Uterine fibroids are benign tumors (non-cancerous growth) that grow in the uterus and lead to heavy periods, painful sex and cramping. Fibroids can be in any numbers and their sizes also vary. It is also termed as “leiomyoma” in medical science. With the number and size, the symptoms also vary. Not all women have symptoms with uterine fibroids. It is generally not painful and leads to heavy periods. Many women do not even know whether they have fibroids or not. Excessive bleeding due to fibroids leads to iron-deficiency anemia.
Uterine fibroids are most common among women of childbearing age. It is rarely seen in women below 20 years of age. Studies have speculated that 20-50% of women above 30 years age have fibroids that might go undiagnosed due to no symptoms produced.
Uterine fibroids can be of different types depending upon their position in the uterus.
- Subserosal Fibroids: These are located outside the uterus.
- Submucosal Fibroids: These are located within the uterine cavity.
- Intramural Fibroids: These are located within the muscular wall of the uterus. These are the most common ones.
- Pedunculated Fibroids: These grow on a stalk (known as pedicle) and can hang inside or outside the uterus.
- Cervical Fibroids: These are found in the cervical tissues.
- Inter-ligamentous Fibroids: These are found between the uterine broad ligaments.
Large fibroids can be painful and cause pain during sex, obstruct urination and cause difficulty in defecation. Submucosal fibroids decrease the fertility rate, recurrent miscarriage and difficulty in pregnancy.
In general, treatment is not necessary if the woman experiences no symptoms of the disease or the tumors are very small in size or the woman is going through menopause.
Treatment is available for uterine fibroids in conventional science. Medications can also be given such as mifepristone, raloxifene and oral contraceptives (low dose formulations). Surgical methods are also available such as a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus), myomectomy, uterine artery embolization (UAE), cryosurgery, etc. All these drugs and procedures have several side effects. Herbal science and ayurveda provide non-invasive and safer treatment options. In this article, we will discuss the most important herbs for uterine fibroid, which helps to get rid of them naturally.
Herbal Treatment for Uterine Fibroids
Herbs are a safe, easy and natural way to deal with uterine fibroids. Unlike surgical methods, herbal treatments are cost-effective and cure the disease without any incision and without any or minimal side effects.
Kanchnar (Bauhinia variegata)
Kanchnar or Bauhinia variegata is the most effective herb used in ayurveda for treating uterine fibroid. It helps in shrinking the fibroid. In ayurveda, there is a formulation named Kanchnar Guggulu, which is recommended for uterine fibroids. In this formulation, Kanchnar bark is the primary ingredient. Its bark has significant anti-inflammatory activity. In case of fibroids, it might help in lysis of fibrous tissue of fibroid tumor, research says.
How to Use
Generally, its bark decoction is recommended by the ayurvedic doctor. Bark decoction is prepared from 10 grams of bark powder and 160 grams of water. Water is reduced to 40 ml by simmering water with bark powder. In a dosage of 40 ml, it is taken twice a day. Before trying this remedy at home, please consult the ayurvedic practitioner for its suitability in your case. Each case can be different and may require a different approach to the treatment.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Turmeric is a popular spice that has a plethora of medicinal benefits. Curcumin is the active ingredient of this plant that provides the yellow color to the roots. Due to its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is used as an antiseptic to treat wounds, skin infections, cough and cold.
Turmeric is also used to deal with uterine fibroids. It can reduce the size of fibroids by acting on the endocrine system.
In an in vitro study, it was found that curcumin found in turmeric inhibits the proliferation of leiomyoma cells thus concluding that turmeric can be used as an alternative therapy for treating uterine leiomyoma.
How to Use
Turmeric is added in vegetables and cooked. Adding turmeric daily into meal helps in fighting from diseases. Fresh turmeric roots or dried form of turmeric can be used in daily diet. Capsules containing powdered turmeric are also available in the market.
An alternate method is to make turmeric tea. Boil 4 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of turmeric powder. Allow the mixture to cool and then drink.
Ginger (Zingiber officinalis)
Ginger root is a wonderful herb and is used as a medicine in Ayurveda. It is also popular in Chinese traditional medication. It boosts the immune system and is used to treat cough and cold. It improves blood circulation throughout the body. It has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. It reduces inflammation of the organs of the reproductive system.
Ginger is a popular herb widely known for shrinking the size of small fibroids and healing them naturally. It works on the endocrine system and balances the levels of progesterone and estrogen. Since estrogen leads to the formation of fibroids, its reduced secretion causes the fibroids to reduce in size. It also reduces any kind of muscle cramps associated with the fibroids.
How to Use
It is always safe to consume ginger roots. It can be crushed and added in the daily diet for overall health improvement. Ginger tea can also be prepared using freshly crushed ginger roots.
