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The verdict is still out on this one. Although some small, promising studies have been done, there simply isn't enough evidence to say for sure that herbs can help you get pregnant.
But among the available research, one study published in 2006 followed 93 women taking an herbal supplement called FertilityBlend. The supplement contained chasteberry (an herb thought to improve ovulation and hormonal imbalance), L-arginine (an amino acid purported to improve circulation to the reproductive organs), green tea extract, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
After three months, 14 of the 53 women taking the fertility supplement were pregnant, compared to four of the 40 women taking a placebo. Three more women conceived after taking the blend for six months.
(Note: The manufacturers of FertilityBlend do not recommend continuing to take the supplement while pregnant or breastfeeding.)
Also, a 2015 review concluded that Chinese herbs used in combination with Western medicine were more effective for treating female infertility than traditional medical treatment alone.
In another 2015 study, researchers found that people trying IVF who used Chinese herbs and acupuncture had better odds of getting pregnant than those who tried IVF alone and IVF with acupuncture only.
However, just because herbs are natural doesn't mean they don't have side effects. And researchers recommend against using a fertility-boosting herbal supplement if you're also taking fertility drugs because the herbs might interfere or interact with the medication.
If you do want to try an herbal supplement, always check with your healthcare provider first, and keep in mind these important cautions:
- The Food and Drug Administration doesn't regulate herbs, so you can't be sure which ingredients you're getting in a product or at exactly what dose. See our article on buying supplements for guidance.
- Some herbs linked to increased fertility (chasteberry and vitex, in particular) are not considered safe to take during pregnancy and while you're breastfeeding.
Also, if you're 35 or younger and have been trying to conceive for a year without success (or for six months if you're 35 or older), consider making an appointment to see a fertility specialist.