My Italian Diary: Herbal Medicine and Treating My Endometriosis

I believe whole-heartedly in the power of natural, herbal medicine. It’s something that certainly requires dedication, and patience, but the results are everlasting because it doesn’t just cover up the problem, like most medical solutions (ie: birth control to “treat” endometriosis). It addresses the issues and helps heal from the inside out. I tapped into this reality when I started “Eating with Endo,” using anti-inflammatory foods to treat my disease. In the fall of 2017, after my surgery, I started going to the weekly farmer’s markets around NYC. We started cooking with whatever was available (yes, in NYC everything is available, but we put our focus on the farmer). I couldn’t believe that after only a few months I started to feel much less pain. However, my periods were still irregular, and I couldn’t absorb nutrients so I turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine. A fellow endo warrior recommended that I look into it after I told her all about my reservations with birth control. She warned me it would be pricey, but worth it. I saw an acupuncturist 5 times, and got prescribed tinctures of a specific blend of Chinese herbs catered to my body’s needs. She wasn’t kidding…it is really expensive. Once I got the hang of it, though, I began to understand the power of natural medicine. It’s still something I’m only beginning to tap into, but I’m determined to make it more well-known. For a disease like endometriosis, and many others, it’s important to manage it for the long-term and not to cover it up with a quick solution that may cause further harm.

Once I lost my job, I could not longer afford the herbal tinctures. I had only been taking them for 3 months, which is when most people just start seeing results. It was in the same moment that we were preparing our move to Italy, and I unfortunately put my health on hold thinking my disease would just heal itself. After our move, my period didn’t come for over 4 months. I was feverishly searching for herbal solutions, and was exhausted by the lack of results. I reached out to my acupuncturist to hopefully send me some tinctures to Italy, but as expected, it wouldn’t be possible. I then realised, every single town in Italy has an Erboristeria — an herbalist. I immediately became invested in learning as much as possible about the balance of herbs I would need to make my own tinctures. I read Herbal Healing for Women by Rosemary Gladstar front to back about 3 times. I took a dive head-first into the deep pits of the internet to gather as much information as possible, but luckily, Rosemary has an herbal tincture recipe for Endometriosis, and for hormonal regulation in her book. I translated everything into Italian and set out for my town’s erboristeria. She had about half of the herbs I need, as they are very specific and referred me to her colleague in a neighbouring town. I was able to gather a few more herbs from her colleague, but was still left without some crucial herbs. I didn’t want to purchase online because it’s really important that you know where the herbs are coming from, and that they’re real and not cut with anything to bulk up the bag. After work one day, I decided to take a different street on my walk to the car to explore another part of my new city. I stumbled upon an herbalist who has everything I was looking for — and then some. Thrilled, I bought some alcohol and two large glass jars. I filled one jar with the herbs for my endometriosis tincture, and the other for my hormone regular tincture. I covered both of them in alcohol to soak for at least two months. It’s my goal to one day have my own “Endo Garden” to grow all of these herbs myself. They are much more effective fresh than dry! One day.

I will update this when I extract the tinctures in two months!

The herbs I used are:

Endometriosis Tincture:

  • dandelion root (dente di leone)

  • wild yam (igname selvatico)

  • burdock (bardana)

  • pau d’arco

  • oregon grape root

  • vitex (agno casto)

  • dong quai (angelica)

  • yarrow root (millefoglie)

  • mugwort (artemesia)

Hormone Regulator:

  • wild yam (igname selvatico)

  • ginger (zenzero)

  • dandelion root (dente di leone)

  • burdock root (bardana)

  • liquorice (liquirizia)

  • sassafras (sassofrasso)

  • yellow dock (romice crespa)

  • vitex (agno casto)