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Chinese Materia Medica(2)

1. Herbs for Relieving Exterior Syndromes (Pungent and Warm)

1) ephedra

2) cinnamon twig

3) schizonepeta

4) ledebouriella root

5) perilla leaf

6) fresh ginger

7) notopterygium root

8) dahurian angelica root

9) chinese lovage root

10) spring onion

11) magnolia flower

2. Herbs for Relieving Exterior Syndromes (Pungent and Cool)

(to be continued)




Overcoming Menstrual Cramps using TCM

Chapter 2


Menstruation and menstrual cramps are particular to women. However, not every woman experiences cramps during menstruation.


Data shows that 67.3% of the women surveyed get abdominal pain during menstruation. In fact, about two thirds of the women who come to my office say they suffer from menstrual cramps during menstruation.

The problem here, however, is that many of the women suffering from menstrual cramps are dissatisfied with the gynecological treatment they receive, especially because they are not taken seriously. Most common responses toward menstrual cramps are “Menstrual cramps is not an illness"; "It’s just menstrual cramps” and “Cramps can not be changed unless you have children.”

Certainly, there are cases where menstrual cramps disappear after the woman has children. However, pregnancy and wanting to cure menstrual cramps are two totally different matters. The doctors probably tell this to their patients in order to cheer them up because having a baby could help them get rid of their pain, but it is also true that many of the women told this don’t like the doctor’s attitude.

In addition, the doctors who say such things tend to be men. As menstrual cramps is particular to women, it is natural that male doctors cannot completely understand it the same way a woman can, however hard they may try.

Of course there are many male gynecologists who have a lot of experience treating women with menstrual cramps and try to understand it, but the reality is that many women want to be examined by female doctors. For a woman who experiences severe pain every month, stories like Masako’s hinder her from going to the hospital and speaking to a male doctor about her pain. The fact that recently the number of women who want to be gynecologists is increasing may be reflective of the wishes of such female patients. We dare not say male doctors are not necessary, but we would like female doctors to play a more active role in treating menstrual cramps, as it is a problem only women can completely understand.


Circumstances differ depending on illness or injury. For example, it is ridiculous to think that only doctors with cancer can engage in cancer treatment or that only doctors who have experienced hemiplegia caused by cerebral hemorrhage can understand the feelings of patients with hemiplegia. But it is nevertheless true that if the doctor has experienced a similar illness or injury, he or she can understand the patients’ feelings better than a doctor who hasn’t.

The younger the woman with menstrual cramps is, the less chance the cramps are caused by illnesses. The older a woman gets, the more likely the menstrual cramps are caused by illnesses such as endometriosis and leiomyoma of the uterus. However, originally, menstrual cramps are not caused by illnesses. They happen to normal, healthy women.

Considering the fact that menstrual cramps is particular to women and men cannot truly understand them, we can only hope that more female doctors become active in this field.


* Checkpoints

- Menstrual cramps is particular to women and so men cannot truly understand them.

- Most female patients do not wish to be examined by male doctors.

- The younger the patients are, the less likely the menstrual cramps are caused by illnesses.

- Menstrual cramps are symptoms which attack normal healthy women.


Sharp pain and discomfort difficult to be understood by others


Before menstruation, a woman’s irritation increases, knowing the cramps will come again soon. The woman therefore may become upset more easily. However, once menstruation begins, due to unpleasant feelings and sharp pains, the feeling of depression surpasses irritation and anger.

During menstruation, a woman confronts her biggest enemy, the sharp pain; it makes the matter more complicated that the degree of pain, irritation and discomfort varies for each person. For example, in the survey, both Ms. A and Ms. B may say they feel irritation, but the kind and degree of their irritation will not necessarily be the same. This is one reason why many women fall into depression, thinking that no one else could understand their pain.


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) emphasizes the importance of questioning the patient about his or her symptoms before treatment because it recognizes the fact that symptoms differ depending on the individual.


- Next Chapter -

In the next chapter, we will review the reason why menstrual cramps occur.We will confirm that menstrual cramps is not an illness.