Endometriosis

  Endometriosis

Title: Endo-Tea
Categories: Endometrios, Tea, Gladstar
Yield: 1 formula

3 pt Dandelion root
3 pt Wild yam root
2 pt Burdock root
2 pt Pau d'arco bark
1 pt Oregon grape root
1 pt Vitex (chaste berry)
1/2 pt Dong quai root

-----------------------------OPTIONAL, TO TASTE-----------------------------
Sassafras
Cinnamon
Ginger
Orange peel

Though I have only a little to add to the small body of knowledge already
collected on natural remedies for endometriosis, I've included it because so many women suffer from this disease and so little is known about it. Any bit of helpful advice that might bring relief to the thousands of women who suffer from endometriosis should be readily shared. It is estimated that upwards of 15% of American women have endometriosis and it has rapidly become the most common cause of infertility in the US. Endometrial tissue lines the uterus, where it normally builds up each month. During menstruation the excessive tissue is shed. For unknown reasons, this tissue sometimes detaches from the uterus wall and spreads to other parts of the body where it can cause severe problems.

This abnormal tissue has been found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, and occasionally in such diverse places as the lungs, elbows, head, brain, and nasal passages. Though no longer attached to the uterus, the endometrial tissue continues to respond to the hormonal fluctuations in a woman's body. Whether it is attached to the uterus or the ovaries, fallopian tubes, etc., it still bleeds during the menstrual cycle. This abnormal bleeding has no way to flow out of the system. It collects and stagnates, causing serious inflammation, pain, and occasional formation of cysts and scar tissue. Little is known about what causes endometriosis. I have heard several hypotheses, but most of them seem little more than educated guesses. There is some speculation that women who develop endometriosis have an immune system deficiency. Whether this is the cause or the result of the endometriosis is questionable.

Endometriosis tissue has even been found in the pelvic areas of infant girls, leading to the theory that the disease could be related to genetic defects or is possibly the result of toxic chemicals in the environment. Since endometriosis is a hyperestrogenic disease (produced by an oversecretion of estrogen), the abusive use of hormones in the raising of dairy, beef animals, and chickens could very well stimulate the overproduction of these hormones in our own bodies. The most accepted theory, however, is of "retrograde menstruation". During menstruation, especially if accompanied by excessive cramps, endometrial tissue is forced out of the uterus cavity and back up through the fallopian tubes.

This "retrograde flow" carries with it endometrial tissue, which attaches itself to other organs and proceeds to grow. Since it can be found in different places throughout the body, it is believed that the disease is transported both through the lymph nodes and the blood. But all of the above are just hypotheses at this point. The cause of endometriosis has not yet been determined with any certainty. (Remember that if your doctor tells you that the cause is such-and-such...he doesn't really know!)

Regardless of what causes endometrial tissue to migrate outside the uterus, estrogen stimulates its growth. Most treatment protocols focus on lowering estrogen levels in the body. Orthodox treatments include birth control pills, ERT (estrogen replacement therapy), surgery, or pregnancy. Though pregnancy offers temporary relief from endometriosis, it does not give lasting results and can hardly be considered a remedy. A recent drug, Danazol, has been used "successfully" for some cases of endometriosis. It is a male steroid that creates a scary scene of symptoms such as bleeding between periods, growth of facial and chest hair, acne, bloating, weight gain, decrease in breast size, and symptoms associated with decreased estrogen such as hot flashes), but it does decrease pain for some months.

Natural therapies offer help through diet, herbs, vitamin therapies, and stress-reduction techniques. Seeking to establish balance in the entire system, holistic therapies are based on the belief that given the right tools, the body can heal itself. Though there is little data available in this country about the long-term effects of natural therapies, what evidence does exist is supportive and encouraging. Dr. Catherine Kousimine of Switzerland has had many years' experience in successfully treating endometriosis with holistic therapies. Likewise, the well-known women's health clinic in France, Dispensaire des Femmes, also reports favorable results using natural therapies. Several women I have known personally have also reported excellent progress following a holistic program. These good results include reduction or estrogen in the system and relief from both menstrual pain and excessive bleeding.

Though there is little information available to document the long-term success of either holistic or orthodox treatments, relief IS in sight for endometriosis sufferers. Noninvasive herbal therapies offer long-term building, cleansing, and fundamental support. The results of these herbal programs are not felt overnight. It may take several months for the benefits to be truly appreciated. The orthodox treatments for endomtetriosis--which include strong drugs, pain killers, hormones, and/or surgery--offer more immediate relief, but fail to correct the problems that caused the endometrial tissue to relocate in the first place. Combining both allopathic and natural treatments may be the most holistic choice to make. We still know very little about endometriosis and must ultimately make our choices based on our belief systems and what feels right to us.

