I had recently read a facebook post on Lichen Sclerosus by Dr Andrew Orr and decided to share a little of my own knowledge of this condition and how Chinese herbs may be used to treat it. Dr Andrew Orr is a well known Reproductive Medicine & Women’s Health Medicine Specialist practising in Brisbane who recommends acupuncture and Chinese herbs, as well as incorporating other natural medicine modalities in treating lichen sclerosis.
What can cause lichen sclerosus according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) ?
There area number of causes or patterns of disharmony involving a number a of organs. Probably the most common pattern is known as damp heat in the lower burner. The damp heat condition also can correlate to yeast infection and thrush and the treatment principle is to use herbs that clear heat and resolve damp. A common formula for this is known as er miao san. Another common cause is due to the liver. The Liver meridian transverses through the genitals and excess heat can get trapped in the meridian and accumulate in the genitals. An example formula for addressing liver heat is long dan xie gan tang. A weakness or deficiency in the body can also lead to the vulvar not being nourished by energy and blood and hence leading to a disposition to be invaded by pathogens according to traditional theory. In cases like this a tonic herb like huang qi could be prescribed.
How do I know which diagnosis I have for lichen sclerosus according to TCM?
It takes fours years full time training at bachelor degree level to become a qualified practitioner of TCM in Australia and New Zealand so hence I recommend that you consult with a professional in the field and avoid internet diagnosis at all costs. Prescribing yourself the wrong herbs could aggravate the situation.
Has there been any research on herbs and lichen sclerosus?
The Journal of China Medical University Vol 3, Number 10 , 2014 reported that Wu and Yu et al assessed the effects of chinese herbs on lichen sclerosus and the relationship with primary human vulva skin fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are the most common cells in connective tissue. The herbs involved in the study were ze lan, huang qi, dan shen, dang gui and chuan xiong. The herbs were able to inhibit the proliferation of the fibroblasts. The herbs used in the study are only a small sample of the thousands of herbs available.