Herbs and the oral contraceptive pill
What supplements should not be taken while using the oral contraceptive pill?
Supplements and the oral contraceptive pill
- Some phytoestrogen herbs are not recommended due to there hormone modulating effects. This is because phytoestrogens have the ability to mimic estrogens in the body. If you are taking an estrogen OCP then the two of them may work against each other.
- The herb St Johns Wort is one which is not recommended for use concurrently with the OCP, this is because they are both absorbed through the same enzyme pathways in the liver which means that the effectiveness of the OCP may be diminshed.
- Dietary fiber such as slippery elm, psyllium, guar gum, apple pectin, wheat bran, flax seed oil and oat bran may have an effect on decreasing the absorption of the OCP by speeding up its passage through digestion.
- Vitex is a herb which is not recommended to use concurrently withe the OCP
- Most people will take the OCP first thing in the morning or last thing at night to reduce any interactions with absorption and foods.
Effect of the oral contraceptive pill
The oral contraceptive pill (OCP) can be a combination of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. It is often a good idea to check whether any herbal supplements you may be taken will interefer with the absorption and utilisation of the OCP.
The oral contraceptive pill depletes these nutrients in the body
- B Vitamins and Folic acid
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
Phytoestrogen herbs and foods
The following is a list of phytoestrogen herbs and foods:
- Herbs: Mexican Wild Yam, Black Cohosh, Red Clover, Licorice, Sage, False Unicorn, Maca
- Legumes: Soybeans
- Seeds: Flax Seeds, Sesame Seeds
Herbs which modulate hormones
Herbs which have a hormonal modulating effect on the Pituitary gland (the master hormone gland in the brain) are:
- Vitex, Dong Quai, Paeony, Blue Cohosh, Raspberry, Black Cohosh, False Unicorn, Maca, Blessed Thistle, Beth Root, Saw Palmetto, Shatavari, Ashwaganda, Ladys Mantle
These herbs are not directly contraindicated with birth control pills, however it is recommended to seek the advise of a Healthcare professional if you want to take any reproductive herbs. Some can be used safely and successfully in conjunction. The herb St Johns Wort does not have hormonal modulating effects or phytoestrogen properties, however it is contraindicated for use while taking the OCP, this is because this herb and the OCP are absorbed through the same enzyme pathway in the liver. Taking them concurrently may decrease the effectiveness of the OCP.