Ok, we’ll be honest. When we first heard about the practice of “seed cycling,” we had a bit of a “WTF” moment. Seeds? To help balance hormones? Sounds all kinds of crazy, right? But then we started doing some digging on the topic—and we were amazed. Seed cycling is one of the easiest (not to mention, most natural) ways to balance female hormones. We’re all about it, and we wanted to share what we’ve learned.
Here’s the deal.
A lot of people have a weird association with the word “hormones”—maybe it’s because the word brings up awkward memories from high school sex ed, or conjures up visions of raging menopausal women. But hormones, especially for women, play a vital role in almost every aspect of life. They’re the building blocks that regulate everything from growth and metabolism, to, of course, fertility.
And whether diagnosed or not, many women suffer from an imbalance of hormones (this becomes especially prevalent as we age). Symptoms of a hormonal imbalance can include:
Persistent weight gain
Anxiety, irritability, or depression
Insomnia or poor sleep patterns
Irregular or painful periods, heavy flow, or PMS
Seed cycling is a technique that helps your body naturally rebalance its hormone levels (namely, estrogen and progesterone) by including four different types of seeds (flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower) during the two distinct phases of your menstrual cycle.
Seed hulls (the outer parts) contain polyphenols called lignans, which are chemicals that help bind to excess hormones. The oils within the seeds contain essential fatty acids that provide the essential building blocks for hormone creation. The practice switches up the seed blend during the two distinct phases of your menstrual cycle—the follicular and the luteal—based on what your body needs.
Seed cycling should be done according to your current menstrual cycle, if it’s regular, or according to the phases of the moon cycle if your own cycle is irregular or absent. For example, you would start with Phase 1 of seed cycling protocol on the first day of the new moon and begin Phase 2 approximately 14 days later, when the moon is full.
Follicular Phase: Day —14 (or until ovulation):
1 tablespoon each freshly ground raw flax seeds and pumpkin seeds daily.
Flax seeds contain lignans, which help to bind excess estrogen so that it can be eliminated from the body. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which support the creation of progesterone.
Luteal Phase: From Day 15— 28 (or until period begins):
1 tablespoon each freshly ground raw sunflower and sesame seeds daily.
Sesame seeds contain special lignans that block estrogen. Sunflower seeds are high in selenium, which is an essential nutrient for hormone balance.
Keep in mind that like all natural remedies, seed cycling isn’t a “quick fix.” You’ll want to give it at least three menstrual cycles to begin to see results. And be sure to consult a doctor with any persisting issues.
Grind ahead of time! Prepare a mixture containing equal parts flax and pumpkin seeds for days 1-14 of your cycle and equal parts sesame and sunflower for days 15-28 of your cycle. However, avoid making overly large batches of ground seeds. Due to oxidation, seeds can go rancid if exposed to air for too long. To maintain freshness, you can also place your ground seeds in the refrigerator.
Make sure to buy whole organic, raw seeds. You can buy them in bulk at Otte Foods. If you suffer from digestive issues, you may want to consider soaking your seeds prior to grinding.
Try blending your seed mixture into smoothies or shakes, or adding to oatmeal, soups or salads.