may be either weak or anxious and over-contracted. It is a wonderfully gentle remedy to aid recovery from infection or injury to the urinary or reproductive organs, it’s rich in nutrients, and has a very pleasant tea-like flavour, making it an ideal caffeine-free tea alternative.
Korean, Asian, or Chinese Ginseng (Panax ginseng) is one of the world’s most famous herbal remedies. It is an immune tonic, strength and stamina giving adaptogen, anti-oxidant detoxifier, supporter of healthy hormonal balance, and reproductive tonic. The herb is especially well suited to men over 40, when Ginseng helps to improve vitality and overall health. It can be too stimulating for younger people, when the vitality is running at its highest.
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca): the clue is in the latin name. For panic attacks and palpitations, anxiety and agitation and high blood pressure, it’s a fantastic remedy. It tastes bitter, but is very effective in relieving anxiety and the unpleasant symptoms that can go with it, as well as associated high blood pressure. It is another gentle but powerful remedy, very useful for highly stressed high-performing personalities, people in the limelight, and those who do not wish to let on that they feel anxious or stressed.
Pine Pollen (Pinus ssp.) is a testosterone booster, delivering a small dose of that essential male hormone, but beyond that improving the body’s ability to manufacture and utilise the hormone. Pollen powder is very rich in vitamins and minerals as well, and is an excellent addition to the diet when concerned about fertility or a man feels libido or virility is a not quite what is should be.
Saw Palmetto (Serranoa repens) is another herb that helps specifically with testosterone balance, and because of its high nutrient content, is helpful for improving fertility as well. It is well known for improving testosterone usage in the prostate and the resulting help for enlarged glands; the use as a fertility aid is less well known.
Happy Father’s Day when it comes!