Take 1-inch long fresh ginger root and boil in 2 cups of water. Let it steep for 10 minutes then strain and drink the liquid. You can add honey and cardamom to enhance the taste. This tea can be consumed 2 times in a day. It also helps to remove the symptoms associated with uterine fibroids. Garlic can also be added into the tea for more effective results.
Regular consumption of these herbal formulations gives a better result. It is important to note that, herbal formulations are not regulated by the FDA. Better seek an herbalist or a practitioner who can guide through the uses of these herbs before actually using these herbs for medicinal purposes.
Above we discussed 3 important ayurvedic herbs used in the treatment of uterine fibroid. Here are some herbs, which might also help in the management of uterine fibroids.
Chaste Berry (Vitex agnus-castus)
Chaste berry or chaste tree berry is commonly known as Vitex. It is a traditional herb used to deal with gynecological problems such as premenstrual symptoms (PMS), heavy bleeding, painful menstruation, menopause and uterine fibroids. It regulates the female hormones, balances the levels of progesterone and estrogen and stimulates the pituitary gland. Vitex contains a chemical called diterpenoids that increases the secretion of dopamine that stimulates the pituitary gland. This leads to an increase in the progesterone level and decreases estrogen level in the body, thereby causing shrink in the size of the fibroids.
The leaves and flowers of this plant are used to make medicines and herbal preparations. Vitex takes a long time to show better results. It also regulates menstruation and heavy menstrual bleeding that might result in uterine fibroids.
How to Use
Take 25-30 drops of Chaste berry tincture two to four times a day to shrink the small fibroids until the benefits are not visible.
Chaste berry herb is available in the form of tablets, capsules, tea, powder or tincture form. Take 30-50 drops of caste berry extract thrice a day. Consume it regularly for three months or more for better results. Liquid chaste berry extract can also be made from the dried herb.
You can also make chaste berry tea at home and drink it 3 times a day. For making tea, take two teaspoons of dried herbs in 2 cups of water, boil it, let it steep for 10 minutes and then strain. You can add spices and honey to taste.
Warning: Do not use Chaste berry herb if using oral contraceptive pills because it reduces the effectiveness of the birth control pills. Take medical advice before taking Chaste berry herbs if you are pregnant.
Dong Quai (Angelica Sinensis)
Dong Quai is another female-friendly herb used to treat problems related to females. It improves blood circulation in the body, allows the growth of healthy tissues and wards off any unnecessary tissue growth in the body. It removes toxins from the body and thus acts as a natural blood cleanser. Dong Quai should not be taken by pregnant women as it works on the uterine muscles.
How to Use
Dong Quai is available in the form of a tablet, cream, lotion, tincture and dried powder. Its prolonged usage or taking high doses should be avoided.
Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa)
Black Cohosh is a wonderful plant that deals with gynecological problems. It supports the proper functioning of the female reproductive system by lowering the estrogen level and increasing the progesterone level. Reduction in the secretion of estrogen prevents the development of fibroids and causes shrinking of fibroids.
Black Cohosh is rich in minerals, nutrients and phytohormones that enrich the uterus and other organs in the body. It is anti-inflammatory and reduces inflammation of the uterus.
In a study, it was found that isopropanolic black cohosh is more effective in treating uterine fibroids in women with menopausal symptoms and relieves from menopausal symptoms by decreasing the size of the fibroids.
How to Use
Consuming Black Cohosh root powder every day in the form of tea or tablet helps to get rid of the fibroids naturally.
Dandelion (Taraxicum officinalis)
Dandelion plant is used as a traditional medicinal plant used to detoxify the blood and maintain hormonal balance. The development of fibroids in the uterus is due to the increase in the secretion of the hormone estrogen. Dandelion herb reduces the estrogen level and nourishes the body.
It is considered one of the best medicines to treat fibroids. It detoxifies the body naturally and cleanses the body. It flushes out excess estrogen from the body and shrinks the fibroids.
How to Use
Dandelion roots tea can be prepared easily at home using 3 teaspoons of dandelion roots into one and a half cup of hot water. Let the mixture steep for 15 minutes and then strain. Drink 3 cups of tea every day to get relief.
If you have a liquid tincture of the herb, take 1-2 teaspoons of the herb 3 times daily.
- Mayuri Shringnapurkar, U.R. Sekhar Namburi, M.N. Suryawanshi, A case study – Regression of Uterine Fibroid through holistic management of Ayurveda, International Ayurvedic Medical Journal. http://www.iamj.in/posts/images/upload/740_743.pdf
- Tsuiji K, Takeda T, Li B, Wakabayashi A, Kondo A, Kimura T, Yaegashi N. Inhibitory effect of curcumin on uterine leiomyoma cell proliferation. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2011 Jul;27(7): 512-7. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20672906)
- Ross SM. Efficacy of a standardized isopropanolic black cohosh (Actaea racemose) extract in the treatment of uterine fibroids in comparison with tibolone among patients with menopausal symptoms. Holist Nurs Pract. 2014 Nov-Dec. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25314113)