Acupuncture plus herbal medicine assists in the reduction of uterine fibroids. Anshan Tumor Hospital (Liaoning, China) researchers compared two study groups in a clinical trial. One group received acupuncture and herbal medicine therapy. The other group received drug and herbal medicine therapy but did not receive acupuncture. Both groups demonstrated significant improvements, but the group receiving acupuncture achieved superior patient outcomes.
Both groups received treatment with a modification of the herbal formula Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang. The control group received mifepristone, a synthetic steroid. The group receiving acupuncture achieved a 94.1% total effective rate. The group receiving drug and herbal medicine therapy achieved an 82.% total effective rate. Participants receiving acupuncture experienced significantly greater reductions in fibroid volume and fewer adverse effects (p<0.05). 
A total of 68 women with a clinical diagnosis of uterine fibroids were recruited for the study and were assigned to either the acupuncture group (herbal medicine, acupuncture) or the control group (drug, herbal medicine) . In the acupuncture group, the mean age was 39.3 years and the mean duration of disease was 2.1 months. In the control group, the mean age was 40.4 years and the mean duration of disease was 2.6 months. There were no statistically significant differences in baseline characteristics between the two groups (p>0.05).
For inclusion in the study, participants were required to meet the diagnostic criteria for uterine fibroids and provide informed consent to participate. Exclusion criteria were major organ dysfunction or other concurrent medical conditions, psychological or cognitive impairment, or the inability to cooperate with medical professionals.
Participants allocated to both groups were prescribed modified Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang, an herbal formula traditionally used to dispel blood stasis and relieve pain. The formula was comprised of the following herbs:
- Gan Jiang 10g
- Yan Hu Suo 10g
- Mo Yao 10g
- Chuan Xiong 10g
- Rou Gui 10g
- Chi Shao 10g
- Pu Huang 10g
- Wu Ling Zhi 10g
- Xiao Hui Xiang 9g
- Dang Gui 12g
The following herbs were added according to each patient’s individual diagnosis:
- Huang Qi
- Dang Shen
- Yi Mu Cao
- Qing Pi
The herbs were administered daily, split into two doses to be taken morning and evening for a total of three months. Participants assigned to the acupuncture group were treated with acupuncture administered at the following acupoints:
- Guanyuan (CV4)
- Zigong (MCA18)
- Qihai (CV6)
- Zhongji (CV3)
- Xuehai (SP10)
- Zusanli (ST36)
- Sanyinjiao (SP6)
- Hegu (LI4)
- Neiguan (PC6)
Prior to treatment, patients were asked to empty their bladders and assume a comfortable position. Following standard disinfection, needles were inserted rapidly and were manipulated to elicit a distending sensation in the surrounding area. Needles were retained for a total of 30 minutes and treatment was administered daily with the exception of being suspended during menstruation. Treatment was administered for a total of three months.
Participants assigned to the control group were prescribed mifepristone (25 mg) to be taken daily. No food was allowed within the two hours after taking the drug. Treatment was administered for a total of three months.
Outcomes and Discussion
Outcome measures for the study included fibroid volume before and after treatment, total clinical symptomatic effective rate, and adverse effects. Before treatment, mean fibroid volumes were similar. Following treatment, mean fibroid volumes had greater reductions in the group receiving acupuncture. Although both groups experienced significant decreases in fibroid volumes, reductions were significantly greater in the acupuncture group (p<0.05).
To calculate the total clinical effective rates, each case was classified as either recovered, markedly effective, effective, or ineffective. Those classified as recovered experienced resolution of fibroids and a complete improvement in clinical signs and symptoms. Those classified as markedly effective experienced a reduction in fibroid volume of at least half and a clear improvement in clinical signs and symptoms. Those classified as effective experienced some or no reduction in fibroid volume and some improvement in clinical signs and symptoms. Those classified as ineffective experienced no improvements following treatment.
The recovered, markedly effective, and effective cases were added together to give the total effective rates for each group. In the acupuncture group, there were 19 recovered, 9 markedly effective, 4 effective, and 2 ineffective cases, giving a total effective rate of 94.1%. In the control group, there were 11 recovered, 7 markedly effective, 9 effective, and 6 ineffective cases, giving a total effective rate of 82.0%. Significantly greater improvements were achieved in the acupuncture group (p<0.05).
Adverse effects were monitored for the two groups throughout the study. Reported adverse effects included nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and headaches. In the acupuncture group, there were 2 reports of adverse effects compared with 7 in the control group. These figures indicate significantly fewer adverse effects in the acupuncture group (p<0.05). The results of this study indicate that acupuncture combined with Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang provides a viable treatment option for patients with uterine fibroids.
Li Si Ning (2019) “Clinical analysis of acupuncture combined with Shao Fu Zhu Yu Decoction in the treatment of uterine fibroids” Guide of China Medicine Vol.17 (7) pp.161-162.