Polycystic ovary syndrome, which we’ve all come to know as PCOS, is a hormone-related condition that affects 6 to 12% of women in the U.S. The exact cause of PCOS is hazy, but there are a few compelling factors that we can certainly point to — insulin resistance, inflammation, genetic predispositions, and excess androgen in the ovaries. 

PCOS symptoms show up differently for everyone, but typical symptoms include irregular menstrual cycles, acne, abnormal hair growth, cysts on ovaries, and high androgen levels shown in bloodwork. As Amanda Montalvo (RD &  FDN-P) once shared on the podcast, painful periods are not a symptom of PCOS, although many women with PCOS do experience painful periods due to hormonal imbalances. 

Navigating PCOS

So, how is PCOS normally treated? If you don’t plan to become pregnant, many MDs will prescribe you birth control to help control your menstrual cycle and lower androgen levels or a diabetes medication like Metformin to lower your insulin resistance to PCOS. But in reality, slapping on birth control and Metformin only masks an underlying issue and does not actually get down to the bottom of what is driving PCOS. 

There are many lifestyle practice and dietary changes that you can make that can reverse PCOS. Yes, reverse it. PCOS isn’t something you have to live with for the rest of your life. And as it turns out, two kitchen staples can function as great alternative treatments: cinnamon and ginger. Yup, it’s as simple as that. These two herbs work to treat some of the major underlying factors that drive PCOS which are insulin resistance and inflammation. Here’s how and why, with science to back it up. 

Cinnamon  & Ginger for PCOS

Because PCOS is such a prevalent endocrine disorder, a recent study was conducted to evaluate therapeutic ways of managing the condition. The goal of this study was to determine the impact of cinnamon, ginger, and metformin on sex hormone levels, metabolic health (i.e. insulin level and fasting blood glucose), and “anthropometric indices,” aka weight, BMI, etc., in women with PCOS. 

The results are eye-opening. While weight and BMI decreased significantly in all groups, cinnamon decreased insulin resistance and testosterone levels while ginger decreased the follicle-stimulating (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) compared to placebo groups. Having the proper ratios of FSH to LH is important for reproductive health and women with PCOS often have very elevated levels of LH specifically relative to LH.

Best of all? You can find these PCOS-fighting herbal treatments right in your kitchen. Let’s start with cinnamon. In a study done by Columbia University, women who added cinnamon to their diets had more regular periods than those given the placebo. Cinnamon has the unique ability to regulate blood sugar and reduce insulin resistance, which are major contributors to PCOS.

Ginger, on the other hand, offers anti-inflammatory properties to effectively combat PCOS symptoms. Beyond decreasing the follicle-stimulating and luteinizing hormones, ginger strengthens the immune system while balancing estrogen and progesterone hormones. Clomid is another well-known drug to help women with PCOS, and in a study that compared the effects of Clomid with ginger extract, a high dose of ginger was proven to be just as effective — with no long-term effects. 

How to Use Them

Integrating cinnamon into your diet can be as easy as sprinkling it on your yogurt, adding it to your coffee, mixing it into smoothies — the list goes on. There’s no established dosage that women with PCOS need to take, but the standard recommendation is about 1 teaspoon per day. You can also actively consume more ginger by adding 2-3 cups of ginger tea to your daily beverage routine, make fresh ginger shots, add it to your smoothies and juices, and more. 

Cinnamon is one the main ingredients in both our Guardian Tea and GlucoBitters. GlucoBitters is one of our go-to product recommendations for PCOS since it is formulated with key herbs, like cinnamon, that work to balance insulin resistance. 

The Guardian Tea is another formula we like to lean on for PCOS support. The Guardian Tea is a warming blend of medicinal herbs like Cinnamon and Ginger that help modulate inflammation. The perfect tea to sip on throughout the day if you struggle with PCOS or just want general support for inflammation and immunity. 

Remember, no PCOS diagnosis is the same. Always chat with your doctor before making any significant changes. While PCOS can be an incredibly frustrating and debilitating diagnosis, a healthy, more balanced lifestyle can certainly be found by taking a more natural route!

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