Chinese herbal medicine for endometriosis
Flower A, Liu JP, Chen S, Lewith G, Little P
Chinese herbs for endometriosis
Endometriosis is a common gynaecological condition causing menstrual and pelvic pain. Treatment involves surgery and hormonal drugs, with potentially unpleasant side effects and high rates of reoccurrence of endometriosis. This review suggests that Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) may be useful in relieving endometriosis-related pain with fewer side effects than experienced with conventional treatment. However, the two trials included in this review are of poor methodological quality so these findings must be interpreted cautiously. Better quality randomised controlled trials are needed to investigate a possible role for CHM in the treatment of endometriosis.
This is a Cochrane review abstract and plain language summary, prepared and maintained by The Cochrane Collaboration, currently published in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009 Issue 3, Copyright © 2009 The Cochrane Collaboration. Published by John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.. The full text of the review is available in The Cochrane Library (ISSN 1464-780X).
This record should be cited as: Flower A, Liu JP, Chen S, Lewith G, Little P. Chinese herbal medicine for endometriosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD006568. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006568.pub2
This version first published online: July 08. 2009
Endometriosis is characterized by the presence of tissue that is morphologically and biologically similar to normal endometrium in locations outside the uterus. Surgical and hormonal treatment of endometriosis have unpleasant side effects and high rates of relapse. In China, treatment of endometriosis using Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) is routine and considerable research into the role of CHM in alleviating pain, promoting fertility, and preventing relapse has taken place.
To review the effectiveness and safety of CHM in alleviating endometriosis-related pain and infertility.
We searched the Menstrual Disorders and Subfertility Group Trials Register, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library) and the following English language electronic databases (from their inception to the present): MEDLINE, EMBASE, AMED, CINAHL, NLH on the 30/04/09.
We also searched Chinese language electronic databases: Chinese Biomedical Literature Database (CBM), China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Chinese Sci & Tech Journals (VIP), Traditional Chinese Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System (TCMLARS), and Chinese Medical Current Contents (CMCC).
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) involving CHM versus placebo, biomedical treatment, another CHM intervention, or CHM plus biomedical treatment versus biomedical treatment were selected. Only trials with confirmed randomisation procedures and laparoscopic diagnosis of endometriosis were included.
Data collection and analysis
Risk of bias assessment, and data extraction and analysis were performed independently by three review authors. Data were combined for meta-analysis using relative risk (RR) for dichotomous data. A fixed-effect statistical model was used, where appropriate. Data not suitable for meta-analysis are presented as descriptive data.
Two Chinese RCTs involving 158 women were included in this review. Both these trials described adequate methodology. Neither trial compared CHM with placebo treatment.
There was no evidence of a significant difference in rates of symptomatic relief between CHM and gestrinone administered subsequent to laparoscopic surgery (95.65% versus 93.87%; risk ratio (RR) 1.02, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.93 to 1.12, one RCT). The intention-to-treat analysis also showed no significant difference between the groups (RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.18). There was no significant difference between the CHM and gestrinone groups with regard to the total pregnancy rate (69.6% versus 59.1%; RR 1.18, 95% CI 0.87 to 1.59, one RCT).
CHM administered orally and then in conjunction with a herbal enema resulted in a greater proportion of women obtaining symptomatic relief than with danazol (RR 5.06, 95% CI 1.28 to 20.05; RR 5.63, 95% CI 1.47 to 21.54, respectively).
Overall, 100% of women in all the groups showed some improvement in their symptoms.
Oral plus enema administration of CHM showed a greater reduction in average dysmenorrhoea pain scores than did danazol (mean difference (MD) -2.90, 95% CI -4.55 to -1.25; P < 0.01). Combined oral and enema administration of CHM showed a greater improvement, measured as the disappearance or shrinkage of adnexal masses, than with danazol (RR 1.70, 95% CI 1.04 to 2.78). For lumbosacral pain, rectal discomfort, or vaginal nodules tenderness, there was no significant difference either between CHM and danazol. Authors' conclusions Post-surgical administration of CHM may have comparable benefits to gestrinone but with fewer side effects. Oral CHM may have a better overall treatment effect than danazol; it may be more effective in relieving dysmenorrhea and shrinking adnexal masses when used in conjunction with a CHM enema. However, more rigorous research is required to accurately assess the potential role of CHM in treating endometriosis.
