From the day we get our first period, menarche, we are somewhere in a menstrual cycle unless we suppress it with artificial hormones. These days, we sit more, are exposed to more lights and blue lights from screens, more toxins in our food as well as environmental toxins. Endocrine disruptors are all around us so there is no wonder that sometimes our cycles are a bit out of balance.
One easy way to help in regulating hormones is through seed cycling. It is not magic and requires us to be consistent. You should see results within 3 months. The reason it takes time is simply because the processes in our body take time and when we begin changing these processes, they also need their time to shift.
Our Natural Hormones
Our cycle has 4 phases: menstruation, pre-ovulatory, ovulation and post ovulation. From a few days after ovulation, the ovaries start to secrete oestrogen and together with enough FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) they create the threshold necessary to release an egg through the process of ovulation. Oestrogen also helps with libido, mood, metabolism, stimulating cell growth in hair, nails and skin, lubricating the vagina, regulating cholesterol, creating pheromones for attracting males, delaying memory loss and increasing sexual awareness.
After ovulation, the follicle that released the egg becomes the yellow body or corpus luteum and starts to secrete progesterone. Progesterone is also known for its amazing properties such as tumour prevention, anti-depressant, increasing metabolism, sleep aid, normalizing thyroid function, helping with our mood, hair, bone health and prevention of breast cancer The artificial hormones found in hormonal birth control do not have these abilities.
While both hormones are very important, what is even more significant is the ratio between these two hormones. When we say that there might be an imbalance, many times we are referring to the ratio between them.
Sometimes there are deeper issues which must be looked at and which need more attention, but seed cycling is something quite easy to do, it is non-invasive, and it cannot harm you unless you are allergic to the ingredients.
What is seed cycling?
The basic concept of seed cycling is to consume specific seeds for each phase of the fertility cycle. We look at menstruation up until ovulation as one phase; and after ovulation until one day before getting our period as the second phase. By consuming different seeds at different phases, we encourage the production and function of the hormones active at those times.
How does seed cycling work?
For the first phase of your cycle, you need to consume flax and pumpkin seeds in quantities of 2 tablespoons each per day. I like to soak them overnight, let them dry and grind them. Flax and pumpkin seeds are taken during the follicular phase first. Flax has lignans that balance oestrogen. Pumpkin seeds are used for their essential fats and zinc content which are important for hormone production and to improve sleep and mood.
Sesame and sunflower seeds are taken during the second phase in quantities of 2 tablespoons each as well. I also like to soak, dry these and grind. Sesame seed lignans help balance oestrogen but differently to flax and are relatively high in copper. Sunflower seeds have natural selenium for liver support and hormone regulation, and it helps detoxify the hormones.
If you are not sure when you ovulate, use the moon and assume that you ovulate on a full moon so you can start from there.
Other benefits of seed cycling is that it increases mineral intake such as zinc, vit B12, vit B6, magnesium and more which get depleted by the Pill. This in turn helps the thyroid.
Lately, there are some voices saying that seed cycling is just a fashion trend or a myth if you wish and it is not backed up in science. The claim is that our body will generate whatever it needs so if we eat all these seeds during our cycle, then our body is clever enough to take what it needs.
I find that seed cycling helps my clients in my practice, and it helped me. I also find that there is something nice in the ritual of awareness about where we are in our cycle, the different needs of our body and the self. There is something symbolic in rotating something after we ovulated and as we change phases.
Tips for Seed Cycling
1. Buy organic, if possible and raw of course.
2. You can grind the seeds using a coffee grinder. Ground seeds can be sprinkled on porridge, yogurt or smoothies.
About Rona Mirimi
I started my journey in women’s health 7 years ago after giving birth to my second son. It started after I found out that I wasn’t allowed to be on any form of hormonal birth control and I then looked for something more natural.
I came across the Fertility Awareness Method, but I didn’t think I could do it. I was so gaslighted in my ability to track my own fertility and I was stuck in a “society” dominant space so I just rolled over this option. It stayed at the back of my mind until I decided to give it a try.
During this time I also tried my second menstrual cup and I loved it, unlike the first one. I then decided I had to bring it to South Africa for other women to benefit from.
As time went by, I learned to love practicing Fertility Awareness and I also started bringing more and more menstrual cup brands to South Africa. I decided to sign up for studies to learn to teach people how to track and chart their cycles. I graduated last year so I am now certified by the American Fertility Awareness Association and offer online or private classes.
I now help people on a daily basis to get more in touch with their body and I am very honoured to be part of their journey. For more visit https://ronamirimi.co.za/
Rona Mirimi is a Fertility Awareness educator and a reproductive health coach, certified by the American Fertility Awareness Association. She helps people to get in touch with their bodies via online and private classes.