Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels.

Distribution Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels. (Chinese name Dang Gui) is a member of the family Umbelliferae. There are 80 species of Angelica, mainly distributed in the northern temperate zone and New Zealand. In China, there are approximately 40 species, mainly distributed in the south-west, north-east and north-west zones, e.g. in the provinces of Yung Nan, Si Chuan, Shan Si, Hu Bei, Gan Su etc. The altitude of these areas is about 1500-3000 m, the annual average temperature is 5.5-11.4°C, the annual rainfall is 500-600 mm. A few species of Angelica may be used for food, forage and medicine. The common species are A. acutiloba (Sieb. et Zucc), A. polymorpha, Maxin, A. porphyrocoulis Naxai et Kitag, A. tsinlingensis, A. sinensis etc., of which A. sinensis is the most important. A. sinensis: perennial herb (80-150 cm), leaves tridigitato-pinnate divided, petioles expand tubular sheath, flowers white compound umbel, fruit longelliptic lateral angular with wide wings. As a cultivated plant, Dang Gui (A. sinensis) is mainly produced in the southeast of the Gan Su province, China, e.g. Min Xian and Dang Chang Xian. Since 1970, Dang Gui has also been produced in Shan Xi, Si Chuan and Yung Nan provinces, the seeds, Read more […]

Herbs for functional menorrhagia

Herbs for functional menorrhagia are chosen from the following categories. • Herbs which affect uterine tone and regulate uterine bleeding: the uterine anti-haemorrhagics, uterine tonics and emmenogogues. • Herbs which have diverse ‘systemic’ effects, and which improve the overall vitality or constitutional state of the woman: the female tonic herbs and the Liver herbs which reduce bleeding by clearing Heat and (often) aiding oestrogen clearance. Uterine anti-haemorrhagics Herbalists refer to anti-haemorrhagics as being Drying — in fact one of the ways to tell if a herb has an astringent effect is to see whether it has the typical drying and puckering sensation in the mouth. This ‘astringent’ effect is caused by tannins, but tannins are not responsible for the effects on the uterus because they are not absorbed from the gut. The uterine anti-haemorrhagics usually contain the tannins characteristic of most herbal astringents, in addition to other (non-tannin) constituents, primarily flavonoids and saponins which regulate bleeding. Some of these effects are quite complex, and not all of them are understood. They are discussed in greater detail in the section on uterine anti-haemorrhagics herbs in site. Uterine Read more […]

Uterine Tonics: Venotonics

Treatment of pelvic congestion syndrome incorporates a combination of therapeutic actions, including anti-inflammatory, uterine tonics, and herbs used as vascular tonics. Uterine tonics, which historically have included herbs such as blue cohosh, goldenseal, lady’s mantle, motherwort, partridge berry, red raspberry leaf, and cramp bark and black haw, are thought to exert their efforts by improving the overall tone of the uterine smooth musculature and vasculature. Goldenseal, for example, typically regarded for its antimicrobial effects, was used extensively by the Eclectics for the treatment of uterine bleeding resulting from a variety of conditions, including endometriosis, fibroids, and changes associated with menopause. Although no clinical studies have been conducted using whole herb, in vitro trials using berberine, one of the primary alkaloids in goldenseal, have demonstrated both uterine smooth muscles stimulant and inhibitory activity. Aqueous extracts of red raspberry leaf also have demonstrated both stimulatory and inhibitory effects on uterine smooth muscle. In fact, this paradoxic effect is seen with several of the herbs commonly used as both uterine tonics and spasmolytics, for example, cramp bark and Read more […]

Cervical Dysplasia

Botanical And Naturopathic Approaches Cervical dysplasia describes cervical cells with an atypical appearance, loss of uniformity in cell structure, and loss of their normal architectural orientation. Each year between 250,000 and 1 million women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical dysplasia. It can occur at any age, but the mean ages are 25 to 35 years old. Atypia and dysplasia can be caused by inflammation, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), or carcinoma in situ (CIS) (see Staging). Atypical cervical cells can be a precursor to invasive cervical cancer. Mild dysplasia is the most common form of cervical dysplasia, and up to 70% of these cases regress on their own, the cervical tissue returning to normal without treatment. Moderate and severe dysplasias are less likely to resolve spontaneously and have a higher rate of progression to cancer. The greater the abnormality of the cells as determined by staging, the higher the risk for developing cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the third most common gynecological malignancy in US women (see site). Cervical dysplasia is inversely related to the age of first intercourse; it is directly related to the number of sexual partners in the woman’s lifetime, Read more […]

Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids (properly called leiomyomata or myomas) are solid, well-defined benign monoclonal tumors of the smooth muscle cells of the uterus. They range in size from microscopic to many pounds in weight, and may be singular or clustered. Multiple myomas in the same uterus are not clonally related. Fibroid size is described in comparison to a pregnant uterus (i.e., a fibroid the size of a 16-week pregnancy). As many as 20% to 40% of all women develop fibroids by age 40. Approximately 17% of all hysterectomies performed in the United States are for uterine myomas, with a peak incidence of surgery occurring for women around age 45, making fibroids the primary annual cause of pre-menopausal hysterectomy in the United States. They are rare in a premenarchal young women and shrinkage typically occurs in post-menopausal women with the natural decline in estrogen levels, unless stimulated by exogenous estrogen (foreign estrogens usually a result of environmental exposure, for example, from pesticides or plastics). For unknown reasons, fibroids are two to three times more common in black women than white, Asian, and Hispanic women. Fibroids are classified according to their site of growth in the uterine or surrounding 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 […]

Herb-Drug Interactions: Shatavari

Asparagus racemosus Willd. (Asparagaceae) Synonym(s) and related species Wild asparagus. Not to be confused with asparagus, which is Asparagus officinalis, the species used as a food. Constituents The root and rhizome of shatavari contain a series of steroidal saponins, the shatavarins and others, based on sarsapogenin, diosgenin and arasapogenin. The polycyclic alkaloid asparagamine A, benzofurans such as racemofuran and racemosol, and the isoflavone 8-methoxy-5,6,4′-trihydroxyisoflavone 7-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside are also present. Use and indications Shatavari is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for dealing with problems related to women’s fertility, loss of libido, threatened miscarriage and menopausal problems, and to increase the flow of breast milk. It is also reported to be antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, demulcent, diuretic, anti-diar-rhoeal, antirheumatic and antidiabetic. Some of these indications are supported by pharmacological (but little clinical) evidence. Pharmacokinetics No relevant pharmacokinetic data found. Interactions overview Shatavari may have additive effects with conventional antidiabetic drugs, and may alter the absorption of a number of drugs by delaying gastric emptying. Shatavari Read more […]