Hospital of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine Affiliated to Zhejiang College of TCM, Hangzhou 31000, China.
OBJECTIVE: To observe the therapeutic effect of acupuncture and moxibustion on chronic pelvic inflammation. METHOD: Thirty-six cases of chronic pelvic inflammation were treated with acupuncture, the ancient recipe of Long Dan Xie Gan Tang ([symbol: see text] Decoction of Radix Gentianae for Purging the Pathogenic Fire of the Liver) and medicinal cake moxibustion. RESULT: The treatment resulted in cure in 9 cases, obvious effect in 16 cases, effect in 7 cases and no effect in 4 cases. CONCLUSION: Acupuncture, moxibustion and the ancient recipe Long Dan Xie Gan Tang used together can enhance the therapeutic effects on chronic pelvic inflammation.
Measuring the Effectiveness of Chinese Herbal Medicine in Improving Female Fertility
By: Trevor A. Wing & Elke S. Sedlmeier
Keywords: Infertility, Chinese herbal medicine, ultrasound, hormone levels.
Aim: To determine the relationship between female fertility indicators and the administration of
Chinese herbal medicine (CHM).
Design: A prospective cohort clinical study to measure accepted bio-medical
factors that affect female fertility and to determine if CHM can improve these factors as well as pregnancy outcome.
Setting: A private practice specialising in treating infertility with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The study took place between November 2003 and December 2004. Patient(s): Fifty women with the Western medical diagnosis of unexplained infertility.
Interventions: One monitored menstrual cycle measuring pre-treatment fertility factors, followed by treatment with Chinese herbal medicine and subsequent measurement of the changes in the same fertility factors.
Results: Significant differences were observed between the two time points for the majority of factors measured. Pregnancies in the sample group recorded 6 months after commencement of the last treatment were 28, with 11 live births and 7 miscarriages.
Conclusion: The study outcome demonstrates that using Chinese herbal medicine results in higher success rates of pregnancy, with no patient side-effects and a reduction in the category of patients conventionally classified as having unexplained infertility.
The research question this study seeks to answer is â€œDoes administering Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) improve the physiological factors affecting human female fertility?â€ The hypothesis is that administering CHM improves the main physiological factors affecting human female fertility and therefore also the pregnancy
rate. These factors are ovarian follicle number and size, uterine endometrium thickness, uterine artery
haemodynamics, serum follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), serum progesterone levels and corpus luteum
Research aims and objectives
1. Establish a sample group of 50 new patients registering for fertility treatment at a London natural health fertility clinic.
2. Test and record a predetermined group of twelve measurements prior to treatment during one menstrual cycle.
3. Administer CHM in capsule form for one menstrual cycle.
4. Re-test the same parameters in the third cycle of treatment, continue to administer CHM for six months (or until pregnancy is achieved if this occurs in less than six months). Follow up six months after the beginning of the last patientâ€™s treatment
5. To determine the number of pregnancies achieved.
6. Analyse results and discuss findings.
7. Draw conclusions and make recommendations for further practice and study.
The challenge for any investigative method when applied to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is that
in everyday practice, the same disease in different patients will have a different treatment principle
and herbal prescription. The information collected from the traditional Chinese examination and
assessment determines a diagnosis based on pattern differentiation and hence a treatment principle and
formula which is individualised for each patient. In our treatment of infertility there is, in addition,
a weekly modification of each patientâ€™s formula. As there is thus no standardisation of formulae for
patients it is not appropriate to discuss the formulae themselves in this study, but rather to simply study
the effects of Chinese herbal medicine treatment on female fertility.
The method chosen was a prospective cohort primary study using a sample group of patients registered
with the clinic for TCM infertility treatment.
Patients were selected for the study on the basis that they had no Western medical condition which might have affected their fertility. In other words they were described in Western medical terms as having unexplained infertility. They also entered the study on the condition that data obtained in the course of their treatment could be used in the study anonymously.
Clinical observation on treatment of 43 women with polycystic ovary syndrome based on syndrome differentiation
[Article in Chinese]
Jia LN, Wang XJ.
