Erectile Dysfunctionaccording to TCM

Symptom family: Sexual Health Disorders

Did you mean? Low Sex Drive

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a prevalent condition where a man struggles to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual activity. It affects men's health and quality of life significantly, leading to potential stress, relationship strain, and diminished self-confidence.

The complexity of erectile function, which involves the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles, and blood vessels, means that ED can be a sign of other health issues. The condition can vary in severity; some men cannot achieve an erection at all, while others might achieve one briefly but not long enough for intercourse.

How does TCM view erectile dysfunction?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a unique perspective on erectile dysfunction, viewing it not merely as a physical ailment but as a symptom of imbalance within the body's energy system. TCM suggests that ED results from disruptions in the flow of Qi (vital energy) and blood, or imbalances in Yin and Yang.

Recognizing the interconnectedness of the body and mind, TCM emphasizes diagnosing and treating the underlying patterns of disharmony. It's essential to identify the specific cause of imbalance through a holistic evaluation before prescribing treatment.

Root Causes of Erectile Dysfunction in TCM

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), erectile dysfunction is seen through a lens of energetic imbalances within the body, specifically focusing on deficiencies in Kidney Yang and Kidney Essence. Kidney Yang Deficiency is characterized by a lack of vital warmth and energy, manifesting as sexual dysfunction, a feeling of cold in the lower back and knees, and overall fatigue.

On the other hand, Kidney Essence Deficiency pertains to the depletion of the body's vital reserve, leading to symptoms like diminished sexual ability, hair loss, and weakened bones. These patterns underscore the belief in TCM that erectile dysfunction is not just a localized issue but a symptom of broader systemic imbalance.

Explore below more details about what might cause Erectile dysfunction according to TCM.

  • By Syndrome
  • By Organ
  • Yang Deficiency
  • Essence Deficiency
  • Kidney
  • Spleen
Detailed description of the cause

Yang Deficiency

Yang deficiency in TCM refers to a state where the body's Yang energy, which is responsible for warmth, activity, and function, is weakened or diminished. This pattern of disharmony often arises from chronic illness, aging, or inherent constitutional weakness. Symptoms of Yang deficiency are typically associated with cold and sluggishness, such as a feeling of coldness, cold extremities, pale complexion, low energy or fatigue, and a desire for warmth. Digestive issues like poor appetite, loose stools, and water retention can also be indicative of Yang deficiency.... see more

Yang Deficiency Patterns That Can Lead to Erectile Dysfunction

Common Symptoms: Chills Generalized Fatigue General Weakness Diarrhea Premature Ejaculation Low Sex Drive Nocturia Lower Back Pain

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Kidney Yang Deficiency Impotence, Lower back pain, Dizziness, Tinnitus, Weak and cold knees, Lower back coldness, Chills, Weak legs, Bright pale face, Generalized fatigue, General weakness, Leg edema, Female infertility, Diarrhea, Depression, Erectile dysfunction, Premature ejaculation, Oligospermia, Low sex drive, Pale and abudant urination... see more Ba Wei Di Huang Wan | You Gui Wan | Er Xian Tang | Shen Qi Wan | Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan | Tu Si Zi Wan
Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency Impotence, Lower back pain, Weak and cold knees, Back cold sensation, Chills, Weak legs, Bright pale face, Erectile dysfunction, Premature ejaculation, Oligospermia, Watery ejaculate, Low sex drive, Generalized fatigue, General weakness, Clear urination, Nocturia, Apathy, Leg edema, Female infertility, Diarrhea, Depression, Lack of appetite, Slight abdominal distention, Desire to lie down... see more Li Zhong Wan
Yang Deficiency or Empty Yang Impotence, Chills, General cold feeling, Pale urine, Undigested food in stools, General weakness, Abdominal pain relieved by pressure and warmth, Frequent urination, Polyuria, Nocturia, White vaginal discharge... see more Ba Wei Di Huang Wan | You Gui Wan
Detailed description of the cause

Essence Deficiency

In TCM "Essence" (Jing) deficiency refers to a depletion of the body's fundamental substance, which is vital for growth, development, reproduction, and overall vitality. Jing, often translated as "Essence," is a unique concept in TCM, seen as the basis of all life activities and inherited from our parents. Essence deficiency manifests in various symptoms, such as chronic fatigue, weakness, slow physical or mental development, fertility issues, premature aging, weak bones, and a lackluster complexion. It can also affect the hair, leading to premature greying or hair loss. This pattern of disharmony often arises from congenital factors, chronic illness, overwork, or excessive behaviors that drain the body's resources. ... see more

