About two years after having my daughter, I was still dealing with some major night sweats. And if you’re married, you know that it’s not like you can just change the sweat-soaked sheets in the middle of the night. Your spouse wouldn’t appreciate that very much. So you do what you do – grab a towel and sleep on that, and then you’re awake for another hour trying to get your sleep back, and you wake up in the morning feeling unrested and quite disgusting.
Aside from the night sweats, it was taking me forever to fall asleep at night. That’s not unusual for my anxiety-ridden very noisy, very-busy-trying-to-solve-the-world’s-problems-from-my-side of the-bed-typical self, but it was different and I could feel it. It wasn’t just my mind. Something was going on in my body.
Add to that the fact that my husband and I were trying to get pregnant with our second and I kept either not getting pregnant, or having chemical pregnancies.
I talked to my dear friend and doctor of functional and integrative medicine, Dr. Dawn DeSylvia,and she recommended something called Seed Cycling.
“Seed what?” I remember thinking.
Seed cycling is an ancient practice the origins of which I’m not entirely certain. It involves ingesting specific seeds (which I’ll get into) throughout specific times of the month (which I’ll get into) to promote either the increase or support of estrogen or progesterone, the two sex hormones that play a huge role in both getting and staying pregnant, among other things.
When they are out of balance, it can cause infertility, night sweats, trouble sleeping, hair loss, dry skin, increased menopausal symptoms, and a whole host of other symptoms.
Are you nodding your head along? Do you recognize yourself in some of these symptoms?
Great. Well, not great. But also….yes…great, because seed cycling just may be able to help you.
Let’s go back a minute to my inability to either get or stay pregnant.
I decided to give this seed cycling a try, while also consulting the help of my acupuncturist (an angel on earth named Dr. Mike Maguire, if ever you’re looking for someone in LA to help you with hormones or any other imbalance you may have).
I worked with Dr. Mike once every other week to help me chill the eff out, and I started seed cycling.
I was absolutely blown away by the results, and for me, they were immediate.
When I started the seeds, I was about 5 days away from getting my period. I began seed cycling and my period didn’t come. This may seem like an undesirable outcome, but from what Dr. DeSylvia had told me about seed cycling – and from my research – I was told that it was optimal to bleed on the new moon and ovulate on the full moon for maximum fertility. That’s not to say that you must ovulate on the full moon to get pregnant – and surely many women cycle in reverse – but for optimal fertility, that’s what the research suggests.
My period was 5 days late. 6 days. 7 days. 8 days.
Now, this wasn’t unusual for me, because my period has never been regular since the day it started when I was 13.
Finally, on the 8th day – my period came.
I looked at the calendar.
It was the first day of the new moon.
“Huh,” I thought to myself. Must be a coincidence.
But then I began tracking my ovulation. And do you want to take a guess when that stick I peed on showed me when I was ovulating?
The first day of the full moon.
I thought it was a coincidence, but then my night sweats went away. And I started sleeping better.
I gave it another month.
Same thing happened: I bled on the new moon and ovulated on the full moon.
I gave it another month. Same thing.
I would have given it a fourth month, but I couldn’t, because by the fourth month, I was pregnant.
And I stayed pregnant.
As if that weren’t crazy enough, I got pregnant during a 2 ½ month long evacuation from our home during a wildfire. Stressed much? Couch surfing with my husband and 2 ½ year old with the only belongings we had grabbed the morning we got the evacuation orders that left us with an hour to pack up and leave? You bet I was stressed!
We were on our second of what would eventually be four houses in our evacuation journey (at that point, we still weren’t cleared to go back into our neighborhood and it had been 10 days), and I was ovulating.
“We can’t try now!” I told my husband, “It just didn’t feel right.”
“Well, we tried when times were good,” he told me, “Why not now? This little soul is going to choose when to come into the world. It’s not up to us.”
I shrugged my shoulders and, well, I’ll spare you the rest of the details.
Suffice it to say that 9 ½ months later, my son Liam came blazing into the world (and I do mean blazing. I went into labor at 5am and he was born at 7:52am that same day. We barely made it to the hospital. But that’s a story for another day).
SO – am I saying that seed cycling can help you get pregnant? No. Am I saying that seed cycling can stop your night sweats or help you sleep better or any of the other things I mentioned? Also no.
But am I saying that it’s possible that it could have similar effects for you, that it could help to balance your hormones, that it could help to uncover some underlying issues keeping you from being in your best health. Am I saying you should maybe consider trying it?
Yes. Yes I am.
So…what the heck is seed cycling and how does it work its magic?
But, in case you’d rather read about it (or do both), here is how it works.
You can either go along with your current cycle or you can choose to cycle with the lunar calendar. For the purposes of clearly explaining how it works, I’m going to tell you the lunar calendar way.
From the New Moon to the Full Moon, you will take estrogen promoting seeds. They are:
From the Full Moon to the New Moon, you will take progesterone promoting seeds. They are:
The easiest way to consume them is to throw them in a smoothie, or grind them up and put them in a salad or sprinkle them over your favorite savory food (like a Buddha bowl, curry, whatever your heart can concoct) or even over an acai bowl (wow, that was a long sentence).
It’s important that the seeds are not cooked, so make sure to consume them raw. Make sure they are organic, and if possible, grind them up before consuming. That’s when the oils are the most potent. But if you can’t make that happen, taking them whole is fine. Just be sure to chew a lot – more than you normally would.
What will begin to happen for you is going to be your unique experience.
When I tested out seed cycling with a group of 40 women, I had reports of everything from periods becoming regular to stomach aches to acne to no changes or symptoms at all.
The idea with seed cycling is to bring the body back into its natural rhythms, and in doing so, it can help to reveal certain blockages in detox pathways or other conditions you may not have been aware of, among other results.
Tune into my episode with Dr. Dawn DeSylvia to hear more, including who seed cycling is for (spoiler alert: it’s not just for women), and exactly how seed cycling works to bring the body back into balance. We also discuss the importance of hormones as the orchestrator of the rest of the systems in the body, and touch a little bit on intermittent fasting, which can also have positive effects on balancing hormones.
If you have questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be happy to answer whatever questions I can, or to pass them along to Dr. DeSylvia on your behalf.
Cheers to balancing your hormones, mamas!
Lots of love,