Medical Herablists often work with women who suffer from endometriosis. Generally a full consultation is advised to assess which herbs would be most suited to each patient, however there are a few herbs that are often found to be useful and can be tried before seeing a practitioner:
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
1 teaspoon of dried herb per mug of water, cover (as it contains a lot of volatile oils that will evaporate otherwise) and steep for 5 minutes, drink 2 cups daily. This herb is anti-inflammatory, a mild bitter, helps digestion and is a circulatory stimulant. It has also long been renowned for its wide ranging healing properties. Allegedly, Achilles used this herb to treat the battle wounds of his army.
Yarrow contains similar volatile oils as chamomile, but does not taste the same. Therefore, it can be a good alternative for anyone wanting the benefits of chamomile but not the taste. Drink for 2 menstro-cycles – you can add other herbs for flavours, such as ginger, cardamon, ginger. Like chamomile, yarrow produces a stunning dark blue essential oil, which smells lovely and can be added to creams for its anti-inflammatory action. Normally we would recommend using 2-4 drops per 30g cream, but test first in case of any sensitivities.
Baldwins stock this herb as a loose tea.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory and liver supportive properties. Research has shown that the active ingredients in turmeric are best absorbed with a little bit of black pepper and some oil. Daily dose is at least 1 tsp of the powder and some of our patients mix it in their smoothies in the morning with a little pepper and oil, however it does have a very strong taste which not everyone can tolerate. As capsules the recommended dose ranges from 4-6 capsules, depending on the strength and size of capsules. Some brands already mix black pepper in with the turmeric.
MAYA ABDOMINAL MASSAGE & THERAPY (MAT)
Maya Abdominal Therapy aims to improve organ function by relieving congestion and blockages to improve the flow of chi and fluids of the circulatory, lymphatic and nervous system function to prevent the progression of chronic disease.
It is recommended to gently massage the abdomen and the pelvic area on a daily basis to encourage increased blood supply via the skin reflex action.
In MAT, castor oil packs are often recommended as they are thought to control inflammation in the pelvic area.
In our clinic we have a lot of anecdotal evidence that shows that castor oil packs can be very useful.
Want to try it for yourself- please find instructions below:
CHINESE MEDICAL APPROACH
In Chinese Medicine, endometriosis is generally associated with a diagnostic pattern called blood stasis. Blood flows to areas of the body where it should not normally be and gets ‘stuck’, causing pain and other symptoms. Over time, pathological factors that we term Damp and Heat are likely to build up in the Lower Jiao.
For a Chinese Medical practitioner it is important to understand the underlying imbalance which has led to blood stasis. This will be different for each woman and depend on her individual signs and symptoms, however some common patterns are
· Qi stagnation
· Deficiency in one or more of the organ networks (e.g. Spleen Qi deficiency)
· Blood deficiency
· Other mixed patterns
Acupuncture can be very effective in encouraging qi and blood to flow and thus supporting the body to resolve the stagnant blood. It will also be used to address the underlying patterns unique for the patient to help the body maintain homeostasis.
There have been various studies into the benefits of using acupuncture for endometriosis. In April 2014 the Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine concluded that ‘Acupuncture can also be considered an adjunctive therapy for pelvic pain associated with endometriosis’. Two randomized studies evaluated specific versus sham acupuncture for endometriosis pain and both reported significantly better pain relief with true acupuncture (Wayne et al 2008, Rubi- Klein et al 2010).
PRESSURE POINTS TO TRY AT HOME
Spleen 6 and Spleen 10 are two acupuncture points commonly used to treat women with endometriosis. When used with acupuncture they have been shown to help down-regulate abnormal increase of MMP-2 levels to inhibit the invasion of ectopic tissue to extracellular matrix, thus reducing the ectopic tissues.
Spleen 6 SanYinJiao is a hands width above the medial ankle, palpate around for a tender spot and then gently press or massage for a few minutes.
Spleen 10 XueHai is a hands width above the inside of the knee. Again, palpate around for a tender spot and then gently press or massage for a few minutes.