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My natural and alternative health research has specifically been focused in their uses in fertility, pregnancy and after delivery.  I hope you are able to benefit from my research.

General Fertility Promoters...to be taken throughout the entire cycle.
 
A good prenatal vitamin.  I prefer the food-based vitamins.  They are more easily digested and better absorbed.  However, you have to take a lot of them to get the same effect as 1 massive prescription vitamin.  Some of the food-based vitamins require as many as 6 tablets per day which can be very daunting, especially when pregnant and having morning sickness.  That is why I prefer 'Nature's Plus Source of Life Prenatal Vitamin'.  I only have to take 2 pills a day (at the same time).  I have found that during pregnancy, I have had a smaller tendency to become sick after taking these vitamins as they enter the body in smaller doses. 
 
Essential Fatty Acid (EFA), such as a DHA supplement or Flax Seed Oil.  I prefer a DHA supplement (300mg a day).  DHA is very beneficial to the growing fetus, the mother, and the pregnancy itself.  DHA has been shown to help to prevent preterm labor.  Some studies have even shown that women with high levels of DHA carry their pregnancies longer, as many as 6 additional days.  DHA has also been shown to help aid in reducing postpartum depression.  Not only is it beneficial to the mother, but the baby benefits as well.  Babies with high DHA levels were shown to have a larger head circumference, a higher placental weight and a higher birth weight.  DHA is needed specifically in the third trimester when the baby's brain is developing so rapidly.  This fatty acid is also used to aid in the visual development of the fetus.  In addition, recent studies have shown that babies who were exposed to DHA in the womb had better sleeping pattern as infants which translates into a more mature central nervous system.   If you would like to read about the study you may use the following link:
 
Antioxidants
"Antioxidants are important because they protect against free radicals, naturally occurring compounds in the body which, if not tightly controlled, can promote many different diseases including heart disease and cancer, as well as premature aging."  Antioxidants heal and prevent scarring; they nourish the mucous membranes of the digestive tract and strengthen the immune system.
 
What is a free radical? "Technically, a free radical is an element or molecule with an unpaired electron.  If not limited and controlled, they can damage the body's cells and accelerate the processes of disease and aging.  Certain enzymes and nutrients known as 'antioxidants' will scavenge for free radicals and neutralize them, preventing them from harming the body.  Thus, they are known as 'free radical scavengers'...Some signs of free radical damage to the body may include premature aging, brown (liver) spots on the skin, cancer, arthritis and cross-linking (causing wrinkles)."  Taken from Today's Herbal Health for Women written by Louise Teeney. 
 
Green Tea is a powerful antioxidant.  It contains high levels of polyphenols which are muscular antioxidants that are actually stronger than vitamin C and E.   These polyphenols help protect against oxidative, toxic damage to the tissues.  Green tea aids in the prevention of arterial damage, fights cancer and regulates blood sugar.  In addition, green tea is a strong antihistamine which aids in reducing allergic inflammations.
 
Zinc is shown to aid in ovulation and fertilization in women. However, containing more than recommended amounts (> 15mg per day) will not produce 'superhuman' fertility rates.

Estrogen Builders and Ovulation Promoters...
 
Red Raspberry is an adaptogenic herb.  What that means is that it tones and relaxes the uterus depending on the body's need.  When it tones the uterus it increases the blood flow which it does by contracting the muscle.  I recommend taking RR before ovulation as it is a wonderful uterine lining builder, in addition to it being estrogenic.  In terms of dosing, I only use the liquid extracts...they taste absolutely horrid, but I feel you get a much better (and quicker) result from them.  I would take 30 drops (1ml) of the extract 3xday, AF thru ovulation.   After ovulation, stop it.  If pregnancy is confirmed, then restart it very minutely after the first trimester...1 cup of tea (or 1ml) a day ...working up to 3-4 cups by the time of delivery.  If you are not pregnant, then restart it at AF.  RR will also help to minimize af flow and then help to rebuild a nice soft lining for a conception.
 
Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) only around the time of ovulation...3,000mg once a day, cd 9 thru ovulation.  There is no harm in taking it from AF thru ovulation, however, I just use it to help increase my cm.  EPO is a wonderful essential fatty acid and will help to increase your cm, particularly ewcm.  The reason why you shouldn't take it after ovulation is that it increases prostaglandins, which if you are close to term if fine, as it will help to soften the cervix...we don't want this at the beginning of a pregnancy.  If you are looking for an essential fatty acid (EFA) to use throughout your entire cycle, I would definately stick with the flax seed oil or a DHA supplement.  Both of these are fine to take throughout pregnancy without the risk of added uterine stimulation.
 
