Herbal cures for uterine fibroids
Recent studies have shown that uterine fibroids are the most common non-malignant growths in women of childbearing age. Common symptoms may include heavy or painful periods; prolonged menstrual periods; bleeding between periods; pelvic pain or low back pain; ’fullness’ in the lower abdomen, with or without urinary or rectal symptoms due to compression; and reproductive problems, such as infertility, multiple miscarriages, or early onset of labour during pregnancy.
Many women with uterine fibroids do not have any symptoms.
The significant symptoms and progressive nature of the disease frequently require hysterectomy (removal of the womb), which is associated with surgical morbidity and precludes the opportunity for future childbirth. It has also been reported that the fibroids grew back after surgical evacuation.
But recent studies have validated more herbal remedies to provide permanent solution to the menace without adverse side effects.
Turmeric is a spice that comes from the root of Curcuma longa, a member of the ginger family, Zingaberaceae. It contains the active ingredient curcumin. Curcumin is a bright yellow chemical produced by some plants. It is the principal curcuminoid of turmeric. (It is sold as an herbal supplement, cosmetics ingredient, food flavouring, and food colouring.
In Nigeria, it is called atale pupa in Yoruba; gangamau in Hausa; nwandumo in Ebonyi; ohu boboch in Enugu (Nkanu East); gigir in Tiv; magina in Kaduna; turi in Niger State; onjonigho in Cross River (Meo tribe).
Thai researchers have successfully decreased the size of uterine fibroids after six months of daily oral administration of turmeric.
The study titled Curcumin in Reduction Size of Myoma Uteri was published in Thai Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
The researchers at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Bhumibol Adulyadeji Hospital, Directorate of Medical Services, Royal Thai Air Force, Bangkok, Thailand, determined effects of curcumin in decreasing size of leiomyoma (uterine fibroid) and to determine adverse effects of curcumin.
The study was a prospective on conducted in reproductive women with leiomyoma in Bhumibol Adulyadeji Hospital. 35 women with 81 leiomyoma lumps were recruited to participate by convenience sampling.
Ultrasound measurement of size of leiomyoma was done before treatment with curcumin was started. Main outcomes measure was size of leiomyoma. Size of leiomyoma was compared between before and after taking curcumin for six months.
The results showed the mean diameter of leiomyoma were statistically different at before and after three and six month’s curcumin intake. And both mean volume of leiomyoma was statistically different at before and after three and six month’s curcumin intake. Adverse effect of curcumin was not found.
Also, Egyptian researchers have successfully used turmeric, in clinical studies, to decrease the volume of uterine fibroids in women.
The study published in Journal of American Science is titled “Curcumin a New Modality for Treatment of Uterine Myoma.”
The researchers from Heliopolis Research Center, Cairo and Department of obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University Cairo Egypt noted: “Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is known for its antitumor, anticancer, strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antiangiogenic, proapoptotic, antiamyloid, antiarthritic, potent inhibitors of cytochrome p450, reduced cholesterol level. Uterine fibroid are the most common pelvic tumours and occur in 20 to 25 per cent of premenopausal women.
“Current pharmacological therapies include gonadotropin releasing hormone GnRH agonists/antagonists, oral contraceptive, progestin selective modulator of progesterone receptor (Aspprisnil) and mifepristone.
“The aim of this work is to use for the first time in the literature curcumin for treatment of uterine myoma. A total of 50 women had uterine myoma were enrolled in the study, the inclusion criteria were age between 20-35 years mean age 32±3.25, no more than (3) intramural myomas the main diameter at 3 D transvaginal ultrasound >5mm.
“Curcumin is used in the tablet form each tablet 450 mg one tablet after meal three times daily for 12 weeks, assessment of uterine bleeding by using daily bleeding diapers and haemoglobin (Hb)/main constituent of the red blood cell concentration, uterine dimensions and myoma dimensions are measured by 3D ultrasound.”
Haemoglobin is the main component of red blood cells and serves as the transporter for oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.
The results of the study found statistically significant decrease in the uterine volume and myoma volume (cm3), “again we find statistically significant increases in Hb percentage after treatment the bleeding stop completely in
88 per cent after two weeks treatment and after four weeks in 12 per cent of the cases.”
The researchers concluded: “Curcumin is a new drug with multiple pharmacological actions, no reported side effects of significances for treatment of myoma.”
Also, another study published in Gynecological Endocrinology showed curcumin suppressing fibroid cell replication by interacting with Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor-Gamma (PPARg). PPARg is a cell receptor that plays a role in controlling the cell cycle and cell division. It also has been found to suppress inflammation.
In order for PPARg to be active, it needs to bind to other molecules. Once this happens, it can then influence cell behaviour. In laboratory trials, the authors of the study found curcumin activated PPARg by binding to it. Doing so inhibited replication and growth of uterine fibroid cells. Curcumin and PPARg interaction also induced apoptosis, or programmed cell death, of fibroid cells.
A study on herbal preparations for uterine fibroids published in Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies recommended: “…Grind Secamone afzelii leaves inside a bottle of Citrus aurantifolia (lime) fruit juice. Add a cowrie with no hole and little potash. Soak it for one day. Take two spoons once a week to treat fibroid.
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