Seed Cycling is a natural healing and maintenance protocol used by many Naturopathic Physicians and alternative healers to bring balance to the entire endocrine system. Its effects are a natural balancing of hormones and better regulation of hormonal pathways by the use of certain seeds and oils used during the different phases of the moon’s cycle. The results are improved digestion, better sleep, greater sex drive, more protection against irregularities that result from imbalanced hormone activity or the lack thereof. Seed cycling is both safe and effective and a better alternative to exogenous hormone therapies which can be both ineffective in addressing the entire system and safer as some therapies can be dangerous.

The chart above shows which sets of seeds and oils are best taken according to the moon’s cycles for Endocrine Balance. The proper combination of seeds with their respective oils when taken in this manner, help balance the endocrine system and bring regulation to hormonal pathways.  It is suggested that you change these seeds and oils with the moon’s cycle, which is especially important for women to help regulate the menstrual cycle but will also help through menopause and for complete hormone balance.

Regular Protocol

  • From New Moon to Full Moon, when the moon is waxing, take 1 Tablespoon each freshly ground Flax and Pumpkin Seeds.
  • Full Moon to New Moon, when the moon is waning, take 1 Tablespoon each of Sesame and Sunflower Seeds.

You may find using a small coffee bean grinder will work well for this and are fairly inexpensive.  Grind the seeds every few days to a week and keep them in the refrigerator. You may mix the two ground seeds together, taking a total of 2 Tablespoons.

If you find you are sensitive to Flax Seeds, you may substitute Chia Seeds.

Take 1 Tablespoon each or 2 Tablespoons of blended seeds each day with your meal. They they can be take with water or food any time. These will help restore and regulate hormone balance for both men and women.  Seed cycling is so effective because the hulls of the seeds contain lignins, which help modulate the hormonal pathways of the body.  In addition to the seeds, it is suggested you also include certain oils.

400 I.U. D3/3 caps

No Citrus

  • With your Flax and Pumpkin Seeds, women should take 5,000 mg of Cod Liver Oil (approx 1 – 1.25 tsp).  Fermented Cod Liver Oil may be used but there is no advantage over non-fermented oil.  
  • Men should take 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) Oil with these seeds.

  • With the Sesame and Sunflower Seeds, women should take an equivalent of 2600 mg of Evening Primrose Oil
  • Men should take an equivalent of 1000 mg of Black Currant Oil.

If you have been instructed by your alternative physician to take EFA Oil for your autoimmune issues, it is advisable to continue to do so (as directed) in addition to the other oils or for a period of six months (or indefinitely) as the gut heals and your system finds balance.

Using the seeds and oils according to the moon’s cycles will help bring regularity and stability to your entire endocrine system establishing hormonal balance.

**The seeds and oils are taken at the same at any time of the day **

You may choose to soak the seeds and re-dry them or use wet, or sprouted seeds to reduce any antinutrients. Seeds are best ground before ingesting for better absorption. They may be used hulled or not but most find hulled easier to digest.

Estrogen Dominant Protocol

Women with a history of estrogen dominance,  repeated miscarriages, or who are “advanced maternally:
For these women, progesterone support can help to keep the pregnancy viable where prescription progesterone is given.  Seeds can help as well. Women in this category can use all sunflower/sesame through the pregnancy or at a 2:1 ratio of sunflower and sesame to flax and pumpkin.  These seeds are not a substitute for prescription progesterone, but they can be safely used in combination with prescription progesterone. Taking all of the seeds each day during pregnancy gives the biggest nutritional boost. The proper combination would be as follows:

  • 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

Pregnancy Protocol

Younger women with normally balanced hormones and normal pregnancy history:
Pregnancy remains a higher progesterone state, so women who have a healthy hormonal balance should have no trouble maintaining the progesterone levels needed. In these cases equal amounts of all seeds can be used or the ratios can be weighted towards sunflower/sesame if that is your choice. So the following would be more in order:

  • 1 – 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

Seed Cycling can also be practiced safely while pregnant with modification to the seed ratios as shown above or see this link for more. (



Although Seed Cycling is often considered to be a method to balance hormones which affect the whole body including our sleep, mood, body weight, energy level, brain function, cell function, sexual ability and performance and much more, it also deals directly with digestion.

