Seed cycling is a treatment to normalise menstrual cycles that I have used clinically with astounding success. This is utilised by naturopaths to help restore consistency to irregular menstrual cycles, where no obvious organic cause has been elicited, or appears absent.

During the different phases in your cycle, you eat different seeds. Each seed has its own qualities and functions to support your hormones. When you have a regular menstrual cycle, you take the seeds according to your cycle. However, when you have a rather irregular or even absent cycle, you follow the cycle of the moon. The first part of the cycle is the oestrogen dominant phase, counting day 1 as the first day of your period, so days 1-14.

Normally you have 1 tablespoon (tbsp) flaxseed/linseed and 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds daily, however there are different variations on this. These seeds are rich in lignans, omega 3 fats and zinc.

In the second half of the cycle you switch to more omega 6 seeds during days 15-28 of your cycle. Typically taking 1 tbsp sesame seeds and 1 tbsp sunflower seeds daily. The sunflower and sesame combination used in the luteal phase of the cycle has a much lighter dose of lignans from the sesame seeds, and is rich in zinc and selenium which helps progesterone production. These seeds are also a rich source of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid which can convert to gamma linolenic acid, which also helps the balance between progesterone and oestrogen.

Some regimes use fish oils and evening primrose oil as well. Fish oil, about 1500 mg combined EPA and DHA can be added to days 1 – 14 and Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) can be added to days 15 –28.

I have recommended this for many women, regardless of the cause of menstrual irregularities, and seen its efficacy. It usually takes three cycles for full effect.

The Seed Protocol for seed cycling

Regardless of your cycle, on day 1 of the next New Moon through day 15, have 1 tbsp daily of organic ground flax seeds and 1 tbsp of ground pumpkin seeds, then days 16-28, have 1 tbsp of ground sunflower seeds and 1 tbsp of sesame seeds.

The seeds should be ground in a mortar and pestle, coffee grinder or food processor and added to smoothies, soups, oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, salad or however else it’s easy to get them into you. It is generally recommended not to add them in at other times of the day as it can disrupt your rhythm and for this reason it is best to focus on other fats instead e.g. monounsaturated fats avocado, fish oil, coconut oil, macadamia nuts etc.

Supplement alternative for seed cycling

  • Days 1-15: take a quality, pure fish oil (totally 1500-2000 mg of EPA/DHA daily) 3 capsules daily, divided dose.
  • Days 16-28: Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) 500mg, 2 capsules daily, divided dose.

Much of this work comes from Dr. Christiane Northup’s book, ‘Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom’ (Revised Edition): Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing.”

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