Fibrocystic Breast

Fibrocystic Breasts And Breast Pain Benign breast conditions are a common finding in clinical practice, with fibrocystic breast changes and fibroadenomas occurring in 60% to 90% of all women. The hallmark of fibrocystic breast changes is that the cysts fluctuate in size and shape, may entirely disappear and reappear cyclically, and are associated with hormonal changes in the menstrual cycle. Women with this condition describe their breasts as feeling lumpy, “ropey,” and tender. The changes occur bilaterally. Fibroadenomas are mobile, solid, firm, rubbery masses that typically occur singly, and are not usually painful. They are second only to fibrocystic changes as the most common of the benign breast conditions, and are commonly found in women in their 20s. Breast tenderness that accompanies the menstrual cycle is known as cystic mastalgia.’ Cyclic mastalgia may be associated with other premenstrual complaints. The terms benign breast disorder and benign breast disease are unfortunate misnomers, as they are neither a disorder nor disease. In only a small percentage of cases are the atypical ductal and lobular hyperplasias associated with increased risk of breast carcinoma. Practitioners consulting with women for Read more […]

Burdock: Modern Uses And Essiac

When we turn to modern sources, we may imagine that the internal use of burdock for boils echoes the old topical use. However, an antimicrobial action would be desirable to support this action, and this has been linked to poly-acetylenes found in fresh burdock root, whereas the classical authors wanted the leaves to be applied topically. Weiss considers the root the most important part of the plant for medicinal use but does not consider its action to be very great and recommends its use only in combination with other herbs. This could include cystitis, as listed by other authors. An oil made from the root can be used, says Weiss, to stimulate hair growth in alopecia and for dry seborrhoea. Mills and Bone also discuss only the root. Wood and Menzies-Trull include the seeds as well, perhaps following the recommendation by Priest & Priest of the seeds, especially in skin conditions. Pelikan highlights the fact that it is only the flower heads of burdock, and its fruit or seed, which display the thistle aspect of the plant. The leaves and root, on the other hand, are rich in mucilage, which he regards as evidence of their ‘struggle against spiny hardness’. Here we have an image to link with the several recommendations Read more […]

Uterine Fibroids: Botanical Treatment

Among Western herbalists specializing in gynecologic complaints, there is a common perception that although symptoms of uterine fibroids are not difficult to control with botanical medicines, and their growth can be arrested, they are difficult to eliminate entirely unless the fibroid is small at the onset of treatment (smaller than 12-week size). Many women are content to have symptom control over pharmaceutical or surgical intervention, as long as the fibroids present no mechanical problems. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has clearly defined diagnostic constructs, many herbal formulae, and well-developed adjunctive treatment protocols (e.g., acupuncture, moxibustion) for treating uterine fibroids and has claimed success in entirely eliminating uterine fibroids. Botanical Treatment Strategies for Uterine Fibroids Therapeutic Goal Therapeutic Activity Botanical Name Common Name Hormonal regulation; increase hormone biotransformation, conjugation, and improved elimination; displace with endogenous estrogen with estrogen receptor competitors. Cholagogues  Hepatic detoxification stimulants Berberis vulgaris  Camellia sinensis Chelidonium majus Hypericum perforation Schisandra Read more […]

Stress: Additional Therapies

Dehydroepiandrosterone Dehydroepiandrosterone and its active metabolite, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, are endogenous hormones synthesized and excreted primarily by the adrenal cortex in response to ACTH. In women, the synthesis of dehydroepiandrosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate occurs almost exclusively in the adrenal cortex. Dehydroepiandrosterone is classified as an androgen, and may be converted into other hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. Dehydroepiandrosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate serve as the precursors of approximately 75% of active estrogens in premenopausal women, and 100% of active estrogens after menopause. The levels of dehydroepiandrosterone in the blood are typically 10 times those of cortisol. Dehydroepiandrosterone is active in the CNS, and is taken up by the amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus, midbrain, and frontal cortex. Dehydroepiandrosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate also appear to have neurotrophic effects, increasing the number of neurofila-ment-positive neurons and regulating the motility and growth of corticothalamic projections in cultured mouse embryo brain cells. Dehydroepiandrosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate output is maximal between Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Chinese angelica

Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels (Apiaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Dang Gui (Chinese), Danggui, Dong quai. Angelica polymorpha van sinensis. Other species used in oriental medicine include Angelica dahurica. Not to be confused with Angelica, which is Angelica archangelica L. Pharmacopoeias Angelica Sinensis Root for use in THM (British Ph 2009); Processed Angelica Sinensis Root for use in THMP (British Pharmacopoeia 2009). Constituents The major constituents include natural coumarins (angelicin, archangelicin, bergapten, osthole, psoralen and xanthotoxin) and volatile oils. Other constituents include caffeic and chlorogenic acids, and ferulic acid. Angelica sinensis also contains a series of phthalides (n-butylidenephthalide, ligustilide, n-butylphthalide). Use and indications One of the most common uses of Chinese angelica root is for the treatment of menopausal symptoms and menstrual disorders. It has also been used for rheumatism, ulcers, anaemia, constipation, psoriasis, the management of hypertension and to relieve allergic conditions. Pharmacokinetics Evidence is limited to experimental studies, which suggest that the effects of Angelica dahurica and Angelica sinensis may not be equivalent. Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Coenzyme Q10

