Research: HSU and co-authors,

Listed in Issue 136


HSU and co-authors, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Taipei Medical University-Wan Fang Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, have studied the effects of a Chinese herbal preparation on uterine contractions in an animal model of painful periods.


Dysmenorrhoea (painful periods) as a consequence of contractions of the uterine musculature is directly related to elevated levels of the tissue hormone, prostaglandin F(2)alpha, and can be treated with nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs. Though efficacy of the latter is rapid, the effect is temporary, and they cause many side effects to the liver, kidney and digestive system. Because of this, Chinese medicines are being considered as a feasible alternative medicine. The aim of this study, was to investigate Dang-Qui-Shao-Yao-San (DQSYS), a Chinese medicinal prescription.


A 50% alcohol solution was used to extract the active ingredients and create a freeze-dried product. Using rat uterine smooth muscle in vitro, DQSYS was used to suppress spontaneous contractions and prostaglandin F(2)alpha induced contractions. Then acetylcholine, ergonovine, propranolol, oxytocin and potassium chloride were used to analyze the physiological mechanisms.


The results show that DQSYS has the antagonistic action on both prostaglandin F(2)alpha and acetylcholine-induced uterine contraction. Furthermore, it has an antagonistic effect on contraction caused by potassium-chloride-induced depolarization.


These results suggest a possible mechanism for the beneficial effect of this Chinese medicine in treating painful periods.


Hsu CS, Yang JK, Yang LL. Effect of “Dang-Qui-Shao-Yao-San” a Chinese medicinal prescription for dysmenorrhea on uterus contractility in vitro. Phytomedicine 13 (1-2): 94-100, Jan 2006.

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