Natural Treatments for PCOS

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Photo by Adobe Stock/Chinnapong

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) affects 6-10 percent of women of reproductive age. Insulin resistance is often a factor, which in turn leads to an increase in male sex hormones (androgens), such as testosterone, and can cause irregular menstruation, increased body hair, acne, fertility problems, and future diabetes.


Herbs help regulate hormones and menstruation, improving symptoms such as acne and hirsutism. If there is insulin resistance, herbs help control insulin levels.

Saw palmetto is an anti-androgenic (blocks the action of male hormones), to regulate hirsutism and menstruation. Take 10-20 drops extract in a little water 3 times daily.

Licorice helps lower testosterone levels. Avoid in pregnancy, with hypertension, or large doses over long periods. Take 1/2 – 1-1/2 milliliters extract in a little water 3 times daily. 

White peony helps reduce testosterone production. Take 1-1/2 – 2-1/2 milliliters extract in a little water 3 times daily.

Fenugreek seeds increase sensitivity to insulin and balance sugar levels. Avoid in pregnancy or with hypothyroidism. Take separately from other drugs as it may impede their absorption. Infuse 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek seeds in 6 fluid ounces (175 milliliters) boiling water and drink 3 times daily. 


A low-carbohydrate diet helps to raise blood sugar levels slowly.

Kale and spinach provide B vitamins and potassium to help regulate hormones, sugar, and fat metabolism. Add to soups, stir-fries, and meals. 

Eggs are a complete protein source (with all the essential amino acids), with iron, folate, thiamine, and vitamins. Enjoy a daily egg if you wish.

Barley releases energy slowly, has reproductive-supporting nutrients, and fiber to help process excess hormones. Use for risotto and hot cereal. 


These can support a healthy diet to aid metabolism and balance hormones.

Multivitamins and minerals form the foundation of a supplemental regime. Take a daily dose.   

Chromium helps to balance blood insulin levels. Take 200-400 mcg daily with food.  

Zinc is helpful for balancing hormone and blood sugar levels. Take 10 milligrams daily.  

B complex vitamins help the liver process hormones, and vitamins B2, B3, B5, and B6 support a healthy metabolism. Take a daily supplement with 25-50 milligrams of the main B vitamins.  

Resveratrol, a compound in grapes and other plant foods, supports hormone balance and glucose control. Take 1,500 milligrams daily.  


Lose weight. Obesity can contribute to polycystic ovaries.

Exercise daily to boost metabolism, aid weight loss, and control insulin levels.

Take time out to unwind, as PCOS can lead to mood swings and depression.

Other Therapies

Acupuncture helps balance hormones and stimulates ovulation.

Homeopathy can help balance hormones.

Counseling and psychotherapy can be helpful for dealing with symptoms of depression.

More from Complete Wellness:

Cover courtesy DK

Excerpted from Complete Wellness, reprinted by permission of DK, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2018 by Neal’s Yard Remedies.

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