Our digestive process begins in the mouth but most think about it from the stomach and small intestine (the gut) on down. Gastrin, Secretin, Motilin, Insulin, Pancreatic enzymes, and Bile Salts, CCK and GIP are all hormones controlled by our endocrine system. If this system is off-balance, our digestive system and process will suffer, as well as all other systems and every cell in our body. Today, however, our focus in on digestion.

Gastrin is a hormone the stomach produces that stimulates the release of gastric acid. It is located in the G cells in the lining of the stomach and upper small intestine. When you eat, gastrin stimulates the release of gastric acid, an important part of the digestive process.

Secretin is a hormone that regulates water homeostasis throughout the body and influences the environment of the duodenum by regulating secretions in the stomach, pancreas, and liver. It is a peptide hormone produced in the S cells of the duodenum, which are located in the intestinal glands. In humans, the secretin peptide is encoded by the SCT gene.

Motilin is in the duodenum. It increases the migrating myoelectric complex component of gastrointestinal motility and stimulates the production of pepsin. It helps move food through the digestive tract.

Insulin is a hormone that is produced in specialized cells in the islets of Langerhans, a part of the pancreas. The main role of insulin is to regulate the body’s use of sugars and other nutrients.

These enzymes break down sugars, fats, and starches. Your pancreas also helps your digestive system by making hormones. These are chemical messengers that travel through your blood. Pancreatic hormones help regulate your blood sugar levels and appetite, stimulate stomach acids, and tell your stomach when to empty.

Bile serves two important functions in the digestive system:. It raises the alkalinity of the stomach contents, to provide ideal pH for enzymes in the small intestine. Bile emulsifies lipids. This increases the surface area of the lipids, allowing for the more efficient digestion of fats.

The primary purpose of bile in the digestive process is to facilitate the digestion and dispersion of consumed fats. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, this takes place in the lumen of the small intestine.

Other hormones used in digestion are CCK (cholecystokinin).
CCK is secreting by the small intestine (mainly duodenum & jejunum). CCK secretion is stimulating by the food present in the small intestine. It stimulates the gallbladder to release bile and the pancreas to produce pancreatic enzymes.

GIP (Gastric Inhibitory Peptide).
GIP is secreted by the duodenum. GIP secretion is stimulating by the food in the duodenum. It counteracts the effects of gastrin that is it inhibits gastric glands. Furthermore, slow down stomach emptying if there is food in the duodenum.

These are all hormones controlled by the endocrine system that need to be in place every time you eat. If one or more are missing, it may wreak havoc in your digestive process and with various areas of your body and health.

The process is initiated during and immediately after the process of digestion breaks down carbohydrates into sugar molecules (including glucose) and proteins into amino acids.

Pancreatic enzymes will be produced by the body only if plant enzymes are in the body first. Pancreatic enzymes work in a very narrow pH base and most are destroyed by the acid in the stomach. There are available weak plant enzymes and exceptionally powerful plant enzymes.

Therefore, Seed Cycling can be very important to your overall health. Beginning with the digestive process, it will determine whether you get all the nutrients you take into every area of your body they’re needed.

Other Benefits

There are other benefits to Seed Cycling:

  • Mood swings are better controlled
  • Sleep is improved with better, longer, and more sound sleep patterns
  • Weight management
  • Sex drive improves by increasing estrogen in women and testosterone in men, one may find their sex life greatly enhanced.
  • Energy increases because hormones have a tremendous effect on the adrenal glands and one can attain more energy and most will notice less fatigue and stress.
  • Improved absorption of Vitamin (hormone) D from the sun can be found. The conversion of 7-Dehydrocholesterol in the skin to Vitamin D3 (precursor) when exposed to the sun is also enhanced. Since our primary source for this vital hormone comes from the sun, we can truly benefit by more vitamin D being obtained when we’re in the sun. 1
  • Thyroid & Parathyroid regulation – which regulates so many things in the body from metabolism to brain function, as well as body weight, heart health and the health of our bones.
  • Balance of sex hormones, which can affect both men and women. Female issues are especially benefited helping with regulated menstrual cycles, increased ability to conceive, healthier pregnancies, better prevention against conditions like endometriosis and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), and better prevention of bone degratdation such as osteopenia/osteoporosis. Some report cessation of hot flashes and night sweats.

