What is seed cycling?
The Seed Cycling Protocol is a technique that involves using specific seeds at a specific time of the month to help balance your key cycle-regulating hormones: estrogen and progesterone.
An imbalance in these hormones can produce many symptoms including PMS, acne, menstrual cramps, irregular or missed periods, heavy flow, breast tenderness, bloating and mood swings.
Your cycle 101:
Your cycle consists of two phases: follicular and luteal. During the first half of your cycle, or follicular phase, levels of estrogen rise in order for the lining of your uterus to thicken. In the second half or luteal phase, progesterone levels dominate to ensure we maintain the endometrial lining to support pregnancy. If the absence of an embryo, both hormone levels drop, which brings on a period and the cycle starts all over again.
Seeds contain various amounts of lignans and essential fatty acids. Lignans act as hormone modulators, that help either boost hormone production if it’s low or reduce it if it’s high. Essential fatty acids act as building blocks that help manufacture the hormones you need. Using different seeds at different times of the month, gives your body what it needs, when it needs it.
Some rules to remember prior to cycling seeds:
- Day 1 is the first day of prominent bleeding
- Day 1-14 is considered a follicular phase
- Day 15- menses is considered luteal phase
- Phases of the moon can be followed based on the calendar month. The beginning and end of the month coincide with the new mood, while the middle of the month coincides with the full moon.
How to seed cycle:
Seed cycling should be done in phases, either according to your menstrual cycle if it’s regular, or according to the phases of the moon if your cycle is irregular or absent.
1st phase: Day 1 to 14 (new moon to full moon):
- The aim at this time is to provide the precursors for estrogen and balance your hormones
- Take 1 tablespoon each of ground flax and pumpkin seeds
- As an extra, you can also take fish oil containing (EPA and DHA)
- This first phase focuses on reducing heavy periods, reducing or eliminating clotting and decreasing acne
2nd phase: Day 15 to Menses (full moon to new moon):
- The aim at this time is to provide the precursors for progesterone and help balance and clear excess estrogen
- Take 1 tablespoon each of ground sunflower and sesame seeds
- As an extra, you can also take evening primrose oil (EPO) to aid with menstrual pain
- This second phase focuses on reducing spotting, PMS and breast tenderness
It works best to use a coffee or spice grinder to grind the seeds into a powder. Ideally, this is to be done every few days to avoid potential oxidization and degradation of the oils in the seeds that can decrease their potency. Store the ground seeds in a jar with a tight seal and keep in the refrigerator.
How to consume:
These seeds can be sprinkled on top of a salad, vegetables, cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, and smoothies or mixed with nut milk. They add a nutty, crunchy flavor to your meals. Ensure that you heat foods before adding the seeds to avoid destroying some of the oils.
How long to do this for:
As with any hormonal interventions, you want to do this for at least 3 cycles to notice the impact. Hormones take time to balance, so be patient.
With that being said, if you have very bothersome and long-standing imbalances, this may not be enough as a stand-alone treatment. You want to make sure you take a holistic approach and tackle these imbalances from several fronts, including proper diet, supplementation, detox protocols for excess hormones and other supporting nutrients if hormone production is too low.
Seeds are a great add-on to any protocol. They are cheap, easy and simple to you use and they make the most of what mother nature gave us. They are small but mighty and certainly worth a try to improve your quality of life with every aspect of your period.
Want to learn more about how you can use food to balance your hormones?
Be sure to check out our Hormone Nutrient Guide to get a more complete list out our favorite hormone superfoods, supplements and powerhouse recipes so you can start balancing your hormones today!