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The mother of a client came to me for a consultation for her twenty year old daughter a few years ago. Lisa had been at home in bed in severe lower abdominal pain for four days. Lisa had had a lot of physical symptoms of PMS in her young life, along with irritability, every month for years, and so they both thought that this pain was just a particularly bad month hormonally. Lisa took her ‘monthly herbs’ for cramps, but they didn’t seem to be touching her discomfort. She resorted to an aspirin alternative, which she rarely used. Lisa was unable to take regular aspirin, as it had caused her abdominal bleeding a few years before and she almost died.

But when Lisa realized that her period wasn’t due for another week and a half and the pain seemed to be increasing, they both became concerned. Jeri, Lisa’s mom, called the doctor, and she said to get Lisa in there right away.

After testing, the doctor told them that they had found an ovarian cyst and described it as the size of a grapefruit. Lisa’s doctor wanted to operate on it right away. She said that she would hopefully be able to limit it to a cystectomy, the removal of only the cyst, but she may need to remove the ovary, as well. Lisa told her doctor that she would like a few days to address it holistically, but her doctor was reluctant. Lisa and her mom nonetheless left the hospital and told her that they would phone her immediately if the pain worsened or if she showed any other symptoms.

As they drove away, Jeri and Lisa spoke about how they would proceed. Jeri used her cell to call me to schedule an appointment for about an hour later. Then she took Lisa home and tucked her into bed. Lisa lied there in fetal position, small beads of sweat along her hairline. She sipped water through a straw and closed her eyes to rest.

Jeri arrived to my office right on time. Her worry was apparent on her face as well as in her body language. We greeted one another and settled into my office. As we started to talk, a sense of relief began to replace the fear in her eyes. Jeri described the pain and discomfort her daughter had been experiencing the previous few days. I knew Lisa’s general health history, as she had been to see me the previous year for chronic tension headaches.

I asked her about her PMS symptoms, both over the past few months and throughout her young womanhood. She had always experienced at least mild cramps, but most months they got pretty bad and usually lasted for about three days. Lisa had used a tincture (liquid alcohol extract) of crampbark and black cohosh as soon as the cramping began for years. This helped relieve the pain for her for a few hours. I suggested that we meet again after this crisis had been resolved; so that Lisa could learn to use foods, herbs and lifestyle choices to help her body restore hormonal balance so she wouldn’t need to go through the physical and emotional discomforts every month.

We began to speak of the herbs and supplements that may help Lisa with her current situation. Because I am not a doctor, I do not prescribe an herbal program during consultations. Instead, I educate the client about various herbs, supplements and lifestyle practices that may support wellness and restore balance to the body and mind. Then we work together to choose which of those potential solutions may be most beneficial and that will realistically fit into the life of the client so, that they will actually use them.

Jeri told me that Lisa, a senior at the university, didn’t eat very well when she was away at school. She usually came home on weekends, and ate a healthy diet there. She had been raised eating whole foods, exercising regularly and played sports, and using holistic therapies whenever possible. Lisa had very high standards, and pushed herself hard; sometimes to exhaustion. When she was at school, she didn’t sleep enough, felt very stressed and rarely got any real exercise, with the exception of rushing to classes. Her grades were quite good, but Jeri said that the cost on her daughter’s body and mind was far too high. Lisa had been feeling a bit of depression over the previous few months.

I asked her about whether she might be drinking alcohol or using drugs; prescription, over-the-counter or otherwise. Jeri said that she and her daughter were quite close and could talk about anything. They both felt very strongly about drugs and alcohol. Lisa’s cousin, who she was very close to growing up, had died of an accidental drug overdose when he was only fifteen. Lisa had vowed never to touch drugs or alcohol, and to her mom’s knowledge, she never had.

I taught Jeri about several herbs and products that may be of value in Lisa’s current health crisis. We chose three products together that would address the cyst and one that she could use ongoing for supporting detoxification and increased nutrient support.