I have not used Dong Quai for fertility purposes.  However, I have used it to prepare for delivery.  Its main purpose is to help increase blood flow...therefore, rejuvinating the reproductive system with increased blood circulation and nutrients which will act as a fertility booster.  One of my books state to use it for the 5 days before AF in order to prevent pms or painful cramping; however I am very skeptical about this as Dong Quai is known to be a very strong uterine contractor and it will most likely expel a pregnancy if one has been implanted.  This herb is also used to bring on AF.  It is highly recommended NOT to use during pregnancy as it can stimulate very strong contractions, however, it may be used at the end to help prepare the uterus for delivery and is included in several labor-prep formulas.
 
False Unicorn Root, also known as Helonias Root.  This herb is an estrogenic herb which will help to balance the hormonal system's production of hormones, specifically the ovarian hormones.  "It improves the secretory responses and cyclical functions of the ovary and has been used in infertility caused by dysfunction in follicular formation in the ovary."  Not only is this herb supposed to aid in ovarian function, it is also supposed to help reduce ovarian pain.  I have read several times about this herb that you do not want to take it UNLESS you want to become pregnant.  Even when I went to the health food store a while back to buy some, the lady asked me if I was wanting to get pregnant just because I was looking for this herb.  I would recommend taking 30-40 drops of the extract 3 times a day, AF thru ovulation.  Once again this is a adaptogenic herb....it is used both to calm the uterus for a threatened miscarriage, but at the same time, it is used to prepare the uterus for delivery at the end of pregnancy.  Because of this...I try not to use it during the first trimester even if I am cramping.  If I am cramping, I use Cramp Bark or Black Haw instead which specifically relax the uterus and the surrounding muscles.
 
Saw Palmetto.  This herb is recommended for men, but it has also shown to aid in female fertility.  This herb is actually an anti-estrogen, for which if you research Clomid, is the same.  Ironically, when I researched Clomid, I found that body builders are its main users as it increases testosterone levels and in men means more muscle.  Saw Palmetto acts in the same way (increases testosterone)...but we are going to use it like the RE's use Clomid, therefore I use it from cd 4-8.  What I am looking to do is suppress my estrogen levels, like Clomid does.  While I am taking the Saw Palmetto (or Clomid) my body is being told  that its estrogen levels are too low (due to the increased testosterone), therefore it needs to produce even more estrogen.  Now when you stop the Saw Palmetto (or Clomid) on cd 9, your body has a very high build up of estrogen, therefore, telling your body it is time to gear up for ovulation and to start producing a strong LH surge.  I recommend taking 30 drops (1ml) of the Saw Palmetto extract 3 x day from cd4 thru cd8.
 
Damiana is also an excellent herb.  This herb will also help to increase estrogen levels and is said to be an aphrodisiac.   In addition, it helps to strengthen the reproductive organs as well as used to strengthen the ovum.   Damiana also helps to balance female hormones.  I mainly take this herb right before ovulation...1.5ml 2 x a day from cd9 thru ovulation.  Because it helps to increase my estrogen levels, I take it after I am done with the Saw Palmetto...to add an extra estrogen boost after the suppression.
 
In addition, Red Clover is wonderful for this as well.  It is full of nutrients and is a wonderful blood purifier.  Red Clover also helps to alkalinize the body which aids in sperm life...if your body is too acidic the poor guys are more likely to die.  Red Clover also a wonderful expectorant meaning it helps to thin the mucus within the body...therefore, yielding thinner cm like Robitussin would.  I actually used the capsules of the Red Clover.   I recommend 2 caps 2x day from cd9 thru ovulation.  Red Clover is okay to take during pregnancy due to its high vitamin and mineral content.  However, I always wait until after the first trimester to start it again.
 
Throughout your cycle

EFA, such as Flax Seed Oil or DHA (follow directions on the bottle)
 
AF thru Ovulation

Red Rasperry... 1ml, 3xday
False Unicorn Root (aka Helonias Root)... 1.5ml, 3xday
 
CD4 thru CD8

Saw Palmetto... 1ml, 3xday
 
CD9 thru Ovulation

EPO... 3,000mg, 1xday
Damiana... 1.5ml, 2xday
Red Clover ...2 caps, 2xday

I will be adding more information on how to increase progesterone, and the luteal phase naturally.  Please check back.

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