Balancing Hormones Naturally with Seed Cycling

Posted on Jun 16, 2013 in Blog, DIY Beauty | 43 comments

Balancing Hormones Naturally with Seed Cycling

After a recent trip to see my naturopathic doctor (with a whole slew of hormone-related complaints in tow) I learned that it’s possible to balance hormones naturally with a process called “seed cycling.” Seed cycling is essentially the addition of various seeds to the diet during different phases of the female reproductive cycle to promote a healthy balance of hormones in the body.

Ladies, if you feel like hormones are ruling your life or if you suffer from menstrual cramps, back aches, PMS, fatigue, headaches, irregular cycles, food cravings, acne, bloating, or anxiety then this article is for you! It turns out that just because these symptoms are common doesn’t mean they are normal or necessary. It’s possible to balance your hormones naturally and eliminate painful and frustrating symptoms with seed cycling.

While this is an article geared toward women about women’s bodies, it is also an article for all you gents out there who know, respect, and love women (and their bodies) and will pass this helpful info on to them.

First a bit about how hormones work in the female body.

Menstrual Cycle & Hormone Balance

Lunar Chart for the Menstrual Cycle

Lunar Chart for the Menstrual Cycle

There are two key hormones that regulate the female reproductive cycle: estrogen and progesterone. During the first phase of the cycle, from the first day of the period through ovulation (days 1 to 14) estrogen levels increase and dominate. During the second phase of the cycle (days 14 to 28 or so) estrogen levels slowly decrease while progesterone increases.


“It is the imbalance of estrogen and progesterone throughout the cycle that contributes to the symptoms of PMS, menstrual cramps and irregular cycles.”Dr. Kristy Vermeulen, ND

Seed Cycling & How It Works

Seed cycling is a way to help the body naturally balance its hormone levels by incorporating different seeds into the diet during the different phases of the menstrual cycle. By simply adding pumpkin, flax, sunflower, or sesame seeds to the diet at the right time in your cycle, you can assist the body in either producing more of a needed hormone OR processing and eliminating excess hormones.

Balancing Hormones Naturally with Seed Cycling -

Phase 1: Follicular Phase (Days 1-14)

Day 1 of your cycle is the day that menstruation begins. The two weeks that follow make up the follicular phase, during which pumpkin seeds and flax seeds provide the body with omega-3 fatty acids which promote healthy cell membranes, allowing hormones to reach their destinations within the body. Additionally, pumpkin seeds are high in zinc which supports progesterone release and flax seeds contain lignans which block excess estrogen. The combination of pumpkin and flax seeds during phase 1 of your cycle helps to balance estrogen production and absorption in the body.

  • During this phase, take 2 Tablespoons daily of raw pumpkin and flax seeds. I like to take 1 Tablespoon of each. Some doctors recommend that you grind the seeds prior to consuming them to make sure that the lignans are adequately available for absorption by your intestines. My doctor told me this was optional, so decide what works best for you.
  • In addition to these two seeds, the seed cycling regimen also calls for taking a daily fish oil supplement during this phase. Aim to get 1500-2000 mg of EPA/DHA daily. To accomplish this I take 3 capsules a day of Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega. This is an excellent, high quality fish oil but you can use whatever you have. The key is to check the bottle for its EPA & DHA content and make sure you get a minimum combined total of 1500 to 2000 mg daily.

Phase 2: Luteal Phase (Days 15-28)

Ovulation marks Phase 2 of your cycle around day 15 and marks a shift from estrogen production to progesterone production. During this phase sesame seeds and sunflower seeds support the natural balance and production of hormones in the body. Sesame seeds, which also contain lignans, help to block excess estrogen while sunflower seeds provide the body with selenium, a trace mineral that assists the liver in detoxification.

  • During this phase, take 2 Tablespoons daily of raw sesame seeds and sunflower seeds (again, I like to take 1 Tablespoon of each), preferably ground.
  • Some doctors recommend that you take Evening Primrose Oil during Phase 2 of your cycle as an omega-6 supplement. I am not doing this. Instead, I’m taking fish oil all month long (as suggested by my doc). Ask your naturopathic doctor what he or she recommends.
Balancing Hormones Naturally with Seed Cycling -

Pumpkin, Flax, and Sesame Seeds

The process of balancing your hormones naturally with seed cycling doesn’t happen overnight. While you may begin to see changes sooner, it generally takes 3 months before you see significant changes in your symptoms. Be patient and take good care of yourself during this time by drinking lots of water, getting regular exercise, and eating your greens! I’ve been practicing seed cycling for over a month now and I already see some changes. I’m having fewer breakouts (hooray!), fewer PMS symptoms, and fewer migraines. I am excited to stick with this regimen and see how my body continues to heal and find balance.

