Seed cycling is a practice used by naturopathic doctors for adding plant seeds to the diet according to a lunar schedule.

Seed development occurs in response to the normal rhythms of nature, including lunar and seasonal cycles. Just as in other creatures, human metabolism and hormone levels are affected by lunar phases, so consuming seeds in a cyclical way (according to their characteristics) throughout the month is a natural way to support hormone production and balance for men and women. Lignans are helpful chemicals found in seed hulls which assist in modulating hormone pathways and are a good source of protein and fiber. Omega fatty acids are also found in seeds, providing the building blocks for hormone synthesis.

For Women

The rotation plan can be done according to either the menstrual cycle (if it is fairly regular) or phases of the moon (if the menstrual cycle is absent or too irregular).

From days 1-14 of menstrual cycle (Or from new moon to full moon)

Flax, pumpkin and chia seeds support the estrogen dominant time of your cycle and help balance the omega-3 pathway, as follows:

Flax, pumpkin, chia seeds: 1-2 Tablespoon(s) daily

Fish Oil – EPA/DHA 3000 mg: 2000 IU’s EPA + 1000 IU’s DHA daily (EPA and DHA are powerful anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids that help to balance hormones.)

From days 15-28 of menstrual cycle (Or from full moon to new moon)

Sesame and sunflower seeds support the progesterone peaks of your cycle and help balance the omega-6 pathway: sesame, sunflower seeds: 1-2 tablespoon(s) daily

GLA is an omega 6 fatty acid that helps to regulate inflammation, blood pressure, heart and kidney function: GLA 500 mg (Borage Oil or Evening Primrose Oil)

For Men

The rotation plan is done according to the phases of the moon (and is the opposite of women’s rotation).

From new moon to full moon

In men, GLA helps to maintain the health of the prostate gland: GLA 500 mg – Borage Oil

Sesame, sunflower seeds: 1-2 tablespoon(s) daily

From full moon to new moon

Flax, pumpkin, chia seeds: 1-2 tablespoon(s) daily

Fish Oil – EPA/DHA 3000 mg: 1500 IU’s EPA + 1500 IU’s DHA daily (Men should take EPA and DHA in a balanced ratio.)

Seed Preparation

Grinding the seeds first maximizes the availability of the nutrients, and a coffee or spice grinder works well. Store the ground seeds in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and keep in the freezer. Enjoy the seeds mixed into a glass of rice or soy milk, or sprinkle them into salads, cereals, vegetables or grains to add a nutty taste and crunch.

Maximizing Nutrients

Soaking seeds for 24 hours prior to consumption is an excellent way to increase the availability of minerals, a natural process that removes the phytic acid and activates the enzyme phytase. Seeds can be dehydrated again after soaking.

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are very rich in iron, magnesium, manganese and copper. There are about 90 mg of calcium in one tablespoon of unhulled seeds and 10 mg in hulled seeds. They also contain vitamin E (tocopherol) and vitamin B1 (thiamine), as well as the richest source of lignans, namely sesamin (a phytoestrogen), which has antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. The phytosterols present in sesame seeds are associated with reduced levels of blood cholesterol.

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are a rich source of vitamin E and contain linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid), amino acids and minerals that include magnesium, potassium, zinc and calcium; the are also rich in phytosterols and can be part of a cholesterol-lowering diet. The nutritional value in one serving, (1/4 cup) includes, 3.0 g/fiber and 6.0 g/protein. A serving of raw sunflower seeds also provides about 13% of a person’s daily requirement of iron.

Seeds may be purchased at any local organic foods store, and we stock GLA as well as Fish Oil onsite in the clinic. Don’t hesitate to consult a naturopathic doctor if you have questions about how seed balancing may be customized for you.