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POCS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) is an endocrine disorder that affects a patient’s entire endocrine system. Polycystic ovaries are the most characteristic finding, and this is verified by means of an ultrasound examination.

Symptoms of PCOS include chronic anovulation, hyperandrogenism, irregular menstrual cycles, hirsutism, infertility, acne, and insulin resistance.

Successful treatment of PCOS requires a multidisciplinary approach and careful treatment plan.

Treating each symptom with different medicine is a mistake that causes a number of side effects, interactions, and ineffectiveness.

Patients with PCOS express a strong desire to look for alternative treatment options. The market of alternative treatment options for PCOS is worth billions of dollars. Some remedies work, some don’t. This is a review of available clinical data on the use of herbal remedies for PCOS [1].

Vitex Agnus-Cactus

This remedy is proven to be effective as a treatment for hyperprolactinemia, improving menstrual regularity and fertility. These findings were confirmed on lab rats. Also, Vitex 40mg/day and Bromocriptine 5mg/day showed clinical equivalence, which means that Vitex was equally effective as Bromocriptine. Three randomized clinical trials (placebo-controlled) were published about Vitex effectiveness for oligo/amenorrhea and infertility.

Cimicifuga Racemose

Confirmed by two studies, Cimicifuga racemose lowers increased levels of Luteinizing Hormone. This is a consequence of a complex interaction between hypothalamus and pituitary gland. Cimicifuga racemose, at a dose of 40mg/day, was added to a standard therapy protocol 150mg/day clomiphene during one menstrual cycle [2]. The results were quite interesting: in the group that received combined therapy, pregnancy rates were 43.3%, compared to 20.3% in the group that received only clomiphene.

Tribulus Terrestris

Some clinical research studies revealed interesting effects of Tribulus Terrestris admission. Over five days, 750mg/day of Tribulus Terrestris was administered to healthy women. The result: a significant increase of FSH that dropped back to pre-therapy levels after the cessation of therapy. In another study, a three-month study period revealed that ovulation rates were the highest in the epimestrol (74%) group. Tribulus Terrestris (60%) was more efficient than clomiphene (47%) and cyclofenil (24%).[1]

Glycyrrhiza

Two clinical studies demonstrated its anti-androgenic effects. In one clinical trial, the anti-androgenic effect of Glycyrrhiza was demonstrated by administering 7g/day which reduced testosterone level by 40%. In another study, combined Spironolactone 100mg/day and Glycyrrhiza 3.5g/day were used and compared to Spironolactone 100mg/day alone. The treatment regimen lasted for two menstrual cycles and combined therapy turned out to lower testosterone levels by an additional 15% compared to the Spironolactone group.[1]

Paeonia Lactiflora Combined With Cinnamomum Cassia

One clinical trial of 157 infertile women (42 PCOS patients) provided some data on Paeonia lactiflora combined with Cinnamomum cassia. For eight weeks, 7.5 grams of the herbal combination was administered to women. In the PCOS subgroup, LH reduction was noted (by 49.7%). Ovulation was confirmed in 30 of 42 women in the PCOS subgroup.[1]

Cinnamomum Cassia

Metformin and Cinnamomum cassia effects were compared in an animal study. After 15 days of administering those two medicines and after measurements were collected, Cinnamomum cassia turned out to be superior to metformin in reducing testosterone levels and LH levels. Further studies should provide more evidence about this effect.

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