Ideas for Adding Seeds to Your Diet

  • A KRUPS Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder makes the process of grinding seeds simple & easy. You can grind them daily or grind them for each phase of your cycle and store them in the refrigerator.
  • My favorite ways to incorporate seeds into my diet is to sprinkle them on cereal, veggies, and salads or blend them into smoothies.
  • Sesame seeds are delicious when sprinkled on ice cream.
  • Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are easy to eat plain and make a great on-the-go snack.
  • In a pinch, you can add your ground seeds to a glass of juice, nut milk, or water and drink immediately.
  • Try making hormone balancing Larabars by adding the seeds you need into my recipe for Simple Homemade Larabars.
  • Raw tahini is a great way to add sesame seeds to your diet. Add it to salad dressing, hummus, or spread it on crackers!

Further Reading

Here are a few helpful links to check out if you’d like to learn more about balancing your hormones naturally with seed cycling:

Dr. Kristy – Balancing Hormones with Seed Cycling

Mountain Lake Wellness – Seed Cycling for Hormone Balancing

Lindsay Buchanan – Seed Cycling for Hormone Balance

Get Started:

The information on this blog is provided for educational purposes only. I am not a medical physician, registered dietician, herbalist, or trained chef (although that would be fun). The views expressed in this blog are mine alone, based on a variety of researched resources and personal experience, and are not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. and its owners do not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of content available on the site. As always, please consult your physician before making any changes to your diet, lifestyle, or exercise program.


  1. would this also work with menopause women?
    Could you gear to the direction to find out, maybe?

    I find this very interesting, as I would rather not take drugs.


    • Hi Lisa, My honest answer is that I don’t know. I’d recommend checking with a naturopathic doctor on this one. Good luck!

    • My sister told me (from research and talking with her midwife) that it can work for menopausal women, using the lunar cycle for the days you take each thing. The new moon equates with the first day of your period; the full moon equates with the time of ovulation. Her midwife told her to try to get her period to start at the new moon by sleeping with curtains open during the 3 days surrounding the full moon. I’m not sure what benefit this is, but….

  2. Would this work if you soak the seeds as well? To make them easier to digest, I’ve read a lot on soaking seeds and nuts if you eat them in excess


    • You could certainly try soaking them. Not sure what the phytic acid content is, however, on these particular seeds, but sprouted things sure are good for you!

  3. Love this post – it’s so interesting and now I can’t help but not want to ask my own doc!! Thanks for sharing :)

  4. Would black sesame seeds work during the luteal phase as well, do you think?

  5. Thanks for posting this– I talked to a naturopath friend about it a few years ago but for some reason never started. It’s great to get a refresher on the information, and to get your homemade larabar recipe!

  6. Is this something to continue indefinitely or would a few months of seed cycling balance your hormones? Right now I eat pumpkin seeds all month (and no other seeds) I wonder if that is adding to the imbalance?

    • I think a few months might be enough to get you in balance. At the same time, seeds are always a great addition to a healthy diet!

  7. thanks for sharing dear.
    i have a question, my cycle is very irregular , i have bleeding or spotting most of the time in a month , they are mostly long..can i still us this way of seed cycling .?

    • want to add that i have added veggies, and fruits in my diet, also trying to conceive..

    • Some women who have irregular cycles choose to sync their cycles up to the moon’s cycle. To do this, you’d begin flax/pumpkin on the new moon and switch on the full moon.

  8. Great article! I was wondering, do you happen to know, if I´m not currently having a period (at 23 years old), when I should begin the cycling and on which group of seeds? My goal is to finally get my period back! :)

    Thanks for the insight!

    • Try syncing it up with the moon cycle, starting on the first day of the new moon.

  9. My cycle is currently only 21 days; should I split the seed cycle into 11 days each?

    • I probably can’t officially advise you on this…That said, use your judgment and experiment to see what works best for you.

    • Personally I would detect ovulation with LH strips and daily basal body temperatures and base it off when you ovulate.

    • Sharon, its usually more common that the luteal phase is the shorter part of your period if you have a less than 28 day cycle (meaning usually ovulation is prob around 14 days unless the problem is with your ovulation cycle which seems less likely if your period is regular), but you should try the basal temperature taking method to see roughly when your ovulation is occurring, and then switching seeds according to that.