Essence Deficiency Patterns That Can Lead to Erectile Dysfunction

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Kidney Essence Deficiency Poor sexual ability, Deafness, Decreased mental sharpness, Intellectual disability, Osteomalacia, Hair loss, Lower back pain, Infertility, Primary amenorrhea, Dizziness, Blurry vision, Absentmindness... see more Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan | Tu Si Zi Wan | Qi Bao Mei Ran Dan | Zuo Gui Wan
Detailed description of the cause

Kidney

In TCM the Kidneys are regarded as the body's most fundamental reservoir of Essence, known as Jing, which influences growth, reproduction, and aging. They are not just organs for filtering blood, but a holistic system governing vital life forces. When the Kidneys malfunction in TCM, it can manifest as a variety of health issues, such as chronic fatigue, reproductive problems, imbalances in fluid metabolism leading to edema or dryness, lower back pain, and a sense of fear or insecurity.... see more

Kidney Patterns That Can Lead to Erectile Dysfunction

Common Symptoms: Lower Back Pain Dizziness Tinnitus Weak And Cold Knees Chills Weak Legs Bright Pale Face Generalized Fatigue

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Kidney Yang Deficiency Impotence, Lower back pain, Dizziness, Tinnitus, Weak and cold knees, Lower back coldness, Chills, Weak legs, Bright pale face, Generalized fatigue, General weakness, Leg edema, Female infertility, Diarrhea, Depression, Erectile dysfunction, Premature ejaculation, Oligospermia, Low sex drive, Pale and abudant urination... see more Ba Wei Di Huang Wan | You Gui Wan | Er Xian Tang | Shen Qi Wan | Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan | Tu Si Zi Wan
Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency Impotence, Lower back pain, Weak and cold knees, Back cold sensation, Chills, Weak legs, Bright pale face, Erectile dysfunction, Premature ejaculation, Oligospermia, Watery ejaculate, Low sex drive, Generalized fatigue, General weakness, Clear urination, Nocturia, Apathy, Leg edema, Female infertility, Diarrhea, Depression, Lack of appetite, Slight abdominal distention, Desire to lie down... see more Li Zhong Wan
Kidney Essence Deficiency Poor sexual ability, Deafness, Decreased mental sharpness, Intellectual disability, Osteomalacia, Hair loss, Lower back pain, Infertility, Primary amenorrhea, Dizziness, Blurry vision, Absentmindness... see more Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan | Tu Si Zi Wan | Qi Bao Mei Ran Dan | Zuo Gui Wan
Detailed description of the cause

Spleen

In TCM the Spleen plays a vital role in digestion and transformation, converting food into energy and nutrients, and overseeing the distribution of Qi and Blood. It's also crucial in maintaining the health of muscles and limbs and ensuring the blood remains within the vessels. When the Spleen malfunctions in TCM, it can lead to a variety of issues such as digestive disorders, fatigue, weak muscles, bloating, and a feeling of heaviness. It can also cause a pale complexion, poor appetite, and a tendency to bruise easily. Emotionally, a Spleen imbalance is often associated with excessive worry or overthinking, reflecting its role in the interplay between physical and mental health.... see more

Spleen Patterns That Can Lead to Erectile Dysfunction

Pattern Name Relevant Symptoms Relevant Formulas
Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency Impotence, Lower back pain, Weak and cold knees, Back cold sensation, Chills, Weak legs, Bright pale face, Erectile dysfunction, Premature ejaculation, Oligospermia, Watery ejaculate, Low sex drive, Generalized fatigue, General weakness, Clear urination, Nocturia, Apathy, Leg edema, Female infertility, Diarrhea, Depression, Lack of appetite, Slight abdominal distention, Desire to lie down... see more Li Zhong Wan

TCM Herbal Formulas for Erectile Dysfunction

Addressing erectile dysfunction in TCM involves tailored herbal formulas to correct specific imbalances. For Kidney Yang Deficiency, the approach is to warm and fortify the body's Yang energy using formulas like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan, which contains Prepared rehmannia among its key ingredients to enrich the blood and support vital energy.

