Cervical inflammation, also known as cervicitis, affects more than 50 percent of all women at some point in their lives, according to PubMed Health. Alternative practitioners use many herbs in teas, douches or vaginal applications to treat cervicitis; different herbs are often used in combination. Most of the herbs used are said to have anti-inflammatory properties. Ask your doctor before using herbs to treat cervical inflammation, since potentially serious infections can cause cervicitis.
The most common causes of cervicitis include sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis or human papilloma virus. Overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina can also lead to cervicitis. Have your doctor check that you don't have a sexually transmitted disease or other infection before using herbs to treat cervicitis. Left untreated by antibiotics, STDs can spread up the uterus to the fallopian tubes, the conduits between the ovary and the uterus. Severe infection in the tubes can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, one of the most common causes of infertility. Using douches of any type, including herbal douches, can also spread infection more easily to the fallopian tubes. Do not douche if you have an STD or other type of infection; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that douching increases the risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease.
Chemical irritation from spermicides or irritation from mechanical devices, such as a diaphragm or cervical cap, can also lead to cervical inflammation. In these cases, painting the cervix with an herbal treatment or using vaginal suppositories may help, but ask your physician first. MoonDragon Birthing Services suggests using a combination of goldenseal, echinacea root and geranium root as an application for cervicitis. A vaginal suppository sold by Wise Women Herbals combines comfrey, bearberry, usnea, purple coneflower, marshmallow, mountain grape, marigold and yarrow. Herbal Vaginal Formula contains usnea, purple coneflower, myrrh, goldenseal, marshmallow, yarrow and cranesbill.
Oral herbal treatments often combine several herbs. Dr. Christopher's formula for reproductive inflammation combines 1/2 oz. each of white pond lily, comfrey, slippery elm, bearberry, and wild yam with 1 oz. of licorice and 1/4 tsp of cayenne. Tori Hudson's chronic cervicitis formula from her book "Gynecology and Naturopathic Medicine" combines licorice, usnea, purple coneflower, goldenseal and osha.
Chinese herbs suggested for use in chronic cervicitis include philodendron, also called huang bai; sage, which is also called dan shen; and isatis, which is also called ban len gen and da qing ye.
- MoonDragon Birthing Services: Cervicitis
- PubMed Health; Cervicitis; Linda J. Vorvick, M.D., et al.; February 2010
- Medical Herbalism; Female - Cervicitis; Robin Dipasquale, N.D.
- "Gynecology and Naturopathic Medicine: A Treatment Manual"; Tori Hudson, N.D.; TK Publications; 1994
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease