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:
- Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is an herb that’s also called Indian ginseng or winter cherry. It can help balance cortisol levels to improve stress and PCOS symptoms, according to a
2016 studyof 52 people under chronic stress.
- Cinnamon. Cinnamon, harvested from the bark of the cinnamon tree, is more than just a spice used in baked goods: According to a small 2007 study, it can positively affect insulin resistance parameters in PCOS. A
2014 studyof 45 women indicated that cinnamon may play a role in regulating menstrual cycles for women with PCOS.
- Turmeric. Turmeric gets its yellow color from its active ingredient, curcumin. In a
2017 studyon PCOS-induced rats, curcumin showed promise as an anti-inflammatory agent and as a way to decrease insulin resistance.
Ayurvedic therapies for PCOS
An Ayurvedic practitioner may recommend yoga poses, also called asanas, such as:
- Reclining Butterfly Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
- Bharadvaja’s Twist (Bharadvajasana)
- Mill Churning Pose (Chakki Chalanasana)
- Corpse Pose (Shavasana)
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.
According to a
- 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.