The program that we decided upon included:

Blood Support from Eclectic Institute combines five of my most favorite western herbs used for detoxification. Eclectic Institute offers excellent herbal products that are certified organically grown and then freeze dried, creating a potent and concentrated herbal capsule that captures the vitality of the fresh herb. Blood support combines burdock, red clover, yellow dock, nettles and dandelion root. These herbs have been used for centuries to effectively purify the liver and blood, assisting the body when there is an excess buildup of toxins to support overall health.

Estrotone, made by New Chapter, was selected to address the hormone balance and to direct the other herbs to the reproductive system. Estrotone is a very potent formulation that includes schizandra, ginger, black cohosh, Vitex (Chaste tree), rosemary and evening primrose oil. Schizandra is a Chinese herb that supports not only hormonal balance, but also helps to balance the entire endocrine system and all of the organs as it provides a sense of peace, calm and wellbeing. Black cohosh and Vitex are western herbs, well known to help the body find its own unique balance of hormones. Black cohosh is also an excellent herb used for inflammation relief throughout Europe. Ginger and rosemary have been found through years of compelling research to support healthy inflammation levels. A good organic ginger also helps any herbs that it’s taken with to work more efficiently; as much as 300% better! Evening primrose oil supports the reproductive system in numerous ways. Known in old England as the King’s Cure-all, Evening primrose oil has been used for centuries for arthritis, cardiovascular disease and several other inflammatory conditions. Evening primrose has also been used for the clearing of conditions that are considered excess in nature, such as skin problems and PMS.

Oilsmart is a balanced essential fatty acid formula that includes a significant amount of lipase, the digestive enzyme that breaks down fats in the digestive tract, so that the oils may be used more efficiently in our cells. Oilsmart provides many of the much needed omega fats necessary to help restore balance to every cell in the body. Some of these fats assist the body by reducing excess inflammation, while others help harmonize the reproductive system, according to hundreds of reliable studies.

Jeri thought CellFood sounded like an excellent choice for Lisa to use on a more long term basis. Cellfood seems to provide its users with an increase of energy and vitality through its ability to increase oxygenation of the cells and its powerful trace nutrient content. Cellfood is also used to help detoxify excess toxins from all of the organs and tissues of the body.

Jeri and I visited the local herbal pharmacy together. We found the four products and Jeri rushed home to get Lisa started on the herbs. Jeri added the drops of Cellfood to Lisa’s glass of water. Lisa took the first round of herbs and rested some more. Two hours later, she took them again. When she woke up about two and a half hours later, Lisa told her mom that the pain had subsided substantially. She took the herbs again and felt strong enough to sit at the kitchen table for a few minutes with Jeri.

They discussed the consultation that we had had in her honor. Lisa agreed that finding better ways to handle her high stress levels was imperative, and agreed with her Mom to eat better, exercise every day and drink plenty of water this last semester and beyond. Before she went back to bed, Lisa wanted to call me to make an appointment for when she had recovered and to thank me.

Ovarian cysts can recur. We spoke about how she might work to prevent this from happening. I knew that Lisa would do well to begin a program to help her reduce excess stress once this cyst was gone. I suggested that Lisa needed to get more sleep, practice her meditation (she had been meditating since childhood, but did not continue this practice while away at school) and get the essential fatty acids through foods or supplementation needed to help protect her body and mind from excessive stress during those last few months of college. She agreed.

I saw Lisa about seven weeks later to discuss a long term strategy for her health and wellbeing. She told me that she had visited her doctor a couple days before and that the cyst was completely gone! And her PMS was milder than it had been in years. This was really great news!

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2 Responses to “Herbal Support for Ovarian Cysts”

  1. on 22 Sep 2008 at 11:47 pm kelly

    would it be beneficial to take evening primrose oil and black cohosh together?

  2. on 23 Sep 2008 at 12:52 pm Cindy Hebbard

    Dear Kelly,

    Most herbalists and alternative healers believe that beneficial herbal and nutritional products should be taken together in a well constructed program.

    Have you read my article “Quality IS Everything”? Here’s the link:

    It is most important to choose only the highest quality products. The two you’ve asked about are found in Estrotone by New Chapter, as mentioned above.

    The best to you.

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