Traditional Chinese Herbs for PCOS: From Theory to Real Life
By squeakerabudhabi on August 04, 2011
NOTE: I feel a need to say, once again, that I am NOT an expert in the area of Chinese herbs or traditional Chinese medicine. Everything outlined in this and the other blog mentioned below is from a study by actual, professional Chinese herbalists. If you go to the original blog (link below) I have links that will get you to both the original study in Chinese and translated into English.
Last week, I posted this blog on a study done by two Chinese herbalists about the curing of ovarian cysts (PCOS) with traditional, Chinese herbs to be used alone or in conjunction with acupuncture. I had already planned on doing the study if I wasn't pregnant; and, big surprise, I wasn't (although, it's very worth noting that I DID have a completely "perfect" 28-day cycle - woo hoo!); so I've jumped into the treatment this week.
Over the past couple of months, I had been compiling the needed herbs for the treatment. It took a lot of digging online, but after a tip from a very helpful reader (thanks again, Meg!) I found Yin Jang Supply. Yin Jang has an actual store-front in Denver, CO; but they sell bulk herbs (by gram or ounce) in their online store. I was shocked at how quickly the herbs reached me too. I did have to order one herb (can't remember which one it is at this moment, sorry!) from a seller on Amazon.
When the last of my herbs came on Tuesday afternoon, I decided that Wednesday (yesterday, August 3rd and CD 3) would be the first day of my treatment - day 1 of 30 - yikes! In my mind, I knewthat it wasn't going to be pleasant; but I have to admit, I could not have prepared myself for the special kind of nasty I was about to experience.
|One day's worth of herbs - it's roughly 1/2 cup of ground herbs. To be taken in three "doses per day, concocted in water", according to the study.|
Now, one piece of advice, dear reader, please take the time to thoroughly grind your herbs when you get them. Many will come in the rawest, dried form possible. So, I suggest you do what I did and get yourself a cheap coffee grinder that you can reserve for your herbs only. When I say raw, I mean RAW (but dried). As in, the cinnamon (gui zhi) literally comes looking like little wood chips. Seriously. The stuff from Yin Jang is amazing, but is as pure as it gets...case in point:
|Yeah, the herbs come in paper sacks; and you can see in this picture that the kun bu is completely intact - just straight-up dried herb. The rest of the herbs came the same way; which is why a coffee grinder is a MUST!|
After doing what I thought was a really great job of grinding all of my herbs, I made a plan of attack. For some reason I had it in my head that it would be easier to just out-right eat these herbs mixed in with something like applesauce or yogurt than to "concoct them in hot water" as the study suggested. Since applesauce is full of carbs/sugar, I decided to give plain yogurt a try. I was naively optimistic.
As soon I dumped in what looked like a third of the daily dose into the yogurt, I realized I had made a mistake. I could tell from the gooey, sludgey conglomeration that I would never be able to stand the obvious herbal putrification I had just created. It looked like this:
|Yeah...as you can see, I made a mistake.|
Nevertheless, I dove in and scooped up a big spoonful of the gritty mixture. As I said earlier, no matter how disgusting I had imagined the flavor in my mind, nothing could have prepared me for the actual taste hitting my tongue. It was nausea-inducing to say the least, the very least.
Mr. C was standing close at hand, his face contorting in mirror to mine. He suggested I take one of the sugar-free pancakes I keep in the fridge for emergency breakfasts and smear the goo on it to help mask the taste. Again, it seemed like a good idea in the moment...
|My sugar-free pancake smeared with herby-yogurty-ickiness.|
After gagging down nearly half of the pancake, my gut was retching. I told Mr. C that I had obviously "done a bad thing" in not following the study's suggestions. I decided to go ahead and dump out the remaining yogurt mixture and just make a tea out of the rest like the study said to do in the first place.
I took another third of the herbs and put them in a cup; then I boiled some water and poured it over-top. I noticed at this time that I had really not done all that great of a job at grinding the herbs. I had left many of them pretty chunky, actually; especially when you consider that you have to ingest this stuff.
|You can see the chunky state I had left many of the herbs in as they float to the surface of my "herbal concoction".|
Even though it was chunky, I drank it - all of it. Again, I found myself nearly gagging. All I could think was, "How on earth am I going to do this three times a day for thirty days?!"
I went back to the study and re-read the portion on how the herbal medicine was dispersed to the 50 test subjects. I realized that I might have literally had a misunderstanding; after all, the study had originally been written by Chinese herbalists in Chinese. As I was reading, it dawned on me that the process of "concocting the herbs in a tea" probably involved strainingthe chunks out of the hot water after they had steeped for several minutes - you don't leave tea leaves or tea bags in the water once they've been steeped. So, maybe I was supposed to use the same technique?
For my last "third" of the day, I decided to steep the herbs for 10 minutes in the hot water, then drain out the chunks and leftover "goo".
Mr. C holds our reusable coffee filter over a 4-cup measuring container that I used to filter the herbal "tea".
Mr. C helping me strain out the herb chunks from the liquid tea.
After straining the chunks out of the tea, you are left with a fluid that looks very akin to muddy river water:
|I have noticed that you end up with anywhere from 1 1/2 cups to a little over 2 cups of fluid after straining.|
Next, I used one of my Whey Low D packetsin my coffee cup and poured the "tea" on in and stirred it all really well.
|Hoping and praying at this point that the Whey Low will help mask the earthiness of the herbs.|
While it's not the tastiest thing I've ever drank, the straining and Whey Low really helped! I was able to stomach the taste and get the whole 2 cups down - hooray!
Today, I've used the same technique; and I'm already through two of the three doses. Even with the straining, the taste is equivalent to the way a cave smells. It's very dark, bitter, and earthy (as in, dirt). It's nasty, I won't lie; but I truly think it's going to be worth the results.
I've already noticed an extreme reduction in phlegm, and it's only day 2! I've always had sinus and congestion problems. As a singer, this has interfered many a time with performances and recordings. Last night and today I have noticed a serious reduction in my post-nasal drip and nasal congestion. I usually have to sleep with Breathe Right Nasal Strips, Extra, 26-Count Box in order to make it through the night comfortably, but I had no need for them last night.
As I mentioned in the aforementioned previous post, it is suspected that an excess of phlegm in the PCOS woman's body causes build-up around the ovaries; which creates the waxy substance that coats the cystic ovaries. It's pretty amazing that I'm already able to tell a difference in this area considering it's only been two days!
It's not going to be the most pleasant experience of my life, but I just keep reminding myself that this could heal my ovaries; which could help me have a baby. I'd walk through fire for that gift; so, swallowing 90 cups (but who's counting, right? ha!) of nasty herb tea should be easy beans.
Even though I've painted a pretty bleak picture of this treatment, I think it's important to say that I'm sticking with it. I'm not backing out. It's not so terrible that I can't endure it. I can, and you can too. I strongly suggest you follow my advice and save yourself a bad experience trying to mix the herbs with food. Don't make my mistake! Follow the guidelines set out by the study, and I'm sure you'll start to see results just like I am!
Onward and Upward,
PS: I noticed that I had forgotten to include a picture of the pellet-like pills that the Pangolin scales were formed into in the last blog I wrote about the herbs needed for this treatment. Since their purpose is slightly redundant in the overall scheme of the treatment plan, I will not be using them in the amount that I should; because I am not comfortable ingesting an animal product like this when I do know if it is ethically harvested, etc. BUT, I still wanted to show you all what the pills look like in case you decided that you did want to include them in your own treatment: