Friday, 1 February 2019

Herbal Mix Alleviates PCOS Symptoms

Article & Photo © Ann Walker
Characterised by menstrual irregularities and often accompanied by the development of secondary sexual male characteristics, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is a complex female condition, which is sometimes called a pre-diabetic state. Changes in diet and lifestyle aimed at weight loss should always first-line treatment for PCOS sufferers and can work well if strictly followed. However, to be successful, many women seek further support, particularly from herbal medicine.

In Australia, Professor Alan Bensoussan’s pioneering research team conducted a randomized controlled trial on 122 over-weight women with PCOS (PMID: 29178904). They divided them into two groups – one group was given lifestyle advice plus daily doses of herbal medicine and the other given lifestyle advice alone. The herbal medicine comprised Cinnamon, Liquorice, St John’s Wort, Peony Rroot and Puncture Vine.

After three months, menstrual regularity was greatly improved in the group taking the herbal medicine, compared with the control group. Furthermore, secondary outcomes of body weight, blood insulin, luteinising hormone (a hormone from the pituitary which helps to regulate the menstrual cycle), blood pressure, quality of life (reduction in depression, anxiety and stress) and pregnancy rates (among a sub-group wishing to become pregnant) were all significantly better or improved for those taking the herbs.

Prescribing mixtures of herbs, with several physiological actions, as used here are, is common practice among herbal practitioners. This approach is especially useful for conditions like PCOS with multiple presentation. In this study, liquorice and peony root were used to reduce the influence of testosterone, cinnamon to improve insulin sensitivity, St John’s wort to aid the resolve to lose weight, and puncture vine to aid hormonal balance.

PMID = PubMed identifier

Ann Walker PhD, FCPP, MNIMH, RNutr
Course Director DHM
Herbal Practitioner