The efficacy of a phytotherapeutic complex (Angelica sinensis, Dioscorea villosa, Matricaria chamomilla, Viburnum opulus and Zingiber officinalis) compared with homoeopathic similimum in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhoea
Shange, Nondumiso Caroline
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INTRODUCTION Dysmenorrhoea is defined as difficult menstrual flow or painful menstruation. Dysmenorrhoea is the most common gynaecological complaint in younger women who present themselves to clinicians. Primary dysmenorrhoea is defined as painful menstrual cramps without any evident pathology present. It refers to any degree of perceived cramping pain experienced during menstruation. Around 50% of menstruating females suffer from primary dysmenorrhoea. Prevalence decreases with age, with prevalence being highest in the 20 to 24 year old age group. This trial intended to evaluate the effectiveness of a phytotherapeutic complex in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhoea compared to homoeopathic similimum in a 30 cH plussed potency. This study aimed to provide the safe and effective alternative therapy for primary dysmenorrhoea, especially for the population that is contradicted to use the readily available forms of treatments. TRIAL DESIGN This double-blind randomised parallel clinical trial, aimed to determine the effectiveness of a phytotherapeutic complex consisting of Angelica sinensis1:10, Dioscorea villosa1:10, Matricaria chamomilla 1:10, Viburnum opulus 1:10, and Zingiber officinalis 1:10 in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea, compared to homoeopathic similimum in a 30cH plussed potency. METHODOLOGY A sample group of 26 participants were voluntarily selected for the study on the basis of an inclusion and exclusion criteria. These participants were then randomly divided into two groups, 17 in the group receiving the phytotherapeutic complex, 8 in the control group receiving the similimum and 1 drop-out. Each participant had to attend a total of four consultations with the researcher over a three month period, at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) Homoeopathic Day Clinic. At each consultation the participant completed the Moos Menstrual Distress Questionnaire (MDQ) (Appendix B) as well as the Pain Rating Scale (PRS) (Appendix C). Intra-group analysis was performed using the non-parametric test for analysis of variance: Friedman’s test. Inter-group analysis was conducted using the Mann- Whitney U test for two independent samples. RESULTS Results from the intra-group analysis showed that in both groups most measured parameters relating to experience during the previous menstrual flow showed statistically significant reductions in intensity. This is to say that both the group receiving phytotherapy and the group receiving similimum experienced reductions in their symptoms as measured by both the MDQ and the PRS. Results from the inter-group analysis showed that there is no significant difference between the phytotherapy and similimum group in all symptoms except the water retention category, with regard to symptom perception during the last menstrual flow of the trial. CONCLUSION The conclusion reached in this study was that both the phytotherapeutic complex treatment and the homoeopathic similimum treatment were effective at reducing the clinical features of primary dysmenorrhea, but there was no significant difference between the phytotherapy and similimum group in all except the water retention category during the last menstrual period as measured by the MDQ Further, there was no statistically significant difference between groups treated with phytotherapy compared to similimum as measured by the PRS.