Uterine fibroid tumors are benign growths that develop on the muscle walls of your uterus. They can cause a lot of discomfort in the forms of excessive menstrual bleeding, pain in your pelvic area, and unusually long periods. Doctors don’t know the exact cause of fibroids, but estrogen and progesterone seem to promote their growth. Herbs may help shrink fibroid tumors naturally. Consult your healthcare provider before starting herbal treatment.
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Herbs that shrink fibroid tumors work in various ways. Western herbalists may recommend herbs that reduce estrogen, a possible cause of fibroids, or herbs that support the liver, which metabolizes estrogen. In traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM, herbs for fibroids must reduce dampness in the pelvic area and clear stagnant blood and qi, or vital energy. Check with a qualified practitioner for advice about dosage and preparation of herbs that shrink fibroids.
White atractylodes, or Atractylodes macrocephala, is an aromatic herb native to China. It is known as “bai zhu” in traditional Chinese medicine and is a potent qi tonic. It acts on the spleen and stomach channels and is part of several TCM formulas for gynecological problems, including fibroid tumors. In his 2001 book, “The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook,” herbalist and Asian medicine specialist Alan Keith Tillotson, Ph.D., D. Ay., notes that fibroids result from heat and dampness in the pelvic area, and recommends white atractylodes root for this condition. Atractylodes root breaks up stagnant blood, moves stagnant qi and removes heat and dampness, thus helping shrink fibroids. This herb may cause nausea. Do not use during pregnancy.
Milk thistle, or Silybum marianum, is a prickly herb with purple flowers native to southern Europe. Herbalists use the seeds to treat digestive and liver problems. The active ingredient, silymarin, plays a role in helping the liver eliminate toxins and generate new cells. In their 2000 book, “The Herbal Drugstore,” Dr. Linda B. White and medicinal plant expert Steven Foster recommend milk thistle for fibroids because the liver breaks down excess estrogen, a possible cause of uterine fibroids. This herb may cause mild digestive problems. Do not use milk thistle if you are pregnant or nursing.
Chaste tree, or Vitex agnus-castus, is a small tree native to Europe. It has a long history of use as a remedy for various gynecological problems, including PMS, low progesterone, menstrual cramps and breast pain. Active ingredients include diterpenoids, which increase dopamine by stimulating the pituitary gland. This leads to a cascade of effects that results in the regulation of estrogen and progesterone. Dr. Linda B. White and Steven Foster explain that chaste tree’s estrogen-regulating effect may help shrink fibroids. Do not combine this herb with oral contraceptives.