Your breasts, no matter what their size or shape, are miraculous and beautiful. From these pleasure centers flows the energy of the divine feminine, and a sweet nectar that sustains life. Yours, really, are as exquisite as they come.
Given how truly marvelous our breasts are, it is essential that we give respect and honor to them. By paying attention, loving ourselves and caring for our bodies, we can keep our breasts healthy. Yet what you may not have considered is that, in fact, caring for the breasts goes beyond a simple breast check. It's about wholebody care.
Why is breast health important?
About 70% of women have a type of fibrocystic breast condition and more may be unconscious or out of touch with such lumps and bumps, not recognizing their existence. It requires a certain attentiveness and familiarity to notice subtle changes before they become larger and more problematic.
Statistically speaking about 180,000 women per year will develop breast cancer. This cancer will take the lives of 40,000 of those same women. Their deaths will affect their circle of loved ones. Although death has its time, and it will inevitably come knocking on all of our doors, there are certain preventative measures to support breast health…especially if you know breast cancer runs in your family.
You have to take your breasts into your own hands, literally, and regularly.
But breast health does not start or stop at your chest. It is intertwined with the hormonal system and thus, the liver. Breast tissue is also affected by either the stagnation, or free movement, of lymph fluids. These three systems, the hormonal, liver, and lymph, as well as genetics and other pre-dispositions, all interact with the state of your breasts. Therefore, it is wise to know not only how these systems function effectively and optimally, but also what you can do to support their functioning.
Here’s how estrogen works, in short:
The liver removes estrogen from the blood, directs it to the bile, and furthermore to the large intestine. From there it is either excreted with feces, or re-absorbed back into the blood. Reabsorption of estrogen leads to an increase estrogen count which is typically seen in women with a high animal fat and low fiber diet. Gut flora fluctuations that change with food choices and the use of antibiotics, among many other factors, affect the intestinal enzymes which reactivate estrogen.
Therefore what you do or don’t eat affects more than just your weight. We know this, right?
There are three types of estrogens that the body produces: estrone, estradiol (the strongest), and estriol. The effects of all three are generally coined estrogen levels. Estrogen levels, changing with the tides and your cycle, effect the count of estrogen receptor sites in your body. This a bi-relational exchange. The more estrogen, be it natural, or unnatural, the more sensitive the estrogen receptor cells are. Estrogens also influence the fluctuations of the menstrual cycle and the symptoms postmenopausal women experience.
Some breast cancers are estrogen sensitive, stimulated by estrogen sites and higher levels of estrogen.
Xenoestrogens are chemicals with estrogen-like effects and are often high in estrogen dependent cancers. These type of estrogens are in certain soaps, plastics, detergents, and the like. They can be absorbed unknowingly due to the lack of accurate and informative labeling. Hence why it is important to know your ingredients and the origins of what you put in or on your body.
Plants are a source of phytoestrogens that have a weaker effect than estrogens produced by the body, or Xenoestrogens, yet they still bind to receptor sites. As phytoestrogens bind, receptors become less available for stronger estrogens which can protect from excess. This is a good thing, as some breast cancers thrive on excessive estrogen.
I encourage you to know your body, cycle, yoni, and breasts via your own care filled investigation. Then the validity of the changes that take place are through your experience. Pay particular attention to both the gross and the subtle and stay at home on the inside.
Here are a few key ways to support your breast health
Make and Enjoy Pomegranate Breast Oil
Pomegranate oil is rich in compounds that help prevent breast cancer. You can make the oil at home by mixing one cup 1/4 cup chopped pomegranate rind with four cups of water, then cooking this down to about 1 cup. Next, add a cup of mustard oil and simmer until all the water is evaporated. Strain out the pomegranate peel, and then use to treat yourself to a weekly or daily breast massage.
Choose Your Food Wisely
Increase your intake of phytoestrogens and carotenes. Soy products and herbs like Red Clover are high in phytoestrogens; dark leafy greens are high in carotenes. Cabbage family plants, grains, beans, and legumes are all of benefit; Selenium, found in allium family plants and mushrooms are too. Enjoy raw fruits and seeds that increase the presence of Vitamin C, E, and D.
Keep your circulation and the fluids moving in your body through regular exercise; don’t get too stagnant! And meet herbal allies of the lymph system: Burdock, Sheep Sorrell, Red Clover, and Wild Indigo. Burdock makes a wonderful broth for soups and stews with its earthy rich flavor.
Support Your liver
There are a few herbal allies for the liver system. Perhaps you know them, just in a different light. Some call them “weeds”. Thistle, Dandelion, Yellowdock, Tumeric, Fennel, and Oregon Graperoot. In the spring we are gifted from the earth a free liver cleanse... don't hesitate to eat the spring greens!
Eat flax seed, ground up. The seeds are high in omega 6 fatty acids and lignins, which correspond to lower breast cancer rates.
At least once a week thoroughly examine your breasts and massage them with oils of Dandelion or Red Clover more regularly than that…say five times a week. For the examination cup your hands over your breasts and circulate clockwise 25 times, then counterclockwise, and back again clockwise. This gives you an opportunity to notice changes, and it feels great!
Learn More with These Breast Care Resources
Breast Cancer? Breast Health! By Susun Weed
Holistic Anatomy, By Pip Waller
The Gift of Healing Herbs, By Robin Rose Bennett
Julie MacAdam is a creative artist, yoga teacher, body worker, and lover of the earth. She is founder of Medicinal Changes, through which she offers herbal medicine and consultations as well as bodymind practices.
If you plan to start an herbal regime or are looking for more information on the herbs and their uses, please contact a local trusted herbalist or Medicinal Changes for a phone consultation.