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Carthamus 11 is based on the combination of two approaches to treating dysmenorrhea and other cases of stagnation in the lower abdomen. It includes key ingredients of the popular patent remedy Tong Jing Wan (free the menses pills), a blood vitalizing formula, with zedoaria, salvia, cnidium, carthamus, corydalis, and tang-kuei. The method of vitalizing blood is a standard means of addressing pain, as well as for treating amenorrhea or menstrual irregularity due to stagnation, with carthamus being a favored herb. The other approach is utilizing the traditional Chaihu Shugan San (Bupleurum Liver-Soothing Formula), with qi regulating ingredients: bupleurum, cyperus, and chih-ko. These herbs help relax the liver stagnation that can contribute to mental and physical tension, abdominal aching, and irregular menstrual periods. Carthamus 11 might be compared and contrasted with other Seven Forests formulas: Lower Palace Tablets is suitable for treating similar conditions but in the context of evident abdominal cold; Lindera 15, like Carthamus 11, treats qi and blood stagnation, but its design is better for patients with weak constitution and for long-term therapy (it might be used throughout the cycle, with Carthamus 11 added for a few days); Corydalis 5 is especially effective for cramping, but is not as effective for cases of persistent qi stagnation (it can be added to Carthamus 11 to relieve menstrual cramps). For endometriosis, Carthamus 11 is a potentially valuable complement to Turtle Shell Tablets, a formula aimed specifically at shrinking endometrial cysts, but which may not adequately control pain during the first weeks of treatment. Pine Mountain Dang Gui Pian can be used with Carthamus 11 to boost the dosage of tang-kuei, cyperus, and cnidium.