UPDATE: I was able to find all the herbs needed for this treatment at www.yanjingsupply.com. You can buy the exact amount (in grams) that you need; which is fabulous! A big THANK YOU to Meg for suggesting them to me! :-)
On a quick side-note I want to say that I don't really like to claim that I "have" PCOS anymore. I am believing for total healing from God on this; so, I don't like to say out loud or on paper/electronically that I am still plagued by this, but to make things easier to understand I will often still say I have PCOS. Okay, done! :-)
My acupuncturist/chiropractor, Dr. L, had told me that he didn't have time to research herbs with me (he's just far too busy doing chiro and acu all day); but that if I had any I wanted to try I could ask him about them, and he might even be able to order some for me. In short, I would have to do the research; but he was all for me incorporating herbs into my acu treatment - hooray!
I really wanted to jump in to this new world of traditional chinese medicine (or TCM) treatment, but I had no clue where to start. That's when Mr. C found the aforementioned and linked-to study; which was abstracted and translated (from Chinese) by a Mr. Bob Flaws.
In the study, 50 women, ranging in age from 23-48 years of age (all married) with PCOS were given the treatment below. Forty-one of the women had single-sided cysts. Nine had bilateral cysts, and one woman had what is a called a "chocolate cyst" (which, despite the cute name, is very nasty - caused by endometriosis and a build-up of mucus around a simple ovarian cyst - it seems painful and very un-cute in reality).
The Chinese herbalists conducting the study, Li Hong-jie and Li Bing-lin, published the article The Treatment of 50 Cases of Ovarian Cysts with Gui Ling Xiao Nong Tang in issue #1 of the 2004 Jilin Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine (pg. 7). Everything I will be talking about below is taken from this particular study and subsequent article relaying the findings to the public.
In short, a protocol of twelve herbs were given in either 10 or 15 gram dosages (To be clear, that's per herb! So, roughly 125 grams total of powdered herbs per day.)dissolved in water (I believe as a hot tea) were given for 30 days straight. After the first "course" of 30 days, 24 of the 50 cases of cysts were completely gone as verified by trans-vaginal ultrasound. (AMAZING!) While another 18 cases were cleared up within two courses (so 60 days straight) of the same amounts. There was only one patient who did not benefit from the treatment, and that was the poor woman with the "chocolate cyst". I would assume that something of that magnitude would need laproscopic surgery to correct. Her aside, though, this makes the overall effectiveness of the treatment 98%.
When I read these numbers I was blown away. There is NOTHING - no medicine, no pill, no procedure, nothing - in western medicine that can give those kinds of numbers to a woman with PCOS! In fact, so far as I know, there is NO TREATMENT in WESTERN MEDICINE FOR CYSTIC OVARIES. None. They can give you meds that will try to force your cystic ovaries to work despite their obvious issues, but there is nothing western medicine can do to cure a PCOS woman of her ovarian cysts.
So, I was excited! I immediately got online and started doing my research, and jumped into trying to order them.
WARNING:Most of the herbs were a little difficult to find. In fact, when I did finally find the majority of them from a seller on Amazon, at least two of them were having problems getting shipped to the US; so, as of now, I still don't have those two herbs. HOWEVER, I think if you did enough poking around on the Internet (or if you're lucky enough to live in a city that has an actual Chinese herbal medicine shop - LUCKY YOU!), then you should be fine. DON'T let a little digging stop you from trying this treatment, please!!!!Here are all the herbs you will need, minus to the two that are back-ordered/unavailable at the moment (I'll write more about them in a minute) and the cinnamon; which I forgot to put in the picture (oops!). They are all in powdered form, except for one; which comes in little pellet-like pills.
The following is the list of herbs that you will need for this treatment. I've done some research, and I've tried to list the Latin and Chinese names, as well as any common names to help you understand exactly what each herb is. Also, I've tried to list some of the uses (answering the "why am I taking this particular herb?" question; because, hey, I wanted to know too!) for each herb relating to reproductive health specifically. NOTE: many of these herbs have so many uses it would make your head spin; so, I have tried to pick out the usages that pertain only to reproductive health/PCOS specifically.
If you'd like more information on any of these herbs, I highly recommend that you visit www.tcmtreatment.com/index.htm and/or www.yinyanghouse.com/ - they both have really good, easy to understand information about each of these herbs.
Okay, let's jump in to the treatment already! For the following herbs, you would take 10 GRAMS EACH every day (the study suggests you divide it up into three doses and drink them in hot water at breakfast, lunch, and dinner). I bought the Taylor Biggest Loser 6.6 Pounds Kitchen Scale with Glass Platform (which measures down to single grams if need be) to weigh my herbs out, and it works great!
GUI ZHI (Ramulus Cinnamomi Cassiae):
Otherwise known as plain, old cinnamon, gui zhi is long well-known for promoting blood sugar metabolism (ie: it combats the insulin resistance so many of us PCOS'ers have to deal with). Unlike the pharmaceutical Metformin, cinnamon affords all the same benefits without the nasty (and I mean nasty) side-effects like hair loss, constant nausea, dizziness, etc. I have been taking cinnamon (with chromium) pills ever since I was diagnosed with PCOS, and it has helped tremendously.
