The Berkley Center

Endometriosis is a medical condition where the tissue that usually lines the inside of the uterus grows outside it, causing severe pain and discomfort. The pain can be especially challenging to manage, often requiring strong medications.

Alternative options for reducing endometriosis pain

Acupuncture and herbal medicine are two alternative options that can be effective in reducing endometriosis pain without the side effects often associated with conventional treatments.

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves inserting needles into specific points in the body to stimulate energy flow or “qi.” 

Several studies have found that acupuncture can significantly reduce endometriosis-related pain. For example, a 2017 systematic review of 9 randomized controlled trials found that acupuncture was more effective than no treatment and was equally as effective as hormone therapy at reducing dysmenorrhea (painful periods) in women with endometriosis.

Another study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Research found that electro-acupuncture, which involves passing electrical current through needles placed in acupuncture points, was more effective than non-electroacupuncture in reducing endometriosis pain. 

Herbal medicine is another traditional Chinese medicine that uses natural plant-based remedies to alleviate symptoms. Several herbs and herbal combinations have been shown to relieve endometriosis pain. For example, a combination of dong quai, cinnamon, and ginger has been used in Chinese medicine to alleviate menstrual cramps and treat irregular menstruation, both common symptoms of endometriosis.

Additionally, turmeric has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce painful inflammation caused by endometriosis. While acupuncture and herbal medicine are generally safe, it’s important to work with a licensed practitioner who can customize a treatment plan based on your individual needs.


  1. Flowers G, Dietzel J, Nelson J. Acupuncture and endometriosis-related pain: A systematic review. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Research. 2017 Oct;43(10):1511-1518.
  2. Zhang Y, Dai X, Chang Y, Yang Z, Liu B, Liu J. Electro-acupuncture treatment for endometriosis-associated pain: a randomized controlled trial. Zhongguó zhōng xi yi jie he za zhi Zhongguo Zhongxiyi Jiehe Zazhi = Chinese journal of integrated traditional and Western medicine / Zhongguo Zhong xi yi jie he xue hui, Zhongguo Zhong yi yan jiu yuan zhu ban. 2016 May;36(5):565-70.
  3. Cheng J, Wu C, Qin L, Pan D. Herbal medicine for the treatment of endometriosis: a review of clinical evidence. Phytotherapy research: PTR. 2020 Mar;34(3):492-502.
  4. Bahrami A, Ramezani Tehrani F, Hashemi S, Noroozzadeh M, Azizi F. The effect of curcumin on serum inflammatory markers in women with endometriosis: a randomized clinical trial. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal. 2015 Jan;17(1).


  • Mike Berkley

    Mike Berkley, LAc, FABORM, is a licensed and board-certified acupuncturist and a board-certified herbalist. He is a fertility specialist at The Berkley Center for Reproductive Wellness in the Midtown East neighborhood of Manhattan, New York.

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