For those who are menopausal/post-menopause, or who’ve had a hysterectomy, it is important to understand that even though the organs that produce estrogen and progesterone are no longer present, the brain can also produce these 2 so seed cycling should still be done. In fact, seed cycling should be practiced from puberty until one’s last day of life. This is especially important for some who have extra need for estrogen in later years and often associated with age, bone health, and conditions such as osteoporosis.

This will help with not only the regulation of menstrual periods for women, as well in pregnancy and for full hormonal support during and beyond menopause but better testosterone levels for men.  This will assure a better hormone response from the digestive system, supplying Gastrin, Secretin, Motilin, Insulin, Pancreatic enzymes, and Bile Salts, CCK, and GIP.  It will also provide hormonal support for the adrenal glands, giving more cortisol when needed as well as energy.  It will improve mood, offer better and more sound sleep with more consistent patterns for rest.  It will help bring balance and improve sex drive.  Body weight and temperature management improvement should also be noticed.  It will also better assure the conversion of 7-Dehydrocholesterol in the skin to convert to Vitamin D3 (precursor) when exposed to the sun’s rays. 1

For women:

The follicular phase is the phase of the estrous cycle, (or, in humans and great apes, the menstrual cycle) during which follicles in the ovary mature. It ends with ovulation. The main hormone controlling this stage is estradiol.

The luteal phase is one stage of your menstrual cycle. It occurs after ovulation (when your ovaries release an egg) and before your period starts. During this time, the lining of your uterus normally gets thicker to prepare for a possible pregnancy.

Also important to understand is that we live by cycles/rhythms. There are annual (seasons) cycles, our circadian rhythm which takes place as we live day to day, and we are also affected by the moon’s phases. Most women do best when their cycle is in sync with the moon’s cycle. This protocol is to begin as soon as you are able and NOT the first day of your cycle!  This is a common mistake.  Start NOW!


It is important to keep in mind that following this protocol can cause a detoxing of the endocrine system which may last up to two weeks. Symptoms are usually minor issues: Essentially, anything that hormones affect can be noticed such as itching, hot flashes, night-sweats, vaginal secretions and changes in menstrual cycle, emotional upset, weight loss or gain, interference with sleep patterns, etc. but these are very short-term.

It may take up to 3 months to achieve full effect but you should notice positive changes along the way.  

A fat-based diet may provide increased benefits in seed cycling as hormones cannot be produced or transported without the aid of fat and cholesterol.

A list of resources is provided below to order Cod Liver Oil, EFA Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, and Black Currant Oil for your convenience.

Written by Douglas K. Johnson – Life, Health and Wellness Coach, Herbalist, Nutritionist, and Author



Cod Liver Oil

Jigsaw Health Cod Liver Oil (softgels) 3 capsules = 1tsp/5000 mg

Dr. Martin’s Cod Liver Oil Softgels

Nordic Naturals Cod Liver Oil (unflavored) (5 capsules = 1 tsp/5000 mg)?

