what is seed cycling?
Seed cycling is a gentle way of supporting your hormones using various seeds throughout different phases of your menstrual cycle. This holistic approach utilizes the nutrients naturally existing in specific seeds to tenderly assist the female reproductive and endocrine system in healing imbalances.
Our bodies are ever-changing; we have different needs at different times of the month. Seed cycling not only aids in hormone production and regulation, it also creates the awareness of the changes occurring. Once we start paying attention to those fluctuations, we learn how to better support ourselves.
When we step back into our roots as women (& menstruating bodies), we are reclaiming the awareness and power of the divine feminine. Seed cycling can be viewed as a way to honor just that as well as practice self-love with the intention of healing and harmonizing the body's systems that work synergistically, inside and out.
Come back into sync with nature, with the moon, and most importantly, with yourself.
Replenish your roots.
Some of the benefits of seed cycling include:
Helps balance hormone levels
Combats hormonal-related acne
Provides relief to PMS and perimenopause symptoms
Creates stability around irregular periods
Stimulates menstruation (if absent or what’s known as amenorrhea)
Supports fertility health
Adds support in healing more serious conditions like ovarian cysts, PCOS and endometriosis
Great source of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and fiber
Helps relieve water retention
A quick breakdown of your cycle
There are two main phases that makeup the menstrual cycle:
follicular phase (begins with menstruation)
luteal phase (begins with ovulation)
Dating back to ancient times, ideologies involving the menstrual cycle claimed the two phases of the menstrual cycle would align with the cycles of the moon. Phase one meant menstruating with the new moon and phase two began with the full moon. Although this 28-day cycle would lend itself to sync perfectly with the moon, having each phase last roughly 14 days, that isn’t always the case, nowadays especially. Given that the average cycle can last anywhere from 21 - 35 days (1), every menstruating woman is going to experience her cycle in a different way. That being said, there are a number of variables which could lead to hormonal imbalances which ultimately affect the length and strength of menstruation.
Our hormones are severely influenced by diet, exercise, sleep, stress levels, and environmental toxins. Another factor is our connection (or disconnection) to nature, which significantly plays into our ability to maintain our circadian rhythms, or the natural sleep/wake cycles that act in accordance with sunlight and sun fall.
Living in a world where stress and being overworked is the norm, where we play into convenience in that we consume a large number of processed goods regularly, where we are bombarded by thousands of toxins (if not more) that enter our systems daily and a in world where slowing down is perceived as being unproductive, it makes perfect sense that our hormones are thrown completely out of whack (2). It has become a commonality amongst those who are menstruating to experience consequential hormonal imbalances, excruciating pains, and other agonizing symptoms related to the cycle and overall reproductive system.
The aim for the practice of seed cycling is to naturally help your body hormonally get back on track, allowing nature to do the guiding.
Let’s dive in.
How to Seed Cycle
Follicular Phase: (Day 1 of cycle to day 14):
Consume 1 TBSP of flax seeds + 1 TBSP of pumpkin seeds
or 2 TBSP of Follicular Blend
Starting with menstruation, the body is shedding blood and endometrium (the lining of the uterus) through the cervix and the vagina. Follicles are the sacs in your ovaries that contain eggs; during this part of the cycle, the follicles selected for the month begin to grow. At the beginning of your cycle, estrogen and progesterone levels are low. Estrogen levels start low and steadily increase to help the uterine lining thicken to prepare for ovulation and possible implantation. Additionally, the brain releases the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which provokes the growth of follicles in the ovaries in anticipation of ovulation (3).
Consuming seeds that contain phytoestrogens, or plant-based sources which naturally mimic estrogen, help the body to balance estrogen levels, increasing and decreasing in the body where needed. Because these seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, this can help reduce inflammation as well as regulate FSH (4).
+ PUMPKIN =
Great source of minerals such as: good source of magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc and copper. Also high in antioxidants, vitamin E and healthy fats (omega 3 and omega 6), all of which are essential for healthy hormone production (5)
+ FLAX =
High in omega-3’s, high in lignans (which help regulate estrogen production) and rich in Zinc which helps prep the body for progesterone secretion occurring in the following phase (3) Provides fiber to support healthy estrogen metabolism and assist in waste removal.
Luteal Phase: (Day 15 - day 28 or start of your cycle):
Consume 1 TBSP of sesame seeds + 1 TBSP of sunflower seeds
or 2 TBSP of Luteal Blend
This phase starts with ovulation or when an egg is released from the ovary into the fallopian tube. The ovulation spike is caused when estrogen levels are high enough, it sends signals to the brain causing a dramatic increase in the luteinizing hormone (LH). (10)
Following ovulation, estrogen levels drop and the follicle that released the egg develops into a small yellow structure, or cyst, called the corpus luteum which secretes both progesterone and estrogen. Rising levels of progesterone cause the endometrium to stop thickening and to start preparing for the potential egg fertilization.(10)
If the egg is not fertilized and an embryo does not implant, the corpus luteum will deteriorate about 9 and 11 days after ovulation. This promotes a drastic drop in progesterone and estrogen levels, which cause the tissue of the endometrium to break down leads which then ultimately leads to menstruation. And the cycle continues!
**Through these hormonal fluctuations, if estrogen levels remain too high, this is a major factor in what causes PMS symptoms and/or other issues in the cycle entirely. Progesterone helps harmonize estrogen levels which is why supporting progesterone during this time is essential for achieving balance (6).
***Progesterone stimulates the GABA receptor in the brain which helps to control feelings of fear and anxiety. Some symptoms of a progesterone imbalance could be feeling irritable, sad, anxious and/or issues getting restful sleep (7).
+ SESAME =
High in omega-6’s (which the body converts into GLA or gamma-linolenic acid) needed in supporting progesterone levels and reducing PMS related inflammation and high in selenium which supports liver function assisting with proper detoxification and hormone excretion (8)
+ SUNFLOWER =
High in vitamin E which supports progesterone production as well as contains folate and B12 which help to form hemoglobin in red blood cells. High in selenium which helps detox the liver of excess estrogen.(9)
This easy-to-incorporate practice can promote healing on a number of fronts in the body. With virtually no side-effects, this health modality can work wonders for your feminine cycle and reproductive system.
A Few Notes on Seeds
Because these seeds are high in fats, they can easily oxidize when left in the sunlight and warmer temps. Please keep seeds stored in a cool, dark place, or store in the fridge (or freezer but portion as needed).
I always use organic raw seeds (unroasted, unsalted/seasoned) to ensure maximum medicinal properties.
Seeds blends should be consumed in their raw form (not cooked) as heat can cause seeds to run rancid. If topping seeds on cooked meals, allow time for food temperature to settle.
Seeds pair well as an oatmeal topping, an avocado toast or nut butter toast topping, in yogurt, blended into a smoothie, on a salad (in dressing) or over sautéed vegetables … more ideas to come!
Additionally, our seeds are freshly ground the day of shipment to help maintain maximal freshness.
I recommend easing into seed consumption slowly over a few days to give the body the space to adjust.
It is also recommended to give this protocol about 3-4 months to allow change within the body. Nature can take its time!
For maximum health benefits, the practice of seed cycling should be combined with a healthy balanced diet, exercise and mindfulness.
The blends are not substitutions for medication or other health treatments.
Always work with a qualified healthcare practitioner before beginning any supplementation, especially if pregnant.