Medical botanicals may have anti-inflammatory and pain-alleviating properties

19 July 2007

Experimental evidence is accumulating to suggest that medicinal botanicals have anti-inflammatory and pain-alleviating properties and hold promise for treatment of endometriosis.

The authors of this systematic review of clinical and experimental data on the use of medicinal herbs in the treatment of endometriosis suggest that medical botanicals may have anti-inflammatory and pain-alleviating properties.

Although there is a general lack of evidence from clinical studies on the potential efficacy of medicinal herbs for the treatment of endometriosis-associated symptoms, their review highlights the anti-inflammatory and pain-alleviating mechanisms of action of herbal remedies.

Medicinal herbs and their active components exhibit cytokine-suppressive, COX-2-inhibiting, antioxidant, sedative and pain-alleviating properties. Each of these mechanisms of action would be predicted to have salutary effects in endometriosis.

A potential benefit of herbal therapy is the likelihood of synergistic interactions within individual or combinations of plants. In this sense, phytotherapies may be analogous to nutraceuticals or whole food nutrition. The authors encourage the development of herbal analogues and establishment of special, simplified registration procedures for certain medicinal products, particularly herbal derivates with a long tradition of safe use.

The authors conclude that a better understanding of the mechanisms of action, toxicity and herb-herb and herb-drug interactions permits the optimisation of design and execution of complementary alternative medicine trials for endometriosis-associated pain.

Source

Wieser F, Cohen M, Gaeddert A, Yu J, Burks-Wicks C, Berga SL, Taylor RN. Evolution of medical treatment for endometriosis: back to the roots? Hum Reprod Update 2007;13(5):487-99.

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