Using Herbs for Endometriosis: What to Know

Medically Reviewed By Jerlyn Jones, MS MPA RDN LD CLT

Herbs alone typically cannot treat endometriosis. However, research suggests that herbs have beneficial properties that may help alleviate symptoms. For example, turmeric and ginger may help reduce inflammation. Endometriosis occurs when lesions, unnecessary blood vessels, and tissues that resemble the uterine lining grow outside of the uterus. This can lead to significant symptoms of pain and inflammation.

Research into the role of herbs and other natural remedies for treating endometriosis is ongoing. However, early evidence suggests that they may offer benefits alongside medical treatments.

Talk with your doctor if you have questions about endometriosis symptoms, treatments, or home remedies.

This article discusses using herbs for endometriosis, including benefits supported by research and risks. It also describes other natural remedies.

Further research is needed

Many studies on this topic are limited or conducted only on animals or human cells. As a result, further research is needed to confirm the role and safety of herbs in treating human health conditions.

Also, some herbs may not be safe or effective for everyone. Like other natural remedies, herbs may interact negatively with medications, cause side effects, or trigger allergic reactions.

Always talk with a doctor before trying any new remedy or supplement, even if it is natural or available over the counter.

Turmeric

Someone sits in the sun and holds a cup of tea.
Lea Jones/Stocksy United

Turmeric is a vibrant yellow spice that contains curcumin. Curcumin has Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, along with other health benefits.

With endometriosis, new, unnecessary blood vessels may form and contribute Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source to the development of lesions. According to a 2019 review Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source of studies, curcumin may reduce the number of unnecessary blood vessels that form with endometriosis tissue. Curcumin may also reduce Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source the number of endometriosis cells.

You can use turmeric to season your food, drink turmeric tea, or ask your doctor about turmeric supplements.

Always talk with a doctor before taking a new supplement

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Trusted Source Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Governmental authority Go to source does not regulate vitamin, mineral, herbal, or other supplements in the same way as medications.

This means that supplements and their ingredients are not usually checked for safety, effectiveness, or the accuracy of their claims. Also, supplements can still cause side effects and negative reactions, even if they claim to be natural or are available over the counter.

Always talk with a doctor before taking a new supplement.

Ginger

Ginger is commonly used to ease cramping pain Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source during menstruation, which is common in people with endometriosis. Animal studies Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source also suggest that ginger may shrink the size of endometrial lesions. 

You can consume ginger in several ways, including:

  • making ginger tea from tea bags or slices of fresh ginger
  • swallowing ginger capsules
  • adding fresh or pickled ginger to meals

Cramp bark

Per its name, cramp bark has long been used in traditional medicine to ease pain Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source from menstrual cramps. These are common symptoms of endometriosis.

Researchers from animal studies note that cramp bark greatly reduced Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source the size of endometriosis lesions. Experts have also observed that extracts from cramp bark may decrease Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that encourage endometriosis-related inflammation. 

Cramp bark is also known as European cranberry or Viburnum opulus. You can use it as a tea, tincture, or oral capsule.

Garlic

A 2021 trial Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source finds that people with endometriosis who took 400 milligram garlic tablets experienced a reduction in endometriosis-related pain. As a result, researchers suggest garlic extract may help reduce:

  • pelvic pain
  • back pain
  • period cramps
  • pain during intercourse

Animal studies Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source indicate that compounds in garlic may help slow the growth of endometriosis cells and reduce overall inflammation. Garlic could also have anti-angiogenic properties. This means garlic may help stop the formation of new blood vessels for endometriosis tissue. 

Chamomile

Properties of chamomile may make it beneficial for endometriosis. Chamomile can act as an antispasmodic, meaning it may help ease cramping Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source in the uterus. 

Chamomile tea also contains the anti-inflammatory compounds luteolin, chrysin, and apigenin. These may slow endometriosis growth and damage.

For example, studies using human cells and animals suggest Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source that luteolin may slow the growth of endometriosis cells and reduce the size of lesions. Chrysin and apigenin may decrease inflammation and stop endometriosis cell growth. 

You can make chamomile tea using ready-made tea bags or by steeping chamomile flowers in hot water.

Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a natural compound in various plants that has the potential to ease endometriosis symptoms. 

You can find resveratrol in foods such as:

  • grapes
  • berries
  • nuts

A 2019 review Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source of previous studies suggests that resveratrol may alleviate inflammation by reducing the overproduction of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins occur naturally Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source in the body and can contribute to inflammation, pain, and cramping. Resveratrol may also encourage the destruction of endometriosis cells.

Green tea

Green tea is naturally rich in the nutrients catechins and polyphenols. These offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. 

According to research Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source , green tea may improve endometriosis by:

  • being anti-angiogenic, decreasing the growth of unnecessary blood vessels
  • promoting the destruction of endometriosis cells
  • slowing endometriosis cell growth
  • reducing uterine contractions
  • relieving menstrual and endometriosis pain and sensitivity

Other natural remedies 

In addition to herbal remedies, other natural approaches may help you manage endometriosis symptoms. 

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese therapy that involves inserting thin needles into specific body areas. 

A 2023 meta-analysis of six previous studies concludes that acupuncture may help ease pelvic pain associated with endometriosis.

However, more research is needed on the long-term impact and effectiveness of acupuncture for endometriosis.

See home remedies for endometriosis symptoms.

Nutritional supplements

Several dietary supplements show promise in easing Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source symptoms or preventing endometriosis.

Animal and human studies suggest that certain supplements may reduce the growth of new blood vessels in the endometrial tissue, ease pain, or decrease the size of endometrial lesions. These include:

  • vitamins C, D, and E
  • magnesium
  • omega-3
  • propolis
  • quercetin
  • N-acetylcysteine (NAC)
  • alpha lipoic acids

However, not everyone may benefit from nutritional supplements. Always talk with a doctor before making any significant dietary adjustments, including taking new supplements.

Learn more about the role of nutrition and supplements in endometriosis.

Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria in certain foods and supplements that may help Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source with endometriosis. 

Probiotic strains such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium may enhance the absorption of nutrients. Improved absorption is important for people with endometriosis, who tend to have low vitamin B levels.

Also, people with endometriosis commonly experience dysbiosis, an imbalance of beneficial versus harmful bacteria in the gut. Probiotics can support the growth of a healthy bacterial balance in the digestive system.

Ask your doctor for recommendations on probiotic products. Safety, suitability, and effectiveness can vary per person.

Read more about how to choose a probiotic.

Summary

Some herbs and plants, such as turmeric, ginger, and garlic, have properties that can alleviate endometriosis symptoms. They may help decrease the growth of endometriosis cells, lesions, and blood vessels.

However, herbs and natural remedies alone may not be able to treat endometriosis. Also, the FDA does not regulate supplements, and they may not be safe or effective for everyone.

Always talk with a doctor before trying a new supplement, self-treating a medical condition, or changing your prescribed treatment plan. Also contact a doctor if you feel that your current endometriosis treatment is not effective enough.

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Medical Reviewer: Jerlyn Jones, MS MPA RDN LD CLT
Last Review Date: 2023 Dec 20
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