What is seed cycling?
Seed cycling is one of the easiest “medicines” for hormonal health. It is recommended for a wide variety of issues, such as irregular periods, amenorrhea, PCOS, endometriosis, low progesterone, and more. It is simple, fairly easy to do, all-natural, no side-effects (unless you have allergies to one of the seeds). What do you need? Just four seeds. Two – pumpkin and flax seeds – are taken during the first 14 days of your cycle (follicular phase). The other two – sunflower and sesame seeds – are taken from day 15 to 28 (luteal phase). Their specific content will help balance your hormones in each phase, leading to positive effects like less PMS, more regular periods, less acne, and more.
How it’s done?
Days 1-14 (follicular phase)
During these days you want to support healthy estrogen levels – the seeds help increase estrogen but they also help your body metabolize this important hormone. This way you avoid excess estrogen, while also making sure you have enough of it for a healthy cycle.
How to do it? Easy. Each day for the first 14 days of your menstrual cycle you take 1-2 tablespoons of freshly grounded pumpkin and flaxseeds. You can take them as they are, or use them in yogurt or smoothies if you don’t like their plain taste. Do not ground large quantities because they oxidize rather quickly and they’ll lose their properties.
Still not convinced? This study from 2007 found that the consumption of flaxseed was beneficial for women with PCOS. Apparently, women who consume these seeds can experience a positive shift in their androgens – which cause the dreaded hair loss and hirsutism among other issues. Another study shows that these seeds can help reduce and event prevent cyclical breast pain.
In the second part of your cycle, the luteal phase, you will leave aside the pumpkin and flaxseeds and move on to sunflower and sesame seeds. The quantities are the same as before. Also, the warning about oxidation remains, so don’t ground large quantities. In this phase, you want a healthy level of progesterone. Sesame seeds are proven to be beneficial in supporting women’s hormones, especially progesterone. If you have healthy levels of this hormone, you can get less PMS symptoms like bloating, mood swings or insomnia. Sesame seeds can also be good for women going through menopause. Sunflower seeds have similar properties, and together the two are the perfect combination for a healthy luteal phase.
What if I don’t have a period? Or if I have irregular periods?
For irregular periods, the first temptation when seed cycling might be to stay in one phase until you know you’re in the next one. If you practice the fertility awareness method and know exactly when you ovulate, this might be an even bigger temptation. In order to get the full benefits of this practice and to try to have more regular periods, you should stick to the 14 days cycling period.
If you are dealing with amenorrhea, you can start where you are and consider that day 1 then count from there. Alternatively, you can use the moon phases. For instance, many women consider the new moon as day 1 and change seeds at the full moon. If you prefer you can start counting on the full moon and switch seeds at the new moon. This is easier because you don’t have to keep counting every day and if you lose count you just check the moon phases. It is also a way to try and bring your body closer to cycling with the moon.
If you have a very regular cycle which is longer (or shorter) than 28 days, but still within a healthy length (21-35 days) and you don’t want to change that, you could seed cycle according to your real phases. For this, you would have to use the fertility awareness method to make sure you know exactly when you ovulate. If you want to start charting, I offer a free pdf to help you learn the basics of the fertility awareness method to all the subscribers of my mailing list (I promise to never spam you!)
Can I eat other types of seeds/mix them?
You can eat other types of seeds, but it is better not to mix the four one involved in the actual seed cycling. Of course, it won’t be a tragedy if you order a salad and it has a type of seeds from the other phase. But as a general rule, try not to mix them.
What to do in case of allergies?
You could simply remove the seeds you are allergic to. Replacements get tricky. Some replace flax seeds with chia seeds. However, there isn’t enough data regarding the efficiency of chia seeds, so I can’t promise miracles.
How long does it take to see results?
Usually fairly long. This is not a miracle pill (those don’t exist). Natural “food medicine” takes a lot of time to act. You will need to be consistent for a few months before you see results. Yes, it can get hard if you travel, for instance, especially grounding your seeds. I have however talked to many women who eat their seeds just as they are, no grounding, and still saw improvement in their overall well-being. So if all else fails, especially while traveling, you can just eat the seeds as they are.
Learn to chart to better see the results of seed cycling
Charting (or using the fertility awareness method) is a great way to see the results of seed cycling, especially for those with irregular cycles, anovulation, or luteal phase defect. Check out my mini e-book to learn the basics of charting.