Cinnamon also helps warm channels up to push through energy (sluggish energy channels can be a big problem with PCOS patients) while dispersing cold and controlling mucus membrane inflammation (mucus and phlegm are thought to be a large part of the issue with PCOS patients - the mucus builds up around the ovaries and is not dispelled naturally, thus building up over time creating the white, waxy substance that surrounds PCOS cystic ovaries. it is thought that if you break this mucus down and clear it away, the other herbs will be able to reach the cysts and shrink them/obliterate them much more effectively).
(MU) DAN PI (cortex radicis moutan):
Photo courtesy of www.plumdragonherbs.com.
Dan Pi (or Mu Dan Pi) is peony root cortex. It clears and disperses heat (it is thought that PCOS women have what is known as a "cold" uterus; which means blood does not flow to the uterus well; which makes implantation difficult; which can cause multiple, early-stage miscarriages).
It also clears liver blood stasis (stagnation), corrects amenorrhea (absence of a period, which many PCOS women are plagued by, some for years!), flushes toxins, drains pus from organs, and reduces swelling - all of which could help strained and stressed ovaries.
TAO REN (semen pruni persicae):Photo courtesy of www.chinaherbco.enstore.com.
Tao Ren is known commonly as peach kernel/seed. It is used in TCM to correct all sorts of menstrual disorders to correct blood stasis (stagnation) throughout the body.
CHI SHAO (radix rubrus paeoniae lactiflorae):Photo courtesy of www.plumdragonherbs.com.
Chi Shao is the root of the red peony bush. By affecting the liver and spleen meridians/channels (those most connected to and influencing reproductive organs), it is can correct a multitude of gynecological ailments.
SAN LENG (rhizoma sparganii stoloniferae):Photo courtesy of www.futurosity.com.
San Leng(concentrated Extract Powder)(sparganium Simplex Rhizome)(sparganium Rhizome) Mayway-5801c breaks up the blood in the body (circulation and blood flow are a recurrent theme with these herbs, you'll notice!).
It also corrects amenorrhea as well as dysmenorrhea (extreme pain during menses). San Leng stimulates the liver and spleen channels and can help with abdominal pain.
E ZHU (rhizoma curcumae zedoariae):Photo courtesy of www.futurosity.com.
E Zhu(concentrated Extract Powder)(curcuma Zeodoaria Rhizome)(zedoary Rhizom) Mayway-5804c is used as an anti-inflammatory.
CHUAN SHAN JIA (squama manitis pentadactylis):Photo courtesy of www.tcmtreatment.com/index.htm.
Chuan Shan Jia are the scales of the adorable pangolin. I didn't know this when I bought the product, and it makes me pretty sad to think that a bunch of pangolin died so their scales could be ripped off, powdered, and rolled into pills for me. (Seriously, I cry thinking about it!) If you're wondering what a pangolin is, it's sort of an Asian version of an armadillo. They look like this:Adorable pangolin.
Yeah, I don't know if I can continue use of this medicinal; HOWEVER, I must say that it is touted as being a "very good" medicine by all accounts. I was also assured after inquiring into it further (after receiving my order) that they are very plentiful and well conserved. I have no clue if that is accurate information - it certainly didn't make me feel any better.
Pangolin scales are used to unblock menses, expel dampness (which can cause the build-up of that ever-pesky mucus!), and correct amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea.
ZAO JIAO CI (spina gleditschiae sinensis):Photo courtesy of www.asiancancerherb.info.
Zao Jiao Ci(concentrated Extract Powder)(gleditsia Sinensis Spine)(honeylocust Spine) Mayway-5884c invigorates the blood, expels pus, and transforms cold phlegm.
For the next three herbs, you will take 15 GRAMS PER HERB PER DAY instead of just the 10 grams of each of the aforementioned herbs.
FU LING (sclerotium poriae cocos):Photo courtesy of www.tcm.health-info.org.
Fu Ling(concentrated Extract Powder)(poria Cocos Fungus)(poria / Hoelen Fungus) Mayway-4711c (poria skin, a kind of fungus) stops the retention of phlegm as well as dizziness and heart palpitations.
HAI ZAO (herba sargassii):Photo courtesy of www.tcm.health-info.org.
Also known as sargassum seaweed extract, Hai Zao - Sargassum, 100 gr clears heat and reduces phlegm.
KUN BU (thallus algae):Photo courtesy of www.tcm.health-info.org.
Kun Bu(concentrated Extract Powder)(laminaria Japonica Herb)(laminaria / Kelp) Mayway-5898chai , or simply "sea kelp", is helpful in reducing swelling, correcting thyroid disorders and iodine deficiency, counter-acting obesity, reducing phlegm, and cleansing the blood.
WHEW! Now, I KNOW that I have just given you a lot of information; so, I'm not going to say much more other than I have NOT been able to try this treatment yet due to the fact that two of the herbs I ordered (Hai Zao and Kun Bu) were back ordered until ???? However, I can't wait to track those two herbs down and try them out!
Since this cycle is going so well, and I might be pregnant, I am preparing for having to hold off on this treatment until 9 months from now (ever the optimist, I am!); BUT I AM going to do it. I just think, "why not?!"; and I know how much acupuncture has changed my life - taking me from non-ovulatory to a completely normal cycle in just over two months - amazing! So, I'm sure TCM would only enhance what's already being done in my body.
If anyone has any questions or comments, please, please please do NOT hesitate to comment on here! I will try to respond to you ASAP with any and all assistance I can offer. I want to wish any of you trying this program much good luck and Godspeed!
***Originally posted on my blog www.tolovearose.com. Visit me there to read more about our journey through infertility, adoption, and beyond.
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