  10. I’m curious to hear your feedback on this. Looks like this was posted June 2013 and wondering if this helped you at all? I’m currently working with a naturopath to help balance my hormones naturally and he has never mentioned this. Sound easy enough though and would be an easy addition to my morning shakes. My cycle will be starting within the next few days so I think I’ll give this a try … it can’t hurt.

  11. Just wondering if this might help someone who has absolutely lost interest in the opposite sex? I’m only 42 and it has just dissappeared :(

  12. Thanks for sharing this information, I have decided to start my seed cycling today because my menstruation is in regular and am trying to conceive. I also experience hot flushing because my FSH is high.Hope this work for me.

    • if you decide to use evening primrose oil, don’t use it after ovulation because it can cause the uterus to contract and you won’t want this is you are trying to concieve! :-)

  13. Lovely article very useful. My mum always suggested eating sesame seeds . I will definitely try the seed cycling .

  14. Started the last full moon, it has already helped my Endometrosis pain. Hopeful will get pregnant soon.

  15. It definitely is required to use GROUND flax seed and not the whole seed. Your doctor is misinformed. Our bodies cannot digest whole flax seeds. Even the Mayo clinic recommends grinding flax seeds before consuming.

    Seed cycling is an interesting idea. I have been taking two tablespoons of ground organic flax seed meal mixed in almond milk every day for two months and my luteal phase has lengthened by four days. I also haven’t had PMS and virtually no period cramps since taking flax seed meal. It has given me such great results that I will never be without it. Here’s another link to an informative article on flax seed:

  16. Thank you so much for posting this. I was having unbearable (and embarrassing!) gas and bloating, as well as mood swings. I finally realized it was probably due to a hormonal imbalance. I began this regimen and within one month the symptoms are nearly gone! I can’t believe it! I have been suffering with this my whole life and it was so easy to remedy! I only wish more women were aware!

  17. I have a hormone imbalance. This sounds great. I have been thinking about getting pregnant. If I did, how would this work? Would I keep cycling seeds as if I was still on my cycle? Or would it not matter while pregnant? My hope would be that somehow I could be more balanced while pregnant and then again after!

  18. Is seed cycling useful for pcod and thyroid problems also..?i want to concieve naturally ..pls help..

  19. Does it need to be the whole seed or does the oil of some of these seeds work?

    • Good question. Unfortunately, I’m not sure. I tend to think that less refined is better (i.e. whole seed) but I have no idea honestly.

      • i am 38 years old.i want to get pragnent but my AMH is very low.and irregular cycle. please give me your valuable opinion.

  20. I’m 38. Would this diet reduce the chance of ovarian and breast cyst formation?

    • Leyla, that’d be a good question for a doc. I’m not qualified to answer it, sorry!

  21. Thankyou for your great information
    I would like to know whether during periods seed cycling can be done.. pls rply soon

  22. Hi there, I’m on provera for 3 years, diagnosed w/pcos. I’ve decided to try seed cycling, it seems interesting so I’ve stopped taking pills. the first 2 months of trying it did work for me, but after 3 months ( soon to be 4) it’s not working…I’m not married and still single, I just want to get healthy naturally. Do you think it will work again? as I’m taking it continuously following the 28days.

  23. Hiya,witht the seed cycling does it mean that you shouldn’t eat phase 1 seeds in phase 2 and vice versa?


  24. Is this helpful remedy for pcos

  25. Alexandra,
    Wondering how this worked for you since it has been a couple years?
    Are you still practicing the seed cycling?

    In addition to seed cycling, have you found anything else in the last 2 years that help balance the hormones?

    Thanks for any advice:)


  27. Plz I request u who post this…plz plz tell me about any naturopathic…to whom I may contact about my hormonal situation and treatment….plz I am very desperate and worried about my condition plz do help me plz…plz inform me

  28. My naturopath just prescribed this to me. I have a slightly longer follicular phase (usually o ~ day 18) but she told me this may help to o earlier if i switch the seeds @ day 15. i have only been doing this for 2 weeks and about to start my next cycle, but it seems to be helping with my mood swings and cramps leading into day 1. Hoping this will help with getting pregnant after two miscarriages. FYI, she told me that the sesame/sunflower combo would continue into pregnancy once that occurs due to its ability to aid in progesterone.


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