Jane Lyttleton's PCOS Herbal formulas

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Joined: 05/30/2014
Jane Lyttleton's PCOS Herbal formulas

In the PCOS webinar, you state that the herbal formulas are all safe to take with metformin, but I've noticed in my reference materials that a couple of the herbs in the formula for non-weight-gain PCOS patients (bai shao and li zhe he) can create an herb-drug interaction with anti-diabetic pharmaceuticals, potentially causing hypoglycemia. Should I be concerned about this? I have a thin PCOS patient who is on metformin despite having a normal blood-sugar level without it. She is hesitant to start the herbs because of this possible synergistic interaction with the metformin. What precautions do I need to take with metformin patients who use these herbs?

Thank you for your advice.
Ann M

ProD Moderator
Joined: 01/13/2014

Hi Lorne

can you pass on a message to Ann M for me?

Thank you Ann for your question, this is an important issue.
I have relied mostly on pharmacist Dr John Chen for current information on interactions (either synergistic or antagonistic) between herbs and drugs. He did not mention any of these herbs interacting with Metformin or Glucophage in his recent tour here, - although he does report on interactions between herbs and other drugs used by diabetics.

I have seen mention on the net of interactions with many herbs and diabetic meds, but with no substantiation.
The internet also tells us that common kitchen substances like Garlic and Basil can lower blood sugar and should not be taken with oral hypoglycemics. It is a question of dose …...
I would be really interested to know of any studies you have come across ……it is always good to stay as well informed as possible.

Re your patient, I think that taking a drug like Metformin when there is normal blood sugar is of more concern than any herb interactions.
In fact with the regulatory nature of Chinese herbal formulas, especially large or complex ones, you might find that her blood sugar level is somewhat protected.
Perhaps it would be best to start with a smaller formula (based on Liu wei di Huang wan if she is thin and yin deficient) and see how she feels. Then expand the therapy to the PCOS formula if all goes well.

Let me know how you go …..
Kind regards

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