While it’s true that some herbs like dong quai, red clover, and licorice contain natural phytoestrogens (estrogen-like compounds), moderate intake of these herbs in their whole form won’t increase your body’s estrogen above normal levels.
Research suggests phytoestrogen activity from whole herbs is very mild. Research published in The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology reveals phytoestrogens are only around 1/400th to 1/1000th of the potency of your body’s naturally circulating estrogen.
Because they are low in potency, if they bind to the body’s hormone receptor sites, the net effect for many women is actually lower estrogen levels. However, for women with very low estrogen, phytoestrogens may modestly shore up levels by binding to estrogen receptor sites.
Still, if you have an estrogen-based health problem, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before using herbs that can affect hormone balance. Other products on the market use concentrated sources of phytoestrogens, or may be otherwise inappropriate for your unique health needs.