Female - Herbs useful in the treatment of fibroids
by Chanchal Cabrera, MNIMH
Medical Herbalism 09-30-93 5(3): 4-5
Rubus idaeus (Red Raspberry)
The leaves of this plant contain types of condensed tannin such as sanguin H6 that appear to have a tissue-specificity for the uterus. Thus the plant is used as an astringent anti-hemorrhagic and a general toner and strengthener of the uterine tissues. Rubus is also a rich source of minerals, especially iron. Not all of the active constituents have been yet identified but as far as we know, a water extraction (simple infusion) is quite adequate.
Alchemilla vulgaris (Ladies Mantle)
This is very similar to Raspberry in its activity. It is rich in tannins and acts as a strong anti-hemorrhagic with a tissue-specificity for the uterus.
Achillea millefolium (Yarrow)
The leaves of this plant are rich in astringent tannins which make it an excellent anti-hemorrhagic. The leaves and especially the flowers contain volatile oils that encourage blood flow to the pelvic basin. This aids in decongestion of the area as well as being locally anti-inflammatory by virtue of the provision of more leucocytes and oxygen. The leaves are also bitter which promotes liver activity and hepatic clearance of estrogen from the body. The flowers also appear to have a balancing effect on the menstrual cycle, regulating the length of the cycle itself and the duration of bleeding.
Lamium album (White Dead Nettle)
This English plant is high in tannins and flavone glycosides. It acts to increase pelvic circulation, thus being an effective pelvic decongestant, and is a relaxant and anti-spasmodic for the uterus. The tannins also increase the integrity of the endometrial lining and regulate menstrual bleeding. This herb appears to have an overall tonic, cleansing, relaxing and strengthening effect on the uterus.
Mitchella repens (Partridge Berry)
aerial parts of this plant are a rich source of
tannins, saponins and a
bitter principle. It is primarily used as a
uterine tonic and to reduce
congestion in the pelvic basin. It is a gentle
emmenagogue and a preparation
in pregnancy for delivery.
Hydrastis canadensis (Goldenseal)
The extreme bitterness of this plant provides a valuable stimulating effect to the liver which enhances hepatic clearance of hormones. The root is also renowned for its tonic effect on all mucous membranes, including the endometrial lining of the uterus. It acts to reduce bleeding and improve the integrity of the tissue as well as reduce pelvic congestion.
Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort)
This contains alkaloids, glycosides, flavonoids, tannins and several different terpene compounds. It acts as a general uterine tonic as well as being a bitter digestive stimulant, a relaxing nervine and a cardiac tonic. One of the alkaloids (L-stachydrine) is especially stimulating and tonic to the uterine tissues. For this reason it is probably best to avoid Leonurus in fibroid cases where painful menstruation is a major feature.
Zingiber officinalis (Ginger)
This is an excellent stimulant of pelvic circulation which encourages the provision of oxygen to the area and flushes out congestion and morbid materials. Pelvic circulatory stimulants have the added effect of encouraging lymphatic and energy flow in the area.
Collinsonia canadensis (Stone Root)
This contains saponins, tannins, resins and an alkaloid. It has traditionally been used to dissolve renal calculi and as a diuretic. More recently it has shown promise as a general pelvic decongestant and specifically to remove masses from the uterus, ovaries or other reproductive structures.
There is still controversy over the use of herbs containing “phyto-estrogens” in the treatment of fibroids. One school of thought suggests that the estrogen precursors present in some plants (eg. Angelica sinensis (dong quai), Caulophyllum thalictroides (blue cohosh) and Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) will act to block the tissue receptor sites for estrogen and so reduce the effects of endogenous estrogen. The conflicting opinion is that the estrogen pre-cursers will be converted into active forms of estrogen and so “feed” the fibroid. So far there does not appear to be a definitive answer to this issue and clearly further research and possibly clinical trials are required.
It is often beneficial to use herbs that are stimulating tonics for the liver. If the liver is congested and overloaded then it will not be possible for it to adequately catabolize hormones and they may persist in the circulation longer than normal.
herbs may be helpful, possibly in the form of a
tea. Urtica dioica,
Fucus vesiculosis, Stellaria media, Tarax. off.
folia, Arctium lappa
and Ulmus fulvus are some of the most
- Alternating hot and cold sitz baths may be helpful in encouraging pelvic circulation and increasing uterine tone.
- Castor oil packs applied nightly for one hour over the lower abdomen will provide symptomatic relief of pain as well as aiding in pelvic decongestion and encouraging circulation and lymphatic flow in the area.- Guided visualization may be used to aid the patient in dealing with this problem. This may take the form of imagining the fibroid shrinking and disappearing or the flow of energy in the pelvis being free and unobstructed.