FX Medicine

Home of integrative and complementary medicine

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) A Herbal Approach

melissalee's picture

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine problem in women and one of the leading reasons for female infertility. It is often associated with depression and other mood disorders as well as metabolic dysfunction, including insulin resistance and compensatory hyperinsulinaemia associated with altered androgen production and metabolism. The cause of PCOS is complex and variable and can manifest itself through a spectrum of symptoms, including infertility, amenorrhoea, multiple ovarian cysts, acne, hirsutism and obesity. 

Conventional treatment for PCOS includes oral contraceptives as a means to reduce testosterone, and metformin to regulate insulin levels. These treatments, which may manage some symptoms, do not address the underlying causes of PCOS and are not without their risks. 

A number of medicinal herbs offer safe and effective therapeutic options with the capacity to address the broad pathophysiology associated with PCOS, including altered ovarian function, endocrine feedback loops and metabolic derangement. Traditional herbs such as liquorice, peony, cinnamon and dong quai have been recommended for generations and are now being subject to promising clinical trials. 

In this infographic we explore the many contributing factors of PCOS and the use of herbal support to manage the condition.


  1. Boyle J, Teede HJ. Polycystic ovarian system. An update. Aust Fam Physician 2012;41(10):752-756. [Full text]
  2. Rotstein A. Polycystic ovarian sydrome (PCOS). McMaster Pathophysiol Rev 2015. Viewed 7 December 2015, http://www.pathophys.org/pcos/
  3. Attaran M. Polycystic ovarian syndrome. Clevelend Medical Clinic. Viewed 7 December 2015, http://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/womens-health/polycystic-ovary-syndrome/
  4. Rojas J, Chavez M, Olicar L, et al. Polycystic ovary syndrome, insulin resistance, and obesity: navigating the pathophysiologic labyrinth. Int J Repro Med 2014;article ID 719050. [Full text]
  5. Takahashi K, Kitao M. Effect of TJ-68 (shakuyaku-kanzo-to) on polycystic ovarian disease. Int J Fertil Menopausal Stud 1994;39(2):69-76. [Abstract]
  6. Arentz S, Abbott JA, Smith CA, et al. Herbal medicine for the management of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and associated oligo/amenorrhoea and hyperandrogenism; a review of the laboratory evidence for effects with corroborative clinical findings. BMC Complement Altern Med 2014 18;14(1):511. [Full text]
  7. Armaninia D, Mattarelloa MJ, Fiorea C, et al. Licorice reduces serum testosterone in healthy women. Steroids 2004;69(11-12):763-766. [Abstract]
  8. Kort DH, Lobo RA. Preliminary evidence that cinnamon improves menstrual cyclicity in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2014;211:487.e1-6. [Full text]
  9. Wang JG, Anderson RA, Graham GM, et al. The effect of cinnamon extract on insulin resistance parameters in polycystic ovary syndrome: a pilot study. Fertil Steril 2007;88(1):240-243. [Abstract]
  10. Angelica sinensis (Dong quai). Alt Med Rev 2004;9(4):429-433.

Grant P. Spearmint herbal tea has significant anti-androgen effects in polycystic ovarian syndrome a randomized controlled trial. Phytother Res 2010;24(2):186-188. [Abstract]


Creative Commons License

This image by FX Medicine is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

More information about how to share/use the infographics for personal use.

If you interested in using any FX Medicine content for commercial use please contact us.


The information provided on FX Medicine is for educational and informational purposes only. The information provided on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional advice or care. Please seek the advice of a qualified health care professional in the event something you have read here raises questions or concerns regarding your health.

Share Infographic: 
melissalee's picture
Melissa Lee
Melissa is a designer turned nutritionist, who has combined the two modalities to create purposeful designs for various health publications and websites. Having initially studied Multimedia Systems Design, she then went on to complete a BHSc in Nutritional Medicine which led to her involvement in the integrative medicine industry and eventually to FX Medicine.