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Oct 11

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  • Acupuncture And Herbs Increase Pregnancy Rates Wednesday February 26th, 2020

    Acupuncture improves fallopian tube patency and increases pregnancy rates. A combination of warm needle acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine improves tubal patency and increases pregnancy rates in women with fallopian tube obstruction. These are the findings of a study conducted at the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department of Tongchuan Chinese Medicine Hospital (Shaanxi, China). [1]

    The study compared two groups. One received warm needle acupuncture and the herbal formula Tong Guan Tang. The other received Tong Guan Tang monotherapy. The sample size was 88 women with obstructed fallopian tubes. The total effective rate in the acupuncture plus herbs group was 93% compared with 70% in the herbal medicine monotherapy control group. A total of 39% in the acupuncture group became pregnant within 12 months of treatment, compared with 14% in the herb monotherapy control group. The study notes that acupuncture plus herbs is a safe and effective treatment for blocked fallopian tubes and is worthy of clinical promotion when applied in controlled clinical environments and only with treatment applied by licensed acupuncturists.

    A total of 88 women were recruited for the study and were randomly assigned to the control group or the acupuncture group. The control group was comprised of 44 women, ages 22–37 (mean age 32 years). The women had been unsuccessfully trying to conceive for 1.5–8 years (mean 3.7 years) and there were 18 cases of primary infertility and 26 cases of secondary infertility. Of the 88 fallopian tubes in the control group, 46 were fully obstructed and 42 partially obstructed. The acupuncture group was comprised of 44 women, ages 23–38 (mean age 32.1 years). The women had been unsuccessfully trying to conceive for 2–7 years (mean 3.8 years) and there were 16 cases of primary infertility and 28 cases of secondary infertility. Of the 88 fallopian tubes in the acupuncture group, 43 were fully obstructed and 45 were partially obstructed. There were no statistically significant differences in baseline characteristics between the two groups at the outset of the investigation (p>0.05).

    Acupuncture and Herbs

    Both groups were treated with Tong Guan Tang, which was comprised of the following herbs:

    • Huang Qi 20g
    • Yi Mu Cao 20g
    • Gui Zhi 15g
    • Tao Ren 15g
    • San Leng 15g
    • Dang Gui 15g
    • Chi Shao 15g
    • Bai Jiang Cao 15g
    • Hong Hua 12g
    • Dan Pi 12g
    • E Zhu 12g
    • Chuan Xiong 12g
    • Fu Ling 12g
    • Lu Lu Tong 9g
    • Gan Cao 6g

    The herbs were decocted in water and taken daily while warm, split into two doses for morning and evening. The formula was introduced 3 days after the last day of the menstrual period and stopped during menstruation. A course of treatment was comprised of one menstrual cycle. After each course, a pregnancy test was administered and treatment was ceased if it was positive. If the test was negative, treatment continued for up to a total of 3 cycles. In addition to this, patients assigned to the acupuncture group received treatment at the following acupoints:

    • Zigong (MCA18)
    • Zhongji (CV3)
    • Qihai (CV6)
    • Hegu (LI4)
    • Sanyinjiao (SP6)
    • Taixi (KD3)

    Following standard disinfection, disposable, sterile needles were inserted and manipulated by rotation, using a balanced reinforcing-reducing technique. Once in situ, a piece of moxa roll was attached to the needle handles and ignited. The needles were removed once the moxibustion completed and the needles cooled. Treatment was administered for 5 consecutive days, followed by a 2-day rest. Treatment was stopped during menstruation and each menstrual cycle made up one course of care. A pregnancy test was administered at the end of each course to determine whether treatment would cease or continue.


    Outcome measures for the study included ovarian artery RI (resistance index) and PI (pulsatility index) as measured by abdominal color doppler ultrasound, complete blood viscosity (high shear), fibrinogen levels, and pregnancy rates after 6 months and 1 year. The total effective rates were also calculated for each group according to overall tubal patency.

    Mean pre-treatment RI was 0.56 in the control group and 0.57 in the acupuncture group. Following treatment, it fell to 0.55 and 0.51 respectively. Mean pre-treatment PI was 2.95 in the control group and 2.96 in the acupuncture group. Following treatment, it fell to 2.89 and 2.48 respectively. Significantly greater improvements in both measures were observed in the acupuncture group (p<0.05).

    Mean pre-treatment blood viscosity was 5.8 mPa-s in both the control group and the acupuncture group. Following treatment, it fell to 5.5 mPa-s in the control group and 4.2 mPa-s in the acupuncture group. Mean pre-treatment fibrinogen was 4.4 g/L in both groups. Following treatment, it fell to 4.2 g/L in the control group and 3.0 g/L in the acupuncture group. Significantly greater improvements were observed in the acupuncture group (p<0.05), indicating a possible additive or synergistic effect of combined therapy.

    At the 6-month follow up, 4 women in the control group and 13 in the acupuncture group had become pregnant. At the 12-month follow up, a further 2 women in the control group and 4 women in the acupuncture group had become pregnant. The overall pregnancy rates after 1 year were 14% and 39% respectively (p<0.05).

    The total effective rates were calculated for each group. Each case was classified as either recovered, improved, or ineffective, according to their tubal patency as assessed by radiography. In the control group, there were 15 recovered, 16 improved, and 13 ineffective cases, giving a total effective rate of 70%. In the acupuncture group, there were 32 recovered, 9 improved, and 3 ineffective cases, yielding a total effective rate of 93%. The difference in effective rates between the two groups was statistically significant (p<0.05).