Though the cause of endometriosis and the cure still remain something of a mystery, the pain and discomfort it causes is very real. Frequently the early symptoms go unnoticed or are dismissed because of their close association with the menstrual flow. The primary symptoms of endometriosis include: : Severe pelvic pain around menstruation and ovulation : Excessive or irregular menstrual flow : Bleeding between menstrual cycles : Painful intercourse : Infertility (the leading cause in young women) : Intestinal discomfort : Painful bowel movement and urination : Backache

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Not all painful menstrual cycles, backaches, and intestinal discomfort indicate endometriosis by any means. However, if you are experiencing several of the above symptoms and they are getting progressively worse, it is possible that abnormal endometrial tissue may be involved. Oddly, some women experience no symptoms whatsoever, except perhaps infertility, and may never discover they have endometriosis except by chance in connection with another operation or test.

Unfortunately, healing endometriosis is not a simple matter. Reducing estrogen levels in the body and regulating hormonal production is the specific goal in most forms of natural treatment. To accomplish this, the primary focus is on the health of the liver and the endocrine system. The liver takes the raw estrogen secreted by a woman's ovaries and fat cells and breaks it down into estriol, a safer form of estrogen. Estriol doesn't cause the tissue proliferation that raw estrogen (estradiol) does. A high ratio of estriol to estradiol not only limits the amount of endometrial tissue produced and decreases the painful symptoms of endometriosis, but also protects against breast and uterine cancer.

Holistic therapies for endometriosis do not work overnight. Along with the suggestions in the next section, you might wish to explore the herbal treatments for cramps and excess bleeding. Make a committment to work on your health program for 4-6 months. During that time, you should begin to notice improvement. Your menstrual cycles should become more bearable, your cramping and excess bleeding should diminish, and your overall health should improve. If marked improvement is not noticed, you might wish to consider more orthodox forms of treatment.

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* Drink three to four cups of Endo-Tea daily for a period of three to four months. This tea specifically helps strengthen and cleanse the liver so that it can function at its optimum.

* Take pau d'arco tincture (buy or make according to directions in Flood Gates Tea recipe) three times a day for six weeks. Stop for a week and then repeat cycle.

* Take vitamin E supplements. Vitamin E is a natural antagonist to estrogen and helps to break down excess estrogen in the body. It normalizes hormone production and is essential to the health of the reproductive organs. It also helps to minimize the symptoms of endometriosis by limiting the adhesions caused by endometrial growth and by keeping the scar tissue that does form soft and flexible. The recommended dosage for endometriosis symptoms is 400-800 IU daily.

* Prostaglandins are a group of compounds produced during times of stress that have a direct influence on regulating levels of inflammation and pain within the body. While some prostaglandins intensify inflammation, others reduce it. Though they are essential to the healing processes in certain situations, in excess they can cause severe menstrual cramps and aggravate endometriosis. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) helps to regulat the production of prostaglandins. Found in evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil, flaxseed oil, and borage oil, GLA is highly recommended for women suffering from endometriosis. A recommended daily dosage is 500 milligrams twice daily. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils and linseed oil also favor synthesis of inhibitory prostaglandins and should be included in the diet.

* Don't underestimate the role that diet plays on the health of the liver. Make a commitment to nourish yourself with wholesome natural organic foods. Avoid refined processed foods, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine-rich foods. All of these deplete the energy of the liver and limit its ability to function properly. Furthermore, sugar and alcohol drain the body of the B vitamins that are essential to the health of the liver. Caffeine not only robs the body of B vitamins but increases the levels of prostaglandins in the system. Make an effort to focus on foods that are rich in B vitamins, protein, and minerals.

* Include shiitake mushrooms in the diet several times a week. Shiitake mushrooms inhibit abnormal tissue growth in the body. They are considered a delicacy as well as a potent medicine. At one time rare and difficult to find, fresh shiitakes are now showing up in the produce department of many grocery stores. You can also buy them dry and reconstitute them for cooking. I am a mushroom lover and this is one of those "medicines" I'd gladly take any day!

* Avoid foods that tend to raise estrogen levels in the body, such as wheat, citrus, and yams. Herbs that help to elevate estrogens should be avoided also, though most of these herbs have a regulating effect on the hormones, and balance rather than raise levels.

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