Chinese herbal medicine and IVF: is it safe?

Chinese herbal medicine and IVF

Traditional Chinese Medicine is an ancient medical system that treats imbalances in the body at physical, mental and energetic level. It focused on the root cause of the disease. The treatments have a cumulative effect, which means that each treatment builds on the last one. That is why we always recommend having a series of 6 or 12 consecutive treatments to fully enjoy the long-lasting health benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Eca Brady, an expert physician of Traditional Chinese medicine, has run a successful practice on Harley Street for over 11 years, focusing on IVF support, infertility, pregnancy, birth and post-natal recovery.

In her treatments she will use acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, dietary and lifestyle advice.

“Herbal medicine has become very popular currently, and it can be a powerful force for healing when done appropriately.  Each patient, after a detailed consultation and a diagnostic, when necessary, will be prescribed a personalised formula which will target her or his own imbalances.

A lot of knowledge and experience goes into writing an herbal formula. Each plant is chosen carefully for their own benefit but also for how well they would work in the prescribed combination with the other herbs.  A wrong herb can potentially cause side effects and a lot of damage if it is used over a long period of time,” Eca explains.

“It is popular now to take herbs as supplements like ashwagandha or turmeric which are often presented as beneficial for all sorts of conditions, but sometimes taking these herbs in high doses without a proper diagnostic can do more damage than good. I have seen in clinic many new patients presenting with side effects from taking these herbs in very high quantities over long periods of time.”

Can Chinese herbal medicine boost your IVF treatment?

Chinese herbal medicine has been used for centuries to enhance fertility by regulating the endocrine system, balancing hormones, nourishing the blood and reducing stress.

Eca believes that each patient should prepare before their IVF procedure for at least one month and ideally three months, using Traditional Chinese Medicine; not only to increase the chances of a successful IVF and to achieve an easy pregnancy, but also for the health benefits for your baby.

“I always follow the lead of your fertility doctor. It is not necessarily for me to have direct contact with them, but I always request that my patients ask permission from their doctor to have the treatments.

“The herbal medication is more often used in preparation to IVF, not necessarily during.  Herbal medicine is safe but always under the supervision of a qualify herbalist.”

As Eca points out, the quantity of herbs in supplements purchased at natural food shops can often exceed what she would normally prescribe to her patients: “The amount of turmeric in one pill that you buy from Holland & Barrett can be too much. When I make up a formula, I might use 8 grams of turmeric for a monthly prescription in combination with other herbs.  If you go to H&B and take three pills in a day, you’ve taken the same amount that I would be prescribing over a month.”

To find out more about Eca and arrange a consultation, please click here. For more information on the individual practitioners and organisations offering support, advice, and information to those undergoing fertility treatment, please visit our Support Hub.