Wednesday, March 26

Treating Infertility with Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine has been used to treat internal disorders including infertility for thousands of years.
Practitioners of Chinese herbal medicine rarely use a single herb in treatment. Chinese herbs are formula based; many herbs are mixed together to create the perfect ‘concoction’ specifically designed for the individual patient.

Some formulae contain two herbs and some thirty or more herbs. Each herb has many functions. Each herb has its own flavor, nature, temperature and trophism.  Prescribing the right and the safe herbal medicinals requires training and clinical experience.  Herbal medicine is an extremely complex form of medicine which requires many years of arduous study and clinical experience to master. 

Self medicating with herbal medicine presents a dual dilemma. At best the herbs will be useless, as the key to correct formula prescription is an accurate differential diagnosis which can only be made by a licensed, board certified, experienced practitioner. At the worst case, self prescribing of herbal medicine may prove harmful or fatal.

A good example of this is Ma Huang/Ephedra.  Ma Huang is an herb prescribed on a daily basis by hundreds of TCM practitioners to thousands of patients safely. 
That several people have died as a result of taking Ma Huang has very little to do with the dangerous properties of the herb inasmuch as it has to do with individuals self-medicating.  Aspirin can prove fatal if taken by a hemophiliac.  This is not an indication that Aspirin should be banned or that it is a dangerous drug.   It is totally safe if used appropriately.

Herbal medicine is totally safe if prescribed by a knowledgeable expert. Not only is herbal medicine safe, it is highly effective in treating many pathologies without the concomitant harmful side-effects which often accompany pharmaceutical drugs.   There are greater than one million hospitalizations per year as a result of drug induced side-effects; not so with herbal medicine.
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There are many causes of infertility which include but are not limited to elevated FSH levels, PCOS, endometriosis, luteal phase defect, hyperprolactinemia; pituitary adenoma, blocked tubes, uterine anomalies, sperm anomalies, stress, and, infertility which is diagnosed as idiopathic. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine has, for more than three thousand years, successfully treated infertility; and it still does so today.

Nancy is thirty-nine years old and she wants to compete as an Olympic triathalete; she is five feet in height and weighs three hundred and thirty pounds.  Can she compete?  Let’s see.  She asks her best friend, Alice, for a recommendation for a nutritionist. Alice raves about Teresa J., a fabulous nutritionist who “changed her life”. So Nancy makes an appointment with TJ and has a consultation. Nancy listens attentively to TJ, takes notes and leaves TJ’s office full of enthusiasm, commitment and motivation.
Starting the next day Nancy begins implementing the new dietary regimen which TJ has prescribed.  Next, Nancy joins a local health club, hires a personal trainer and works out three to four days per week.  Finally, Nancy joins a meditation group and meditates daily.
What happened?  In twelve months, Nancy lost one hundred and fifty pounds, put on solid muscle, developed a ‘six-pack’ abdomen and can run twenty-five miles per week. She is in the best condition of her life!  Can she now compete in the Olympics? Well, I’m afraid not. To be an Olympic athlete requires a life-time commitment of training and nutritional guidance.  Nancy has, however, become healthier, stronger and happier than ever before!   What if Nancy wanted to get her reproductive system in Olympic condition? 

The proper life-style counseling which includes nutritional changes and perhaps an exercise routine and acupuncture and herbal medicine can get a women’s reproductive system in the best possible condition that it can be in at the present moment.  Your TCM practitioner should be able not only to treat you with acupuncture and the appropriate herbal formula but should also give you guidance regarding diet, exercise and life-style changes which will positively impact your health.

Many women undergo three to five unsuccessful IVF procedures. Often these procedures are unsuccessful for the same reason that Nancy could not even begin to be athletic – overall poor health and specifically, poor reproductive health. 
Women who are over thirty years old need to get their reproductive system in the best condition possible to achieve pregnancy either naturally or via an A.R.T. procedure.

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As we grow older our circulation becomes less patent. In addition to the frequent complaint of cold hands and feet, another effect of inhibited blood flow is that the quantity of blood flow to the uterine lining, ovarian tubes and ovaries is less.  Acupuncture and herbal medicine have a stimulatory effect on the blood circulation.  An example of impeded blood circulation is blood clots in the menstruate. Though in and of itself, menstrual clotting may not be an issue, it does indicate a circulatory dysfunction which can be both a manifestation of an illness (circulatory inhibition) and the cause of an illness (blood stagnation [i.e., endometriosis], causing infertility).

Acupuncture and herbal medicine can be an important aspect of one’s healthcare routine, used to assist in achieving the goal of better health in general and better reproductive health in particular.

Under the care of a licensed and board certified acupuncturist/herbalist who is experienced in treating the infertile person there are no negative or dangerous side-effects associated with acupuncture or herbal medicine; there is only upside potential.   Using acupuncture and herbal medicine as part of the regimen to achieve a healthy reproductive system is a fertile idea.

1 comment:

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