    The results of this study suggest that Chinese herbal medicine improves tubal patency and pregnancy rates, but its effects are greatly enhanced by the addition of warm needle acupuncture. No adverse reactions were reported in either group, indicating that these treatments are safe and well tolerated when applied by licensed acupuncturists in controlled clinical settings.

    Blocked fallopian tubes may be caused by chronic pelvic inflammatory disease. To learn how to treat this disorder, visit the following courses. The first is PID and Chinese Medicine, Part 1, which is an ebook acupuncture continuing education course. The second is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Essentials, which is a video-based acupuncture continuing education course.

    Xiao Jinhuan (2019), “Clinical observation on treatment of infertility due to fallopian tube blockage with traditional Chinese medicine Tong Guan Tang and warm acupuncture,” Shanxi Medical Journal Vol. 48 (16) pp. 1991, 1992.

    Source: HealthCMI

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  • Insufficient evidence backing herbal medicines for weight loss Wednesday February 26th, 2020

    Senior author Dr Nick Fuller said with overweight and obesity rates reaching epidemic proportions worldwide, many people are turning to herbal supplements as an alternative approach to maintain or lose weight.

    “The problem with supplements is that unlike pharmaceutical drugs, clinical evidence is not required before they are made available to the public in supermarkets or chemists,” said Dr Fuller from the University of Sydney’s Boden Collaboration for Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders based at its Charles Perkins Centre.

    The systematic review and meta-analysis, published in Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism, analysed the latest international research in this area finding 54 randomised controlled trials comparing the effect of herbal medicines to placebo for weight loss in over 4000 participants.

    Results of the review and metanalysis

    The research team found that despite some of the herbal medicines showing statistically greater weight loss than placebo, weight loss was less than 2.5kg and therefore not of clinical significance.

    “This finding suggests there is insufficient evidence to recommend any of these herbal medicines for the treatment of weight loss. Furthermore, many studies had poor research methods or reporting and even though most supplements appear safe for short-term consumption, they are expensive and are not going to provide a weight loss that is clinically meaningful,” said Dr Fuller.

    About herbal medicines for weight loss

    The most recent data on the use of weight loss supplements, from a US study, showed that among people trying to lose weight 16 percent (12 percent of men and 19 percent of women) reported past-year use.

    Herbal medicines, or ‘herbal supplements’ as they are commonly known, are products containing a plant or combinations of plants as the active ingredient. They come in various forms including pills, powders or liquids.

    Common herbal supplements used for weight loss include green tea, garcinia cambogia, white kidney bean and African mango.

    The authors write that between 1996 and 2006, 1000 dietary supplements for weight loss were listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods without evaluation of efficacy.

    These substances can be sold and marketed to the public with sponsors (those who import, export or manufacture goods) only required to hold, but not necessarily produce, evidence substantiating their claims. The authors note that only 20 percent of new listings are audited annually to ensure they meet this requirement.

    In some countries, the only requirement is that the supplement contains acceptable levels of non?medicinal substances.

    “The growth in the industry and popularity of these products highlights the importance of conducting more robust studies on the effectiveness and safety of these supplements for weight loss,” said Dr Fuller.

    The review excluded studies where the herbal medicine did not include the whole plant, was comprised of plant oils or combined with other dietary supplements such as fibres and proteins. This analysis will be reported in a future paper.

    Story Source:

    Materials provided by University of Sydney. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

    Journal Reference:

    1. Alison Maunder, Erica Bessell, Romy Lauche, Jon Adams, Amanda Sainsbury, Nicholas R. Fuller. Effectiveness of herbal medicines for weight loss: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, 2020; DOI: 10.1111/dom.13973
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  • In Lab Study, Ethnobotanical Meds Effective Against Bacterium That Causes Lyme Wednesday February 26th, 2020

    Note: The headline of this article has been updated to clarify that, in a lab study, ethnobotanical medicine was shown to be effective against the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

    Ethnobotanical medicine is effective against the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, according to a preclinical study performed by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health along with colleagues at the California Center for Functional Medicine and Focus Health.

    Some background, provided by a press release: Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which spreads mainly through the bite of infected ticks. More than 300,000 cases are reported in the U.S. each year, compared to 65,000 in Europe, and the numbers are rising thanks to climate change and urban sprawl. Those diagnosed with Lyme disease are given a course of antibiotics over 2-4 weeks, but treatment is not always effective. Late-stage Lyme patients experience symptoms including fatigue, memory problems, facial paralysis, joint aches and pains, and heart palpitations, to name a few.

    The study surveyed 14 plant-based extracts, testing their effectiveness in vitro against the free-swimming form of the bacterium as well as against microcolonies. The researchers also tested the currently used Lyme antibiotics doxycycline and cefuroxime.

    The researchers found that plant extracts from black walnut, cat’s claw, sweet wormwood, Mediterranean rockrose, and Chinese skullcap had strong activity against the bacterium, outperforming both tested antibiotics.

    The strongest extracts, however, were Ghanaian quinine and Japanese knotweed. Both plants were found to kill microcolonies of B. burgdorferi and inhibit division of the planktonic form, even at low concentrations. A single 7-day treatment with Ghanaian quinine completely eradicated the bacterium.

    “This study provides the first convincing evidence that some of the herbs used by patients such as Cryptolepis, black walnut, sweet wormwood, cat’s claw, and Japanese knotweed have potent activity against Lyme disease bacteria, especially the dormant persister forms, which are not killed by the current Lyme antibiotics,” said Dr. Ying Zhang from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the press release. “These findings are exciting as they offer opportunities for improved treatment of persistent Lyme disease, which is not helped by the current standard treatment. We are interested in further evaluating these potent herbal medicines through animal studies as well as clinical trials.”

    Source: Wholefoods Magazine

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