Ayurvedic medicine, or Ayurveda, is a holistic (whole body) healing system developed in India more than 3,000 years ago. One of the world’s oldest holistic practices, it’s based on the concept that wellness and health are achieved through a balance between your mind, body, and spirit.

After being diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) some women may consider Ayurveda. Keep reading to learn more about Ayurvedic treatment for PCOS and what the research says about its effectiveness.

PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It’s often characterized by excess androgen (male hormone levels) and menstrual periods that are either infrequent or longer than is typical.

With PCOS, your ovaries may develop follicles, which are small collections of fluid, and they may fail to regularly release eggs.

Ayurvedic treatment for PCOS usually includes a combination of herbs, therapies, and lifestyle changes, such as diet.

Ayurvedic use of herbs for PCOS

Although Ayurvedic treatment of PCOS may vary among practitioners, it often involves the use of specific herbs, primarily to maintain a balance of hormones. These include:

Ayurvedic therapies for PCOS

A 2012 study indicated that a 12-week yoga program helped reduce anxiety symptoms in adolescent girls with PCOS.

An Ayurvedic practitioner may recommend yoga poses, also called asanas, such as:

Your practitioner may also recommend meditation and breathing exercises, known as pranayamas, to help relieve stress.

Ayurvedic diet for PCOS

The dietary practices an Ayurvedic practitioner recommends for PCOS will often be similar to what your primary care doctor might suggest, including:

Subfertility is when you’re trying to get pregnant but experience a delay in conceiving. It can be a symptom of PCOS.

Some clinical research has focused on the Ayurvedic treatment of subfertility.

A 2017 study of 15 people with PCOS, for example, looked at Vamana Karma (therapeutic vomiting), along with the administration of Yoga-Ikshwaaku seed powder followed by Shatapushpadi Ghanavati (a compounded formulation). Researchers determined that this process may be effective in increasing the chances of conception for PCOS patients.

According to a 2010 study of 40 people experiencing subfertility, PCOS-caused subfertility can be resolved with a 6-month program of:

  • Shodhana (detoxification and purification procedures)
  • Shamana (palliative treatments to reduce discomfort and relieve symptoms)
  • Tarpana (offering made to divine entities)

If you’re considering Ayurveda or any other alternative treatment options for PCOS, discuss your thoughts with your doctor. They know the details of your current health and the potential interactions that may occur with any medication you’re currently taking.

Your doctor can customize a treatment plan for your PCOS — perhaps incorporating Ayurveda — to meet your needs.

Ayurvedic treatment for PCOS typically focuses on:

  • herbs, such as ashwagandha and turmeric
  • therapies, such as yoga and breathing exercises
  • lifestyle, such as increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while reducing consumption of saturated fats, salt, and refined sugar

Always check with your doctor before starting any alternative therapy.