By Fiona Heckles and Karen Lawton of the Seed SistAs
We are the Seed Sistas, dedicated to bringing herbal knowledge back where it belongs, into your hands. Caring for and nurturing our bodies should be something that we are taught about and encouraged to do throughout life.
Fibroids are an extremely common issue. There are reports of up to 25 percent of women in their reproductive years having fibroids, but in reality, there are far more whose symptoms are undetectable or haven’t been reported.
Fibroids can cause issues such as painful, heavy periods or fertility issues. They are seen as being fed by an excess of strong oestrogen. We see them as relating to a much more complex array of emotional and lifestyle influences that can be shifted to support the presentation of this often debilitating symptomology.
What are fibroids?
First lets understand what fibroids actually are. A Fibroid is a fibrous mass of tissue that can be any thing from very tiny like a pea to the size of a grapefruit or larger still. There can be one or several and they can be found on the inside wall of the uterus, within the muscle wall of the uterus, on the outer wall of the uterus or hanging from the outside of the uterus on a stem.
The symptoms can range from barely any at all to frequency of urination as the mass presses on the bladder, to intense or excruciating pain in the pelvic region or on sexual intercourse. Periods will usually be heavier and there may be bleeding or spotting between periods.
Fibroids are linked with an excess of oestrogen in the body. This can be a natural build up of oestrogen in the body, possibly through compromised liver function; the liver is where the sex hormones oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone are filtered or processed through.
Excess oestrogen can also be as a direct cause of external influences. There are high levels of phthalates found in food and water due to coming into contact with plastic, specially when the water has been heated or in direct sunlight. These compounds used in plastic production to increase flexibility and durability (amongst other properties) of the plastic. They can leach into food and water and cause havoc with the human hormonal system acting like oestrogen molecules. Many women and even young teenage find themselves on the high oestrogen contraceptive pill, either to control menstrual flow or as a contraceptive method. The long term affects of this can be great. For further reading look at The Pill by Alexandra Pope and Jane Bennett.
The oestrogen administered through the pill is in part excreted through the urine, straight into the water system and is not filtered out at water treatment plants. High levels of oestrogen can then be found in our tap water, which a large population drink, unfiltered, daily. Even opting for bottled water, unless in glass, can render high levels of oestrogen.
The Medical Approach
The medical approach is to leave fibroids as long as the symptoms are manageable, take hormonal interference pills or to operate removing them entirely or destroying their blood supply.
Natural and Herbal Alternatives
In Sensory Herbalism, the body is a map to help navigate your way to the root causes of disease. In our clinical practice, we often see that oestrogen excess has links with the mother daughter relationship. Now this is not always the case but the majority of times, exploring themes around this bares fruit within the healing process.
I have had personal experience of this. I had heavy periods and pain on sexual intercourse for many years. I never really thought to look into it in detail as I was very focussed on supporting digestive health and my nervous system at the time.
As I grew with the pregnancy of my first child, it felt like their foot was always protruding in the same area of my womb. It didn’t feel right, I thought it was a mass but it kept getting brushed off as part of the baby pushing out.
After the birth of my child its supposed ‘foot; was still there, clearly a fibroid. It was diagnosed with and ultrasound and I set too researching and discovering more about what influences fibroids, what in my health could be indicated as a root cause and what emotional links people had found with fibroids before.
It was timely as my first child was a girl and it got me to thinking about my relationship with my mother and more specifically, both our relationships with her (now deceased) mother, my grandmother. The relationship had been brought to say the least. My grandma had been a stern, challenging woman.
In Sensory Herbalism, we use Lady’s Mantle of the rose family to help in the exploration of the relationships down the female line. The rose family is naturally high in tannin compounds and its therefore a specific tonic for the tissues of the womb. It fit the picture physiologically and energetically.
I used the herb as a tea, in combination with raspberry leaf, calendula, yarrow, rose pet and lime flowers to drink daily with an affirmation that I would grow to understand my grandmother a little more.
It is amazing the traits that we naturally believe we carry because of the link to those that have gone before us. The reality is, that although we are, in part shaped by our ancestors, we don’t have to hold the blue print or characteristics of anything that won’t serve us this time around.
Healing, tonifying tea for the womb and reproductive system
2 desert spoons of Raspberry leaf - womb and urinary tonic
2 desert spoons of Lady’s Mantle - womb and urinary tonic
1 teaspoon of Yarrow - circulatory to the pelvic area, encouraging healing blood and the other herbs to reach the womb.
1 teaspoon of Rose petals - soothing nervine
3 desert spoons Calendula - has its own phyto or plant oestrogen but these are much less powerful in their action and can block oestrogen receptors form some of the stronger oestrogen. It also has liver and lymphatic action for clearing and cleansing.
Note: this tea os not for during pregnancy and you should always consult with your health care provider before trying any herbal teas, especially if you’re on medication or have a health problem.
• Mix the herbs together
• Use one teaspoon of the blend per cup and infuse in boiling water for 5-10 mins
• Strain and drink for a nourishing tea. 1-3 cups daily for 2 weeks
I did a lit of work and began to understand the challenges my grandmother had faced, that had maybe influenced who she had become but most of all, I got to understand the journey of my mother. I had often felt frustrated with my relationship with my mother and her lack of awareness about some of the emotional patterns that we had within our relationship. As I delved into the depths of those intricacies, I realised that my mothers journey had been to get an education, support herself and her children financially and ensure a good education for her children. Against the steroetypical odds of her generation and the disapproval of her own mother, she rose through the ranks of teaching and need up at the peak of her career, a head teacher and inspiration to countless numbers of children and other head teachers in the schools she helped to develop and set up.
Deep processing around the story of my mother using Lady’s Mantle, some dietary support and the herbal blend, led to the complete disappearance of the fibroid within 2 years of starting the focussed journey.
Karen Lawton & Fiona Heckels are the Seed SistAs. Their mission: to connect people with their local plants promoting empowerment, autonomy, freedom and diversity in health care. Medically trained herbalists with a love and interest in the so called witching herbs of old, they have worked and played together for many moons exploring all that the plants have to share.
The Sensory Herbal Handbook: Connect with the Medicinal Power of your Local Plants
CONNECT WITH plants to create BALANCE, GOOD HEALTH AND WELLBEING in Your life
This book has been written for anyone who has heard the whispers of the wild and has been
stirred to know more, for those with a political conscience and for lovers of the outdoors.
Whether you are new to the ways of herbs or already a practising herbalist, it explains how you can
take your physical and mental health into your own hands using the plants that grow around you.
Go to www.sensorysolutions.co.uk to find out more