So many women these days face challenges with numerous breast problems, the most serious of which is breast cancer. It is estimated that as many as one in seven American women will have breast cancer in their lifetime. In addition to certain nutritional and lifestyle modifications, there are numerous Chinese herbs which can improve the health of the breast and which may help to prevent the development of breast cancer.
First of all, let’s talk about some basic lifestyle suggestions for maintaining breast health. Deodorants and anti-perspirants that are used in the area of the armpit need to be free of aluminum based ingredients. There are a large number of lymph nodes in the area of the armpit that branch out towards the breast. Many potential toxins, including aluminum, may be absorbed into this region through the skin. It is also important to wear bras that are not too tight, because this can inhibit the flow of lymph as well as blood circulation in this area. Underwire bras may be particularly bad for this reason. Sports bras and other bras that are made of more flexible material can be much better for allowing proper circulation in the area of the breasts.
In Chinese medicine, the functioning of the Liver has a great deal of influence over the health of the breasts. The Liver is adversely influenced by stress and abuse, and by nutritional and environmental toxins. Therefore, in order to maintain proper breast health, it is important to reduce or to manage stress in a healthy way. It is also important to avoid emotionally toxic and abusive situations. It is also important to reduce contact with toxic substances in our personal environment. Drinking purified water or spring water, eating pesticide free fruits and vegetables, eating hormone free meat, and avoiding harsh chemicals, dyes and perfumes can all help by preventing carcinogenic substances from entering the body in the first place. Having a lot of indoor plants can also help to significantly reduce indoor air pollution. The breasts are predominantly composed of fatty tissue which can easily store all sorts of toxins which can eventually become carcinogenic over time.
One herb which can be useful for maintaining breast health is dandelion, or pugongying. Dandelion is an excellent herb for detoxifying the breasts. It is also useful for breast abscesses. Fresh dandelion greens can be mashed and applied topically as a poultice up to three times daily for breast abscesses. This herb is also good taken internally for detoxifying the liver.
For fibrocystic breasts, the herb, vitex agnus castus, or manjingzi, can be very helpful over time. Taken regularly over four to six months it may eliminate fibrocystic breast problems. The Chinese herbal formula, Free and Easy Wanderer, or Xiao Yao Wan, can also be used for fibrocystic breast conditions.
Some Chinese herbs which have been shown to have anti-cancer effects in the area of the breasts are Chinese rhubarb, or dahuang, and oldenlandia, or baihuasheshecao. Chinese rhubarb is a strong laxative, and should only be used under the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Oldenlandia has been shown in recent Chinese research to have anti-tumor effects on many different types of cancers, including breast cancer.
Chinese herbs can be used to promote lactation for breastfeeding or to stop lactation after a child is weaned.
Acupuncture can also be used in the treatment of fibrocystic breasts and chronic mastitis.
In order to prevent serious issues from arising, it is important for every woman to get examined regularly and to give themselves regular self-examinations. It is important to always get a proper diagnosis for any breast problems from your physician. Nevertheless, Chinese herbs and acupuncture can both be useful for maintaining breast health.