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Blossom ô †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Summary


CLINICAL NOTES

* There are many causes of infertility according to Western medicine, all with different corresponding diagnosis in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). For example, an inability to ovulate often indicates Kidney yang deficiency, while tubal obstruction means qi and blood or phlegm stagnation. A specific diagnosis is necessary in selecting the right herbal formula for the patient.

* One course of treatment is three months. Efficacy ranges from one to three courses. The couple should not try excessively to become pregnant during the first three months of herbal treatment. They should be psychologically prepared to not expect results too soon, and therefore help relax the Liver qi. In such cases, the chances of becoming pregnant would be greater. Advise patients that proper pre-conception care enables the body to be at its optimal health and is extremely important to ensure healthy conception and course of pregnancy.

* In cases where the period is irregular and there is no clear distinction of the phases, treat the underlying cause first by using a supplementary formula. When a menstrual pattern is established, use Blossom (Phases 1-4) accordingly.

* Women who were on oral contraceptives previously may not become pregnant as quickly as those who did not take any because the body needs a period of time to re-adjust and begin to secrete hormones regularly without the interference of contraceptives. Herbs will help speed up this process.

* Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), usage of intrauterine devices (IUDs), ruptured appendix, lower abdominal surgery, and ectopic pregnancy can all be causative factors to tubal dysfunction. A hysterosalpingogram is taken as a definitive test for tubal dysfunction. See Supplementary Formulas section for the most appropriate formula to use.

1.       PID includes endometritis, salpingitis, mucopurulent cervicitis, oophoritis, and upper female genital tract infection. Transmitted sexually through gonococcal, chlamydial, or bacterial infection, acute PID may present with no symptoms and in many instances be barely discernible. Consequently, pathogenic factors infiltrate and cause damage within the endocervix, and also weaken tubal integrity.

2.       IUD complications include bleeding and pain as well as potential for a perforated uterus. The most common side effects of IUDs include cramping and irregular vaginal bleeding. Complications ensue if other extenuating pathogens are introduced into the endometrial cavity. The possibility of rupturing a tubo-ovarian abscess may also occur during insertion.

3.       Pre- and post-surgical impediments also impair tubal patency. A thorough medical history should be taken, including past surgical procedures, especially of the lower abdominal region, for complete diagnostic assessment.

* Taking the formulas throughout the four phases also enhances the success rate of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Blossom (Phases 1-4) formulas have the following effects:

1.       Tonify the Kidney to help the ovaries produce better-quality eggs.

2.       Increase blood flow to the lower jiao/uterus and prepare the uterine lining for implantation.

3.       Regulate Liver qi for relaxation.

4.       Help consolidate the pregnancy, to decrease the chances of miscarriage.

* If it is unexplained infertility or there is no other significant underlying cause to the infertility, simply following the four formulas for each phase will be sufficient.

* Note: For sexual and reproductive disorders of the male partner, please refer to Vitality and Vital Essence.

 

CAUTIONS & CONTRAINDICATIONS

* Blossom (Phases 1-4) should be discontinued when the patient becomes pregnant.

* Women who take these fertility formulas may experience more bleeding during their period, which is a normal response of the herbs.

* It is important to remember that these formulas are designed to treat infertility. They do not offer any protection against sexually transmitted diseases.

* These formulas are ineffective for infertility caused by immune dysfunction.

 

SUPPLEMENTARY FORMULAS

Supplementary formulas are crucial to successful treatment of infertility. In addition to taking the primary formulas, Blossom (Phases 1-4) for the four corresponding phases, one or two [maximum] supplementary formula(s) should be added for optimal effect. The following are some recommendations. The patient should take 4 to 6 capsules of the primary formula and 2 to 4 capsules of the supplementary formula three times daily throughout the month.

* With Kidney yang deficiency manifesting as cold body and extremities, low libido, polyuria, hair loss, pale and cold appearance, and other cold symptoms, add Kidney Tonic (Yang).

* With Kidney yin deficiency or women over 40 years of age manifesting heat sensations, dryness, scanty menstruation, flushed cheeks, thin appearance, night sweats or dry mouth, add Kidney Tonic (Yin).

* With dampness accumulation where the patient shows overweight tendency or phlegm accumulation with thick tongue coating, heaviness sensation, add Herbal DRX.

* With uterine fibroids, polycystic ovaries, endometriosis, fallopian tube blockage, tuberculosis of the fallopian tube, post-surgical adhesions or other stagnations, add Resolve (Lower).

* With generalized tiredness and fatigue due to qi and blood deficiencies, add Imperial Tonic.

* With high levels of stress and Liver qi stagnation, add Calm.

* With chronic pelvic inflammatory disease, add Herbal ABX and Resolve (Lower).

* For Liver qi stagnation causing infertility in patients who have had abortions or miscarriages, add Calm.

* For infertility with coldness and blood stagnation, add Menatrol.