Department of Gynecology of Integrative Medicine, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 200040, China.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the therapeutic effect of treatment based on syndrome differentiation and its influence on the serum levels of testosterone and insulin in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). METHODS: Forty-three women, diagnosed with PCOS as well as syndrome of kidney yin deficiency or syndrome of spleen qi deficiency, were enrolled in the study. Twenty-five PCOS women with syndrome of kidney yin deficiency were treated with traditional Chinese herbs for nourishing yin to reduce fire (nourishing yin group), and 18 PCOS women with syndrome of spleen qi deficiency were treated with herbs for invigorating spleen and replenishing qi (replenishing qi group). Body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), waist circumference (WC), and the serum levels of insulin and testosterone before and after treatment were detected. RESULTS: Among the 43 cases, 20 cases had high serum testosterone level, in which 13 cases with syndrome of kidney yin deficiency, 7 cases with syndrome of spleen qi deficiency, but the difference had no statistic significance; 17 cases had high serum insulin level, in which 11 cases with syndrome of spleen qi deficiency, 6 cases with syndrome of kidney yin deficiency, the difference had statistic significance (P<0.05). In nourishing yin group, the serum levels of insulin and testosterone declined after treatment (P<0.05), and BMI, WHR and WC showed no significant changes. In replenishing qi group, the serum level of insulin declined after treatment (P<0.01), and BMI, WHR, WC and the serum level of testosterone showed no significant changes. CONCLUSION: Traditional Chinese herbs for nourishing yin to reduce fire can significantly reduce the serum levels of testosterone and insulin in PCOS women with syndrome of kidney yin deficiency, and herbs for invigorating spleen and replenishing qi can significantly reduce the serum level of insulin in PCOS women with syndrome of spleen qi deficiency. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2006 Nov;4(6):585-8.
Effects of the combined therapy of acupuncture with herbal drugs on male immune infertility–a clinical report of 50 cases.
Fu B, Lun X, Gong Y.
Department of Acupuncture, Second Guangdong Provincial Worker’s Hospital, Guangzhou 510720, China.
To study the clinical effects of the combined therapy of acupuncture with herbal drugs on male immune infertility and on antisperm antibody (AsAb), 100 male cases of infertility with positive AsAb were divided randomly into two groups, each consisting of 50 cases. The acupuncture-drug group was treated with acupuncture on Ganshu (BL 18), Shenshu (BL 23), Taichong (LR 3), Taixi (KI 3), Xinshu (BL 15), Geshu (BL 17), Shenmen (HT 7), and Xuehai (SP 10), combined with oral medication of Liuwei Dihuang Wan (Bolus of the Six Drugs Including Rehmanniae). The control group was treated with oral prednisone. The clinical therapeutic effects and the impact on AsAb were observed in the two groups. The results showed that the total effective rate in the acupuncture-drug group was 90%; while that of the control group was 64%, the comparison showing a statistically significant difference (P<0.05). The positive rate of blood serum and/or AsAb in both the two groups decreased in varying degrees, but the negative-turning rate of AsAb in the acupuncture-drug group was more obvious, the comparison showing also a significant difference (P<0.05). CONCLUSION: The combined therapy of acupuncture with herbal drugs has definite therapeutic effects on male immune infertility, which can regulate AsAb and raise the immunity of the patients.
J Tradit Chin Med. 2005 Sep;25(3):186-9.
Effects of ferulic acid on fertile and asthenozoospermic infertile human sperm motility, viability, lipid peroxidation, and cyclic nucleotides.
Zheng RL, Zhang H.
Department of Biology, Lanzhou University, P.R. China.
