A Tea for Fertility
Can Special Tea Preparations Help Me Conceive?
A cursory survey of any “tea shelf” at your local grocery mart or health food store should quickly dispel any old-school belief that all teas are alike. The age when Lipton or Early Gray was synonymous with tea is long past. Today, there is a unique tea (or herbal melange) for nearly every biological function, from detoxing the body and calming the mind to cold cures, sleep aids, mental energizers, respiratory supporters, cholesterol suppressors, digestion enhancers, and constant-comment facilitators. And the list goes on.
Clearly, any “simple” notion of tea has today been refracted through the prism of herbal supplementation into a wide spectrum of health-specific “flavors” or symptom-specific “cures”. So, for women who are trying-to-conceive or who are already pregnant, the first question should be: “Is the particular tea I’m looking at safe for my baby?” Or more precisely, “Is it okay to drink a particular tea while I’m TCC, pregnant, or nursing”.
The answer to the question may reside in fine print on the particular box or packaging. Some teas are not only safe, but even recommended – witness the number of nutritive “pregnancy teas” on the market designed to support a healthful, balanced 9 Months. On the other hand, not all herbs are safe during pregnancy or when you are TTC and, by implication, teas containing certain herbs are clearly contraindicated. The packaging “should” provide some kind of warning or a general disclaimer to consult with your doctor before consuming. When in doubt, do some research, talk to a naturopath, or call your doctor’s office.
Back to the Tea Basics: Green Tea. Green tea is tea – or what we traditionally define tea to be – and should not be confused with countless other herbal ingredients found in various products offering “blends” of herbs. Just to quickly clarify, the difference between green tea and black tea is not the leaf itself, but the time interval the tea leaf is allowed to ferment. Thus, black teas ferment longer and contain more caffeine. Green teas, alternately, are made from unfermented leaves and have a fraction of the caffeine (only 1/25th of a cup of coffee). And green tea also contain the highest amount of a natural, potent antioxidant agent family called polyphenols.
What are Polyphenols? Polyphenols are healthful chemical components of green tea that exhibit powerful antioxidant qualities. Antioxidants help cleanse the body by eliminating damaging “free radicals”, and green tea is very rich in antioxidants (even more so than many antioxidant-containing vitamins). If you have heard recent news about the possible anti-cancer attributes of green tea, it is the polyphenols (and more specifically a type of polyphenol called cathechins) that are thought to be the cancer-fighting agents that inhibit certain enzymes that may be responsible for tumor growth.
Green Tea & Fertility: While green tea offers a number of documented health benefits, it also may support your chances of conceiving! As noted above, green tea contains antioxidants – and these antioxidant properties may support fertility health by mitigating and repairing the “oxidative damage” that occurs as a result of toxins in our food, water, and environment, aging, and bodily stress. A recent study found that drinking 1/2 cup or more of green tea daily doubled the odds of conceiving per discrete menstrual cycle!
Green Tea, Vitex & Fertilitea: Along with green tea, another recognized “fertility herb” is vitex agnus castus, or chasteberry. Vitex is often recommended by naturopaths as a safe TTC herb for women with hormonal imbalances, irregular cycles, or shortened luteal phases (the second half the of the cycle). Vitex it thought to stimulate and bring into balance the hormones that govern your menstrual cycle. Vitex may help regulate pituitary gland function and support the balance between estrogen and progesterone. There has been much research dedicated to the fertility-enhancing properties of vitex, and vitex is one of the key ingredients in fertility supplement products like FertilAid for Women, as well as Fertilitea. While vitex may be used by all women, women suffering from ovulation issues, PCOS, or LPD (luteal phase defect) may derive benefits from vitex-containing supplements like FertilAId.
Fertilitea is a herbal tea that we carry that contains both green tea and vitex. In addition to these fertility supporting ingredients, Fertilitea also blends Red Raspberry Leaf (regarded for its ability to help tone the uterus) and Ladies Mantle (also through to bring balance to the cycle). Rounding off the Fertilitea ingredient list is Nettle Leaf, which offers a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including Calcium – a mineral that impacts conception and the maintenance of pregnancy. Equally important for health-minded TTC couples, Fertilitea contains only organic or wildcrafted ingredients – and no additives or preservatives. Once you discover you are pregnant, discontinue Fertilitea and switch to a healthful pregnancy tea!