Some of the research around the ways in which Chinese Herbal Medicine can improve a couples chances of Pregnancy are listed below.
Chinese Herbs better than drugs for infertility
A systematic review of the use of traditional Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) in the management of female infertility has concluded that it can significantly improve the chances of pregnancy, compared with Western medical (WM) drug therapy or IVF. The Australian authors included eight RCTs, 13 cohort studies, three case series and six case studies (a total of 1851 women) in their review. Meta-analysis of RCTs (1005 women) suggested a 3.5 times greater likelihood of achieving a pregnancy with CHM therapy over a four-month period, compared with WM drug therapy alone. Mean pregnancy rates were 60% for CHM, compared with 32% using WM drug therapy. Meta-analysis of cohort studies (616 women) suggested a mean clinical pregnancy rate of 50% using CHM compared with 30% for IVF. The study also provided evidence that herbal treatment tailored to the specific traditional diagnosis of each individual’s reproductive health pathology was a key factor in successful treatment. (Efficacy of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in the management of female infertility: a systematic review. Complement Ther Med. 2011 Dec;19(6):319-31).
Chinese Herbal Medicine Improves Infertility Treatment
A systematic review by US authors has concluded that Chinese herbal medicine may increase the effectiveness of infertility treatment with the drug clomiphene citrate (CC). Fourteen randomised studies representing 1316 patients met their inclusion criteria. Four studies (n = 315) reported a 14% higher likelihood of biphasic basal body temperatures. Six studies (n = 604) reported a non-significant 18% increase in ovulation rates. Two studies (n = 138) reported subjects 78% more likely to have endometrial lining greater than 6 mm. Thirteen (13) studies (n = 1202) reported a 50% increase in pregnancy rates. The authors noted the poor methodological quality and small sample size of published trials and called for more rigorously controlled studies. (Chinese herbal medicine and clomiphene citrate for anovulation: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Altern Complement Med. 2011 May;17(5):397-405).
Herbal formula treats PCOS effectively
A Chinese study has found that a Chinese herbal formula compares favourably with drug therapy for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The formula, Tian Gui Capsule (TGC), was composed of Shu Di Huang (Radix Rehmanniae), Zhi Mu (Rhizoma Anemarrhenae), Yin Yang Huo (Herba Epimedii brevicornus), Huang Jing (Rhizoma Polygonati Sibirici), Dang Gui (Radix Angelicae sinensis), Tao Ren (Semen Persicae), Shi Chang Pu (Rhizoma Acori tatarinowii), Gui Jia (Carapax et Plastrum testudinis), Bu Gu Zhi (Fructus Psoraleae), Hu Zhang Gen (Radix Polygoni cuspidati) and Ma Bian Cao (Herba Verbenae officinalis). A total of 47 PCOS outpatients were randomly divided into three groups. Patients in group A were given TGC, patients in group B were given metformin and patients in group C were given Dianette (ethinyl estradiol plus cyproterone acetate, an oral contraceptive with anti-androgen activity). All were treated for three months. At the end of the treatment period, compared with pre-treatment data, group A patients showed decreased levels of serum testosterone (T) and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), and a reduction in free androgen index (FAI), fasting insulin (FINS) and ovarian volumes. Their serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEA-S) levels increased, while their fasting blood glucose (FPG) levels showed no significant change. Comparing the three groups, the results showed that the effects of TGC on hyperandrogenism were not as significant as Dianette, but more effective than metformin. The effects of TGC on hyperinsulinaemia were not as significant as metformin, but were better than Dianette. Then authors conclude that TCG can treat PCOS by regulating ovarian function and reducing blood insulin levels, without inhibiting the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. (Efficacy of Chinese patent medicine Tian Gui Capsule in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2011 Sep;9(9):965-72).
Chinese Herbs Improve Embryo Quality in Women with Refractory Infertility
A preliminary study conducted in Japan suggests that women who have failed to become pregnant from IVF could benefit from taking Chinese herbs during future IVF treatments. The study involved 30 women with unexplained infertility, who had experienced three or more failed cycles of IVF. A Chinese herbal medicine formula, known as MACH (macrophage-activating Chinese herbs), was given orally to the women during a further course of IVF. The results showed that the combination of herbs used in this study significantly increased the percentage of good quality blastocysts (at both early and late stages) in all patients. Furthermore, treatment with MACH significantly decreased plasma concentrations of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) on the day of oocyte retrieval. No adverse events were reported as a result of the administration of herbs. (Clinical efficacy of macrophage-activating Chinese mixed herbs (MACH) in improvement of embryo qualities in women with long-term infertility of unknown etiology. Am J Chin Med. 2012;40(1):1-10).
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