The capacity of human sperm fertilization principally depends on sperm motility and membrane integrity. Reactive oxygen species, such as superoxide anion and hydrogen peroxide, are known to impair sperm motility and membrane integrity by inducing membrane lipid peroxidation (LPO). Ferulic acid (FA), an effective constituent in various medicinal herbs, has recently been shown to scavenge oxygen free radicals and increase the intracellular cAMP and cGMP. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of FA on human sperm motility, viability, lipid peroxidation, and cyclic nucleotides in fertile and asthenozoospermic infertile individuals in vitro. The sperm samples were obtained from 10 fertile volunteers and 10 asthenozoospermic infertile patients. Washed spermatozoa were incubated at 37 degrees C in Ham’s F-10 medium with 0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.4, 0.8, or 1.6 mM of FA. Samples were analyzed for viability, determined by eosin-Y dye exclusion method at 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 h of incubation; motility, determined by the trans-membrane migration method within 2 h of incubation; LPO, determined by thiobarbituric acid (TBA) method at 3 h of incubation and the intracellular cAMP and cGMP, determined, respectively, by 3H-cAMP and 125I-cGMP radioimmunoassay at 3 h of incubation. The results showed: in both fertile and infertile spermatozoa, the viability, trans-membrane migration ratio (TMMR) and the levels of intracellular cAMP and cGMP in FA-treated spermatozoa were significantly higher than those of spermatozoa in control groups, while TBA-reactive substances contents in treated spermatozoa were significantly lower than those in control spermatozoa. The effects of FA on these processes were concentration dependent. These data suggested that FA is beneficial to sperm viability and motility in both fertile and infertile individuals, and that reduction of lipid peroxidative damage to sperm membranes and increase of intracellular cAMP and cGMP may be involved in these benefits. It is possible that FA may be used for cure of asthenozoospermic infertility.
Free Radic Biol Med. 1997;22(4):581-6.
Clinical observation on effect of combination of zhuanyindan and hormone in treating male infertility with positive antisperm antibody
[Article in Chinese]
Yu AL, Zhang FZ, Zhang FX.
Taishan Medical College, Shandong 271000.
OBJECTIVE: To explore the therapeutic effect of combination of Zhuanyindan (ZYD, a Chinese herbal preparation) and hormone in treating male infertility with positive antisperm antibody and its influence on nitric oxide (NO) level. METHODS: Eighty-two patients were randomly divided (according to the digital list) into the WM group (n = 20, treated with prednisone), the TCM group (n = 28, treated with ZYD) and the ICWM group (n = 34, treated with prednisone plus ZYD). The clinical effect, negative converting rate of antisperm antibody, changes of NO level in semen and various parameters of sperm motion before and after treatment were observed. RESULTS: The total effective rate in the ICWM group was 88.2%, that in the TCM group 75.0% and in the WM group 65.0%. Significant difference was seen in the ICWM and TCM group before and after treatment in NO level, sperm motion parameters, including linear motion speed, linearity, propulsion, whip frequency, sperm vitality and mean moving angle, and quality of semen (P < 0.05 or P < 0.01). In the WM group, significant difference in comparison before and after treatment was seen in NO level, propulsion, whip frequency, mean moving angle and quality of semen, including vitality and survival rate (P < 0.01). CONCLUSION: Combination of Chinese herbs and hormone could lower the NO (nitric oxide) level in semen and improve the quality of sperm. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2004 Mar;24(3):223-6.
This study confirmed Chinese herbal medicines can reduce the risk of miscarriage in the early weeks of pregnancy. Two days after embryo transfer a group of women was administered a Chinese herbal formula renown to reduce the risk of miscarriage. Control group were not administered any hers. But both groups were on progesterone support treatment.
Researchers found, that there was a significant reduction of miscarriages in the group taking Chinese herbal medicine. 23% of women in the progesterone only group miscarried, while in the Chinese herbs group this number was significantly lower – 13%.
The study was published in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine.
Chin J Integr Med. 2006 Sep;12(3):189-93.
Effect of Gutai Decoction on the abortion [miscarriage] rate of in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer.
Liu Y1, Wu JZ.
To study the effect of Chinese herbal medicine Gutai Decoction (GTD) on the abortion rate of in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET).
Observed were two hundred and forty-seven women having received IVF-ET and with beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (beta-HCG) > 25 IU/L on the 14th day after transferring. All were treated conventionally with progesterone 20 – 80 mg per day after transferring and if necessary the treatment was supplemented with Progynova 2 – 4 mg per day, with the medication withdrawn gradually from the 9th week of pregnancy till stopped completely. Among them 131 cases received GTD medication additionally, for 109 cases of whom the medication started from the 2nd day of transferring (taken as Group A) and for the other 22 cases from the 14th day after transferring (taken as Group B), the other 116 cases with no additional GTD treatment given were taken as the control group, with the medication lasting to the 12th week. The abortion rate in them was observed.
The abortion rate in Group A, Group B and the control group was 12.84%, 13.64% and 23.28%, respectively, the difference between the GTD treated groups and the control group was significant (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Chinese medicine GTD could reduce abortion rate in women receiving IVF-ET. PMID: 17005079 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]