Female Reproductive System: Overview - Heritage, Hormones, Tissues, and Stress

Encompassing - Gift - Diverse

A fascinating and foundational start to the entire Female Reproductive series.
"The kidneys are associated with the reproductive system in Chinese medicine and very often we see this connection, which we will mention in our class. However, this subject will also be taken up on female and male reproduction and endocrine classes. The adrenals, sitting atop the kidneys, will not be described here in detail--see the endocrine class." - Matthew Wood

Shining light on the complexity of the Female Reproductive system.

The female reproductive tract is complex to begin with, more so after the beginning of menses, during the monthly cycle, during and after pregnancy, for which fertility herbs may be needed, and during menopause.

In this series of classes, we address all of these epochs of life, the difficulties encountered therein, and the numerous remedies we have successfully used over the years.

In order to remedy female conditions effectively, multiple approaches are necessary: a knowledge of hormones AND knowledge of tissue states and structures: how to remedy tendons, ligaments, mucosa, muscles, pelvic floor, drying out of the skin, mucosa, and vagina, and even the kidneys and bladder.

The liver is also important because it breaks down old hormones. A woman must take her own health into her own hands.
In this class you'll learn:
The Heritage Gift of the Great Female Remedies
It is not well known that there are medicinal plants that are specific to gynecological and obstetric problems. 

First, we have to imagine that such a thing exists. Many prominent herbals in female medicine do not include these remedies but instead rely upon vitamins, supplements, diet, and a few herbs that are of general use—not specific to women. 

If we look at the herbs of China, India, and Europe, we never find more than three or four that are specific to women’s health. There was also the problem that it was mostly men who were practicing and recording medical knowledge during the centuries when herbalism was developing—exceptions would be Torta, a woman doctor of medieval Salerno, or the midwife Jane Sharp (1677). 

Who was it that imagined that these special herbs existed? It was the Native people of North America. The great female remedies known today in Western herbal medicine are testimony to the debt owed to Native medicine. Since the majority of the important remedies adopted into Western herbalism from Native America are female medicines, it is clear that the transference of information came predominately through Native, white, and black midwives. 

Discussing the full range of action of the traditional women’s remedies, including:
Pulsatilla, black cohosh, blue cohosh, blue vervain, American ginseng, artemisia, trillium, senecio, mitchella, blessed thistle, lady’s thumb, wild yam, true and false unicorn root, cooked rehmannia root, sumac, shepherd’s purse, yarrow, shatavari, and many more.

This heritage needs to be acknowledged and cherished.
This group includes the great remedies of North America (black cohosh, blue cohosh, trillium, wild yam, partridge berry, true unicorn root, false unicorn root, raspberry leaf, cramp bark, black haw, wild ginger), Europe (pulsatilla, mugwort, lady’s mantle, vita), China (peony root, wild yam, American ginseng), India (shatavari), and others.

Hormones, Tissues, and Stress
In modern biomedicine, there is only one way to explain reproductive difficulties: hormones. However, we herbalists recognize multiple different perspectives: 
  • analysis in terms of hormones
  • conditions of the tissue (tendons, muscles, nerves, mucosa, pelvic floor)
  • stress, sympathetic nervous system, hormones,
  • and the overall situation, constitution, personality

In this class, we learn that medical tests cannot always be relied upon. Some women are so sensitive to a hormone that they produce very little of it, and therefore the test result shows the hormone is low but the woman reacts as if she had a high level of hormone. 

We also learn that the liver, because it breaks down hormones when their time is over and produces some hormones, needs to be treated—and what those symptoms often are. Other important processes include nutrition and methylation.  


Support Materials

28 page document by Matthew Wood and Phyllis D. Light

Support Materials

6 page document by  Phyllis D. Light


2 hours of teaching


Certificate included
(see more below)

Pay Once = One Year Access

1 year to view and review content, ask questions and discuss

This is for you if you...

want to explore the full spectrum of traditional women's remedies, including lesser-known herbs specific to gynecological and obstetric issues.
want to learn about the invaluable contributions of Native American, European, Chinese, and Indian herbal traditions to women's medicine.
want to challenge conventional biomedical explanations of reproductive difficulties by examining factors beyond hormones, such as tissue conditions, stress, and overall constitutional health

Upon completion, you will...

be empowered to address gynecological and obstetric concerns naturally and effectively.
gain insights into the limitations of medical testing and the interconnectedness of physiological processes like hormone regulation, liver function, and nutrition.
be able to apply a holistic framework to women's health, integrating herbal medicine and lifestyle adjustments to promote optimal well-being.


Matthew Wood, MS

Matthew Wood has been a practicing herbalist for over forty years. He is an internationally known
teacher and author with more than ten books to his credit, including The Book of Herbal Wisdom, 
The Earthwise Herbals, Holistic Medicine and the Extracellular Matrix, and A Shamanic Herbal 
(July 2024). Matthew has an MSc in herbal medicine from the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine 
(accredited, U. of Wales). He lives in the Midwest. 

Phyllis D. Light, MA 

As 4th generation herbalist, Phyllis started with lessons from her grandmother who taught from her Creek/Cherokee heritage. Phyllis has studied and worked with herbs, foods, and other healing techniques for 30+ years. She is the author of Southern Folk Medicine and co-author of Traditional Western Herbalism Pulse Evaluation.

Certificate Included

  • How to Get a Certificate

    • Complete course materials
    • Pass the test with a grade of 70% or better
    • Save or print your certificate!

    Available with subscription and individual course purchases.

  • Accreditation hours

    This course is a total of 4.3 accredited hours
    • 0.8 hours Clinical Experience
    • 1.75 hours Materia Medica
    • 1.75 hours Basic Human Sciences

    *Please check with your accrediting agency whether they will accept accredited hours or certificates from the Matthew Wood Institute of Herbalism
"In the female reproductive system, the bladder, vagina, and uterus are tied together by location and influence of function. The uterus sits atop the bladder and the vagina sits next to it. Oftentimes, the health of the bladder and the health of the vagina become interconnected as they are both mucous membrane tissues. This is especially true in the area of bacterial infection of the bladder." - Phyllis D. Light
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Female Reproductive System: Overview - Heritage, Hormones, Tissues, and Stress

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