* With anemia or blood deficiency, add Schisandra ZZZ.

* For painful menstruation, add Mense-Ease.

* For male infertility, use Vital Essence instead.

* With post-abortion, post-surgical, or chronic infection/inflammation causing infertility, add Herbal ABX.

* For women with past history of miscarriage, herbal formulas may be used to stabilize pregnancy, such as with Bao Chan Wu You Fang (Preserve Pregnancy and Care-Free Decoction).

 

NUTRITION

* Foods that are cold (sushi, uncooked vegetables, salad, tomatoes, watermelon, cucumbers, winter melon, strawberries, tofu, crabs, bananas, pear, soybean milk, kiwi, ice cream, cold beverages) or sour (all citrus) in nature should be avoided one week before and during menstruation. Cold and sour foods create stagnation and cause pain.

* Eat more nuts, seeds, lamb, and seafood, especially clams.

* Avoid overly spicy and pungent food as they may cause excessive bleeding.

* Decrease the intake of processed food and increase the consumption of organic food.

* Avoid alcohol, coffee, and cigarette smoking.

* Always eat breakfast! According to the TCM clock, the most optimal time for the digestive system is in the morning from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m.

* According to Dr. Richard Tanís mirror concept, a diet high in small eggs such as fish eggs may be beneficial to women who suffer from infertility due to ovulatory or ovarian dysfunctions.

 

LIFESTYLE INSTRUCTIONS

* Eliminate things that are potentially toxic or unhealthy (e.g., alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined sugars, saturated fats, and chemical-based household cleaners and personal hygiene products).

* Sleep by 10:00 p.m. In TCM, 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. is when the yin shifts to yang. It is crucial for the body to be at rest during this time for optimal health.

* Avoid sports that may expose the body to cold environments, such as skiing and all water sports.

* It is important to understand that the body is like a garden. No seed can properly sprout and grow without fertilized soil, water and sunshine. Taking these herbs to regulate the menses and fortify the body with these nutrients and jing (essence) are steps one must take to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Because there is only one window of opportunity to become pregnant each month, it is important to be patient and to give herbs enough time to regulate and bring the body back to balance. Advise the patient to not feel so anxious, nervous, depressed, or worried. Encourage her to engage in yoga, meditation, tai chi chuan * tai ji chuan] or other activities that help her relax and focus on something else other than constantly thinking about trying to become pregnant.

* A positive attitude and low stress level can contribute greatly to a successful pregnancy. If taking a vacation will help, they should be advised to do so.

 

CASE STUDIES

* L.D., 27-year-old female, presented with a difficulty in conceiving for three years. The patient had a history of kidney stones and a high fasting blood sugar, which resulted in her taking Glucophage (metformin), a Western drug. Objective findings were warm body temperature and RLQ pain that would come and go, with a desire for heat and pressure. Urgent stools with watery consistency were also present. Blood pressure was 108/66 mmHg and her heart rate was 84 beats per minute. Lab testing showed blood sugar levels of 108 without the Glucophage (metformin), and her basal body temperature showed luteal phase on day ten with ovulation on days 13-15. The practitioner diagnosed the condition as Kidney yin and yang deficiencies with blood stagnation and Spleen qi deficiency with dampness. Her Western diagnosis was infertility due to luteal phase defect. The patient was given Blossom (Phases 1-4) corresponding with the four phases of the cycle. With the Blossom (Phases 1-4) the patient conceived a baby within five months of initiating the herbal intake. She had a healthy pregnancy free of complications compared to her first pregnancy where she experienced pre-eclampsia and a low birth weight baby. The patient did not take any herbs during pregnancy but continued with acupuncture treatment. Submitted by L.M., Lafayette, Colorado.

* J.P., a 43-year-old female, presented with a past history of three miscarriages within the past year. Her records showed that her FSH was high and she hadnít had a menstrual period in three months. Since her last miscarriage she has had hot flashes, insomnia, and night sweats. The patient was looking for a way to get pregnant. The practitioner diagnosed this condition as Liver qi stagnation, Liver and Kidney deficiencies. Blossom (Phases 1-4) were prescribed at 4 capsules three times a day. Her period returned within two months of taking the herbs. After acupuncture treatments and dietary changes, the patient was now six months pregnant. Her HCG was increasing and heart beat was present on the ultrasounds. None of her past pregnancies lasted longer than six weeks before ending in miscarriages. Submitted by M.R., Santa Cruz, California.

* S.M., a 43-year-old female, presented with infertility. It was noted that the patient had other health concerns of weight gain, irritability due to high stress, and undergoing IVF cycles. She had been experiencing high risk pregnancy, consisting of nine failed IUIs, and was currently taking DHEA hormonal drugs. The TCM diagnosis was Heart qi and blood deficiencies, blood stagnation, Liver and Kidney yin deficiencies, and Spleen deficiency. Her Western diagnosis was undefined infertility, possibly due to old age. For treatment, Blossom (Phases 1-4) was prescribed with the addition of Schisandra ZZZ. After six weeks of taking the herbs, she had successful conception implantation. The patient reported she was able to sleep more, moods were more stabilized, she was less fatigued, and her weight became more stable. As a result, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Submitted by N.T., Bethesda, Maryland.