Types, sources and related compounds Ubidecarenone, Ubiquinone. Pharmacopoeias Ubidecarenone (British Ph 2009, European Ph 2008, US Ph 32); Ubidecarenone Capsules (US Ph 32); Ubidecarenone Tablets (The United States Ph 32). Use and indications Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring enzyme co-factor that has a fundamental role in electron transport in mitochondria, and is also an antioxidant. It is often taken orally as a supplement to aid in the treatment of cardiovascular disorders such as congestive heart failure, angina and hypertension. It has also been used to maintain the levels of endogenous coenzyme Q10 during treatment with conventional drugs that reduce these, particularly the statins. Coenzyme Q10 has also been used alongside treatment for breast cancer, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and may help to prevent migraines. Pharmacokinetics The absorption of coenzyme Q10 is relatively slow and is dependent on postprandial lipids in the gastrointestinal tract, see food. Interactions overview Coenzyme Q10 did not interact with warfarin in a controlled study, but there are a few isolated reports describing either increased or decreased warfarin effects in patients taking coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Read more […]


Select Flavonoid-Rich Herbs General Flavonoids • Calendula officinalis (calendula) • Citrus paradisi (grapefruit) • Fagopyrum esculentum (buckwheat) • Ginkgo biloba (ginkgo) • Clycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) • Clycyrrhiza uralensis (gan cao) • Hypericum perforatum (Saint John’s Wort) • Lespedeza capitata (round-head lespedeza) • Matricaria recutita (chamomile) • Nepeta cataria (catnip) • Opuntia spp (prickly pear) flowers • Orthosiphon stamineus (Java tea) • Passiflora incarnata (passionflower) • Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) • Scutellaria baicalensis (Baikal skullcap) • Scutellaria lateriflora (skullcap) • Solidago canadensis (goldenrod) Isoflavones and Coumestans* • Psoralea carylifolia (scurfy pea) • Pueraria montana (kudzu) • Clycine max (soy) • Iris germanica (orris) • Medicago sativa (alfalfa) • Trifolium repens (red clover), T. subterraneum (subterranean clover) Flavonolignans • Silybum marianum (milk thistle) *Coumestans are structually similar to isoflavones and also act as phytoestrogens. Flavonoids Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Soya

Glycine max (L.Merr.) (Fabaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Soy. Glycine soja Siebold and Zucc. Pharmacopoeias Hydrogenated Soya Oil (British Ph 2009); Hydrogenated Soybean Oil (European Ph, 6th ed., 2008 and Supplements 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4, The United States Ph 32); Powdered Soy Isoflavones Extract (US Ph 32); Refined Soya Oil (British Ph 2009); Soybean Oil (US Ph 32); Soybean Oil, Refined (European Ph, 6th ed., 2008 and Supplements 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4). Constituents The isoflavones in soya beans consist mainly of genistein and daidzein, with smaller amounts of isoformononetin, ononin, glycetein, desmethyltexasin and others. They are present mainly as glycosides, and the amount varies between the different soya products. Soya beans also contain coumestans (mainly in the sprouts) and phytosterols. The fixed oil from soya beans contains linoleic and linolenic acids. Fermented soya products contain variable amounts of tyramine. Use and indications Soya is a widely used food, particularly in Japanese and Chinese cuisine. Flour and protein from the beans are used as tofu and as a substitute for meat. Fermented products include soy sauce, natto and miso, and these can contain high concentrations Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Isoflavones

Isoflavonoids This is a large group of related compounds with similar structures and biological properties in common, which are widely available as additives in dietary supplements as well as the herbs or foods that they were originally derived from. Isoflavones are the subject of intensive investigations and new information is constantly being published. You may have come to this monograph via a herb that contains isoflavones. The information in this monograph relates to the individual isoflavones, and the reader is referred back to the herb (and vice versa) where appropriate. It is very difficult to confidently predict whether a herb that contains one of the isoflavones mentioned will interact in the same way. The levels of the isoflavone in the particular herb can vary a great deal between specimens, related species, extracts and brands, and it is important to take this into account when viewing the interactions described below. Types, sources and related compounds Isoflavones are plant-derived polyphenolic compounds that are a distinct group of flavonoids. They can exert oestrogen-like effects, and therefore belong to the family of ‘phytoestrogens’. Most occur as simple isoflavones, but there are other derivatives Read more […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Glucosamine

2-Amino-2-deoxy-beta-D-glucopyranose Types, sources and related compounds Chitosamine, Glucosamine hydrochloride, Glucosamine sulfate potassium chloride, Glucosamine sulfate sodium chloride. Pharmacopoeias Glucosamine Hydrochloride (US Ph 32); Glucosamine Sulfate Potassium Chloride (US Ph 32); Glucosamine Sulfate Sodium Chloride (US Ph 32); Glucosamine Tablets (The United States Ph 32). Use and indications Glucosamine is a natural substance found in chitin, mucoproteins and mucopolysaccharides. It can be made by the body, and is found in relatively high concentrations in cartilage, tendons and ligaments. The primary use of supplemental glucosamine is for the treatment of osteoarthritis and other joint disorders. It is sometimes given with chondroitin. Glucosamine in supplements may be prepared synthetically, or extracted from chitin. Pharmacokinetics The oral bioavailabihty of glucosamine has been estimated to be about 25 to 50%, probably due to first-pass metabolism in the liver. Glucosamine is rapidly absorbed and distributed into numerous tissues, with a particular affinity for articular cartilage. Interactions overview Glucosamine supplements have modestly increased the INR in a few patients taking Read more […]