March is recognized in the medical community and by those affected as Endometriosis Awareness Month. For those who are unfamiliar with the disease, endometriosis is the development of the uterine-lining tissue outside the uterus. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, heavy periods, and infertility. According to the Endometriosis Foundation of America, endometriosis affects 176 million women worldwide and 1 in 10 girls and women in the U.S.
While it is, in most cases, a chronic disease, typical treatment options for endometriosis include pain relievers, hormones and surgery -- but if antiinflammatories (NSAIDs), hormone therapy or even a hysterectomy aren’t treatment options that you want to consider, try taking the herbal approach.
The University of New Hampshire Health Services reports that every culture and every medicinal system, from Ayurveda to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), has used herbs for therapeutic purposes.
Herbalism utilizes herbs to treat the underlying causes of disease in an individual. Instead of looking at signs and symptoms and then treating the disease, herbalists look at the big picture, from lifestyle to physical stressor, in order to prescribe the right treatment.
Here are the herbs that the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests may help relieve endometriosis symptoms the natural way:
Taking Evening Primrose Oil (Oenothera biennis) as a source of gamma linolenic acid (GLA) can help with symptoms of hormonal imbalance and stress.
-Warning: You should not take evening primrose oil if you are taking antipsychotic medications, medications that may increase bleeding or if you have a history of seizures.
-Herbal Supplement Suggestion: Barlean’s Evening Primrose Oil
Try Chasteberry (Vitex agnus cactus) for hormonal support. Chasteberry is usually taken long term (12 to 18 months) for maximum effectiveness.
-Warning: Consult a physician for long-term use. It can potentially interfere with certain medications, including hormonal, antipsychotic, Parkinson’s and other medications.
-Herbal Supplement Suggestion: Nature’s Herbs Chasteberry Power
Bromelain (Ananus comosus) is said to help with pain and inflammation.
-Warning: Bromelain may increase the effect of blood thinning medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin); speak with your physician. Bromelain can also interfere with other medications, including certain antibiotics.
-Herbal Supplement Suggestion: Nature’s Plus Bromelain 40 mg
A Turmeric (Curcuma longa) standardized extract can be taken for inflammation.
-Warning: Turmeric may increase the effect of blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin), speak with your physician before use. Turmeric can make gallbladder problems, such as gallstones, worse.
-Herbal Supplement Suggestion: MegaFood Turmeric Strength for Liver
Help raise awareness for endometriosis during the Month of March and check out our social media for more great herbal suggestions — feel free to give us yours!