* A.S., a 29-year-old female, presented with PCOS, consisting of multiple sacs, no ripening of the eggs, irregular cycles, and fatigue. It was also mentioned that she had two unsuccessful IUIs due to two chemical pregnancies. Additional symptoms included cystic ovaries, acne, increase facial and body hair, deficiencies of both vitamin D and DHEA, and short temperatured luteal phase. The TCM diagnosis was blood deficiency, phlegm and damp accumulation, Spleen and Kidney deficiencies, and ren (conception) and chong (thoroughfare) channels dysregulation. Her Western diagnosis was cystic ovaries infertility, low follicular and luteal temperatured irregular menstruation, and elevated prolactin. Blossom (Phases 1-4) was prescribed to her for the entire month, with Imperial Tonic to replenish the jing (essence), and Nourish to tonify the blood and Kidney yin. The six-month protocol was used to clear heat, tonify the qi/blood/jing (essence), and regulate the cycle. As a result, her temperatures had re-established to create normal cycles again. Secondly, after three months of balanced cycles, her cystic ovaries had reduced; she also had nourished her qi/blood/jing (essence), and her other deficiencies, which were also restored. As a result, she had a successful IUI and was now two months pregnant. The Blossom (Phases 1-4) and Nourish were very helpful. Submitted by N.T., Bethesda, Maryland.

* D.C., a 36-year-old female, presented with infertility which had been occurring for five years. It was also noted that she had an unstable luteal phase in addition to a slightly high TSH level of 2.81. Tongue was puffy with red tip; pulse was wiry. The practitioner diagnosed this condition as Liver and Heart qi stagnation along with Kidney yang deficiency. Blossom (Phases 1-4) were prescribed at three capsules three times per day. After taking the herbs for one month, her premenstrual symptoms had dissipated, followed by an increase of her progesterone level after two months. She had continued to take the herbs to achieve a pregnancy with a full term birth. The herbs were very helpful. Submitted by M.R., Santa Cruz, California.

* L.K., a 35-year-old female, presented with symptoms including unstable hormones, PMS with mood swings, swelling and sharp cramping. Her blood pressure was 106/68 mmHg and her heart rate was 62 beats per minute. Her menstruation consisted of dark blood, clots and was considered an irregular cycle varying between 26 to 36 days. Occasional breakthrough bleeding and spotting also occurred. In addition, she had a desire to become pregnant within one year. The TCM diagnosis was Liver qi and blood stasis. Blossom (Phase 1) was prescribed, starting with her menstruation at 4 capsules three times daily taken until the bleeding had ceased. The remaining Blossom (Phases 2-4) were taken to continue the treatment. After two months of taking the Blossom formulas, the patientís cycle returned to 28 days with minimal mood swings and pre-menstrual cramps. Three months after taking the herbs, she noticed the color of her blood became bright red and no clots were present. She is now starting to attempt getting pregnant after five months into the treatment. Submitted by A.G., Solana Beach, California.

 

COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS

Infertility is a common disorder that may be due to a wide variety of causes. Before treatment, both partners should be examined, evaluated, and treated if necessary. Each course of treatment is three months, and efficacy can usually be seen within one to three courses. Continuous and persistent use of these four fertility formulas will regulate menstruation, balance hormones, and strengthen the underlying condition. Not only will they significantly improve the possibility of successful fertilization, they will also increase the probability of a smooth pregnancy with minimal complications.

††††††† Female infertility is a complicated disorder that has numerous causes. In Western medicine, those with physiological disorders, such as irregular or absence of ovulation, are usually treated with Clomid (clomiphene). Though it induces ovulation, it causes side effects such as hot flashes, abdominal swelling, breast tenderness, nausea, vision disturbance, and headaches. Furthermore, those with physical disorders, such as problems with the fallopian tubes or cervix, are treated with physical intervention, such as surgery, intrauterine insemination, and in vitro fertilization. Though these methods are effective, they are more invasive, more expensive, and have more risks.

††††††† In TCM, female infertility is very complicated, and requires multiple treatment plans to ensure optimal success. Therefore, four formulas are used to address all possible causes of infertility. Together, they regulate menstruation, promote ovulation, nourish the body, and ensure optimal conditions for fertilization. This comprehensive method has been used with tremendous success throughout the history of traditional Chinese medicine.

††††††† Western and traditional Chinese medicine are both effective for female infertility. In general, herbal therapy is an excellent option for mild to severe cases of infertility, as it is very effective and has few or no side effects. However, if the women do not respond to herbal therapy, physical intervention may be considered as the last alternative.