Organic 3 (Corganic) Rosita Cod Liver Oil Liquid

Organic 3 (Corganic) Rosita Cod Liver Oil Softgels (10 capsules = 1 tsp/5000 mg)

Dropi Cod Liver Oil

Dr. Berg’s Cod Liver Oil (Powder in Capsules)

Evening Primrose Oil

Genestra GLA 130 Primrose Oil (caps)

Best Naturals Evening Primrose Oil Gel Caps 

BodyBio Evening Primrose Oil (Liquid)

Sports Research High Potency Evening Primrose Oil 1300mg

Nutricost Evening Primrose Oil 1300 mg


Puritan’s Pride Omega 3 (No citrus)

Puritan’s Pride Triple Omega 3, 6, 9 (No citrus)

Research Verified Omega 3(only) (No Citrus)

Nordic Naturals Pro EFA Oil (Gel Caps) [contains Citrus]

Nordic Naturals Pro EFA 3,6,9 [contains citrus]

Black Currant Oil

Genestra GLA 90 Black Currant Oil (caps)

Athelas Neutraceuticals Black Currant Oil (caps)



Medical Disclaimer

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health, and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice.

If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

Never dis­re­gard pro­fes­sional med­ical advice or delay in seek­ing it because of some­thing you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a med­ical emer­gency, call your doc­tor or 911 immediately.

The views expressed on this blog and web­site have no rela­tion to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other insti­tu­tion with which the authors are affiliated.

Published by Douglas Johnson

I am a Life, Health and Wellness Coach, Herbalist, Nutritionist, Author & Chef

40 thoughts on “SEED CYCLING

  1. Absolutely! Estrogen can be produced by the brain. And this helps with digestion which is critical to nutrient absorption, sleep, conversion of cholesterol in the skin to D3 and much more. Everyone should follow it till the day they depart from this world


  2. Is there another oil I could substitute for the cod liver oil? I would love to do this but I can’t take the cod liver oil.
    Thanks so much.


  3. Other oils don’t really match up well. You could check out fish oils and krill oils but those I’ve seen did not have the same nutrient values and you would likely have to add or compensate. Is it that you don’t like the taste of the oil or you have trouble digesting it? If the latter, there is a solution. The former can usually be rectified by using capsules


  4. why is Primrose Oil the preferred oil, if other oils have more GLAs (such as borage oil)? thank you


  5. Sorry, I don’t know that. It’s not a question I’ve asked any mentor or professors. It is what has been established through time by Naturopaths/Herbalists as best.


  6. Very informative however my colon is very large with a lot of loops, twists and folds like a fire hose and I have diverticulosis and am concerned that with the seed cycling it could flare up diverticulitis. Your thoughts?


  7. It will not have a negative effect. When the seeds are ground, it is no different that the rest of your food. I had Diverticulitis when I began healing and it never bothered me nor has it with the few clients I have who also have it.


  8. Thank you for the information. I’m still unclear about all the seeds, though…do you have to eat the shells to get the benefits, or can you just eat the seeds without their shells? (I see your comment above that says you recommend sesame seeds without shells, right?)


  9. I’m not sure my first post came through. Thank you for the information. I’m still not clear about all of the seeds, though. I think you recommended sesame seeds without shells, correct? Do you have to eat the sunflower & pumpkin seed with their shells to get the benefits, or can you eat them without the shells & still get enough of the benefits?


  10. Hello, Thank you for all the interesting and useful info. Could you please tell me if any modification to the seed cycling protocol should be made if the person with osteopenia is a breast cancer survivor (46 years of age) on antihormonal therapy because the cancer had estrogen and progesteron receptors? Is the seed cycling safe in this case? Thank you.


  11. There is a section for estrogen dominant women I’ve referred several to for this reason. It may not be necessary if any cancer you had is four to five years back but you could check with a natural physician on this. But as a precaution, using the estrogen dominant method might be best. This can be done immediately on starting or you could wait two months to get some initial balance in my opinion. The choice is yours but long-term, you may want to go with the estrogen dominant method


  12. Unknown. I’m not sure that any “similar” oil would not also have it. I don’t recommend others because most don’t have equal nutrient values. But even Krill Oil and other fish oils will have some. You may to do without or find a way to heal your gut so you are no longer allergic


  13. Thank you for all you do, and I look forward to learning more from all the life healing information you graciously provide to the community.

    I will look into healing my gut issues.


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