To the best of my knowledge, cycling was largely created bodybuilders for the use of drugs. When taking exogenous hormones you would cycle off them for a time so that you didn’t shut down your own production. As many things in the bodybuilding world do, this idea of cycling spread out from its initial use.
Now some supplements are cycled. And that includes herbs.
We have a number of pretty strong hormonal herbs, most notably pine pollen tincture and tongkat ali. Even though they are strong for herbs, that doesn’t mean they are strong in comparison to drugs. (Though they can work better than drugs in many cases because they are not reduced to a single compound.)
To be on the safe side we recommend that you cycle with these herbs. Note that these are currently the only two herbs we sell on the website where this cycling is necessary.
While you can cycle with any herb, you don’t need to, besides these two as recommended.
The 7 Day 7 Herb Plan
A popular online writer that likes our herbs and sends lots of people to our site espouses a method of taking herbs that we end up receiving lots of questions on. So to clear up some of those, and share my viewpoint, read on…
The basic idea is to get seven different herbs, such as the seven listed below, that each have some sort of hormonal action and to take one herb, and only one herb, each day. Over the week, you have thus rotated over all seven herbs, and then you start once again next week.
- Horny Goat Weed
- Black Ant Extract
- He Shou Wu
- Nettle Root
- Pine Pollen
- Tongkat Ali
Hormones work by feedback mechanisms. If a hormone goes up, there tends to be a signal, through other hormones, which then will slow the gland from producing it. If a hormone goes down, the same thing happens, but in reverse. (This is an oversimplification of course and there are times when this feedback loops get out of whack so it doesn’t always happen this way.)
Thus the idea behind this plan is that an herb will have some hormonal action when you take it. But then your body will not adapt or change anything its doing feedback-wise due to its signal, because it only happens one day. The next day something else. The following week it repeats, but this is infrequent enough that the body won’t adapt.
Some have taken this to mean that they should feel something each time they take an herb. While this can be the case for some people, with some of the herbs, this doesn’t mean that it will be the case for everyone, or for all herbs.
I feel tongkat ali and can notice it’s effects right away. I can feel schisandra, but its not from it’s indirect hormonal effects, more from the mental clarity it brings. Then again I’m also sensitive to the energetics of herbs because I’ve been working with them for years.
While this plan can work well for some people, that doesn’t mean its the best route for everyone.
Remember how I said that the body doesn’t have time to adapt to the herb, since you’re only taking it once a week? That can be beneficial, but that can also be a drawback.
Specifically, the adaptogen herbs like ashwagandha and rhodiola, bring the most benefit when taken regularly over time. Your body needs some time to have those components build up in your system and then they start to make changes.
After all, most research that is done is looking at what happens to people when they take something consistently for a length of time. And while I feel tongkat ali right away, I feel it even more when I’ve been taking it twice a day, every day, for four or five days straight.
We always encourage people to experiment and see what works best as everyone is individual. The 7 Day 7 Herb plan is a great option. Obviously, there are those that are getting great results with it. And taking one or more herbs regularly is also a great plan for many as well.