Monday June 25 5:22 PM ET
Japanese Herbal Medicine May Treat Infertility
By Charnicia E. Huggins
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – The Japanese herbal medicine unkei-to may help induce ovulation in women who have stopped menstruating and it may normalize hormone levels in women who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome or other hormonal disorders, Japanese researchers report.
Unkei-to is a combination of 12 herbal drugs, including ginseng, cinnamon bark, angelica root, evodia fruit and ginger stem.
Women with polycystic ovary syndrome develop multiple cysts on their ovaries and also tend to be obese, develop diabetes and have excess body hair.
Dr. Takahisa Ushiroyama and colleagues, from Osaka Medical College, in Japan, studied 100 women who had either polycystic ovary syndrome or non-polycystic ovary syndrome. Fifty-two of the women received a 7.5 gram daily dosage of unkei-to for 4 weeks and the remaining 48 women were left untreated and used as a comparison group.
Study findings show that more than half of the women treated with unkei-to experienced an improvement in their menstrual cycle and successful ovulation, the authors report in the May issue of The Journal of Reproductive Medicine.
Further, women with high levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), characteristic of polycystic ovary syndrome, experienced a reduction in their LH levels after treatment with unkei-to, the report indicates.
However, while the findings may be encouraging, the study is lacking in that the authors “stated a proposed impact but no mechanism,” Dr. Maida Taylor, of the University of California at San Francisco, told Reuters Health. In addition, the “potential for toxicities may not have been measured,” she said. Taylor is not connected with Ushiroyama’s research.
“More research is needed to expand on what has been done so it would have more appeal to a more generalized community,” Taylor said. “We should only recommend those therapies that have documentation and substantiation for their claims.”
SOURCE: The Journal of Reproductive Medicine 2001;46:451-456.
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