Research and study on acupuncture and Chinese herbs
There have been over 30,000 research studies undertaken in the West involving acupuncture and there have have also been many studies involving Chinese herbs. The study of acupuncture and Chinese herbs in Australia and New Zealand is at bachelors degree level and many students opt to complete a Bachelors in acupuncture first and then a masters in Chinese herbal medicine.
Research at Western Sydney University
Mike Armour, originally a graduate of the New Zealand School of Acupuncture who then went on to do a PhD, is now senior research fellow at Western Sydney University. He is conducting a study on a variation of a herbal formula dating back to 200AD called gui zhi fu ling tang. Metagenics, the well known supplement company is contributing to the research and Mike’s study involves studying their variation of the formula called Gynoclear and its role it could play in treating endometriosis.
Chinese herbs and endometriosis has already been researched in China but this is the first study of its kind in the West.
Modern treatment verses ancient treatment
Endometriosis affects over 700,000 women in Australia and though laparoscopic surgery can remove endometrial tissue, it is not always succesful and can return.
Traditional Chinese medicine by default has always looked at treating the cause of the problem. Naturally, nearly 2000 years ago, ancient physicians were not able to do modern examinations to confirm endometriosis but the classic text books describe the symptomology picture very clearly being similar to the modern day presentation of endometriosis.
What causes endometriosis according to traditional Chinese medicine?
This condition falls into a pattern that is called “congealed blood” and hence the herb formula Gynoclear contains herbs that have the traditional use of dispersing stagnant blood. In the last seventy years or so, in China there has been a marrying of the ancient with the modern and as such, modern physicians have looked how traditional herbs could address modern diseases. For example, some modern Chinese herbalists use the combination of san leng and er zhu to treat blockages in the fallopian tubes.
One modern hypothesis as to the cause of endometriosis is that some blood at the end of the menstrual cycle has no where to go and then becomes stuck and develops into endometrial tissue. This view fits in very concisely with the ancient use of the formula gui zhi fu ling tang and this research being conducted by Mike Amour hopefully will pave the way for more research involving other Chinese herbal formula. Ideally research in the future will be able to have precise modern examinations to ascertain changes in the endothelial lining.
Heiko Lade has a Masters Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from The University of Technology, Sydney and currently resides in Hawkes Bay and practices in Hastings.