You probably don’t need a reason to heat the kettle and steep your favorite tea. After all, wrapping your hands around a warm mug of tea feels great. But teas can also be helpful for symptoms of hormone imbalances—from hypothyroidism, cramps during PMS, and PCOS-related acne all the way to menopause.
Starting your day with coffee? Green tea makes for a great alternative. Most varieties have some caffeine—but less than a cup of joe—so it’ll help you perk up without any of the jitters. Plus, drinking green tea twice a day has been linked to lower risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Not going through menopause yet? Green tea has plenty of antioxidants, and therefore, plenty of health benefits.
The flavonoids in green tea offer up protection against eye conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma. It can lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and may help shield you against UV rays. (But you should still slather on sunscreen!)
Another benefit of green tea? It’s great if you’re dealing with hormonal acne. High levels of androgen hormones are common in polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS. These androgens increase the amount of sebum, or oil, produced by the skin. The pores become clogged, and persistent hormonal acne becomes an issue for many women. Green tea has a polyphenol called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG. EGCG can help with skin health, including sebum production.
Ginger already has quite the reputation as a miracle worker. Its top bioactive compound is gingerol. Gingerol is a strong antioxidant, which helps reduce free radicals that cause cellular damage. For many years, ginger’s been used in Ayurvedic medicine to help with nausea and digestion, reduce inflammation, and stimulate circulation. Studies have pointed to ginger hindering ovarian cancer cell growth, helping regulate hormones with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and lowering fasting blood glucose in those with type 2 diabetes.
One way ginger may help hormones is by improving gut health. Ginger promotes production of hydrochloric acid, which helps you digest fats and proteins. Good gut motility—the rate things move through your gut—can be a lifesaver for constipation from perimenopause, menopause, or hypothyroidism.
Pouring a steamy cup of tea can feel calming—and even more so if it’s chamomile. Chamomile is a great stress-fighter and even lowers levels of stress hormones, like cortisol. Adding it to your nighttime routine, along with other mind-body therapies like Epsom salt baths and yoga, can let you get a good night’s rest.
Part of the reason chamomile tea is so helpful is that it regulates dopamine and serotonin. These often get called “love” or “happy” hormones. But serotonin is also a precursor to the hormone melatonin, which is essential to falling sleep. Chamomile tea also has anti-spasmodic and relaxing properties. These lend a serious hand with pain—making it the perfect thing to reach for during premenstrual syndrome, or PMS.