When dealing with Kidney Essence Deficiency, a formula like Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan is employed. This particular blend includes Cuscuta seeds to nourish the Kidney Essence, improving sexual function and overall vitality. These recommendations highlight TCM's customized treatment philosophy, focusing on restoring harmony and balance within the body's energetic system.

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address erectile dysfunction, organized by cause and by formula type.

  • By Cause
  • By Formula Type
  • Yang Deficiency
  • Essence Deficiency
  • Formulas that warm yang and tonify
  • Formulas that nourish yin and tonify
  • Formulas that warm the middle and dispel cold
  • Formulas that tonify yin and yang
  • Formulas that vent membrane source
  • Formulas that harmonize lesser yang-warp disorders
  • Formulas that warm and transform water and dampness
  • Formulas that nourish the heart and calm the mind
  • Formulas that clear exterior disorders with interior deficiency
  • Formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation
  • Formulas that warm and purge
  • Formulas that warm interior cold
  • Formulas that tonify blood
  • Formulas that harmonize liver-Spleen
  • Formulas that secure irregular uterine bleeding and stop vaginal discharge
  • Formulas that secure essence and stop enuresis

All Formulas Recommended for Erectile Dysfunction Caused by Yang Deficiency

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Ba Wei Di Huang Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency, Yang Deficiency or Empty Yang
You Gui Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency, Yang Deficiency or Empty Yang
Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency
Tu Si Zi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency
Er Xian Tang Kidney Yang Deficiency
Shen Qi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency
Li Zhong Wan Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency

All Formulas Recommended for Erectile Dysfunction Caused by Essence Deficiency

Formula Patterns Suitable For
Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan Kidney Essence Deficiency
Tu Si Zi Wan Kidney Essence Deficiency
Qi Bao Mei Ran Dan Kidney Essence Deficiency
Zuo Gui Wan Kidney Essence Deficiency

All "formulas that warm yang and tonify" recommended for erectile dysfunction

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
You Gui Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency, Yang Deficiency or Empty Yang
Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency, Kidney Essence Deficiency
Tu Si Zi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency, Kidney Essence Deficiency
Shen Qi Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency
Zan Yu Dan Not applicable

All "formulas that nourish yin and tonify" recommended for erectile dysfunction

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Ba Wei Di Huang Wan Kidney Yang Deficiency, Yang Deficiency or Empty Yang
Zuo Gui Wan Kidney Essence Deficiency

All "formulas that tonify yin and yang" recommended for erectile dysfunction

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Er Xian Tang Kidney Yang Deficiency
Qi Bao Mei Ran Dan Kidney Essence Deficiency

All "formulas that warm the middle and dispel cold" recommended for erectile dysfunction

Formula Patterns Suitable For (if applicable)
Li Zhong Wan Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency
Huang Qi Jian Zhong Tang Not applicable

Acupoints for Erectile Dysfunction

In the treatment of erectile dysfunction, TCM emphasizes the strategic use of acupuncture points to stimulate the body's healing response. Targeting the Kidney channel, points such as Taixi KID-3 are utilized for their ability to strengthen both Kidney Yin and Yang, crucial for sexual health.

Additionally, for Kidney Yang Deficiency, stimulating points like Shenshu BL-23 on the Bladder Channel can enhance the warming and fortifying effects on the Kidney Yang, thereby addressing the root causes of erectile dysfunction. This method reflects TCM's integrative approach, aiming to restore the delicate balance of Qi and bodily energies for holistic well-being.

Explore below some acupoints used to address erectile dysfunction, organized by meridian.

  • By Meridian
  • Bladder Channel
  • Kidney Channel
  • Directing Vessel
  • Stomach Channel
  • Governing Vessel
  • Liver Channel
  • Spleen Channel
  • Heart Channel
Shenshu BL-23

Shenshu BL-23

1.5 cun lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of the 2nd lumber vertebra (L2).

Shangliao BL-31

Shangliao BL-31

In the 1st posterior sacral foramen, about midway between the posterior superior iliac spine (PSIS) and the midline.

Huiyang BL-35

Huiyang BL-35

On either side of the coccyx tip, 0.5 cun lateral to the posterior midline.

Gaohuangshu BL-43

Gaohuangshu BL-43

3 cun (about 4 finger-breadths) lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of the 4th thoracic vertebra (T4).

Zhishi BL-52

Zhishi BL-52

3 cun lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of the 2nd lumber vertebra (L2).

Yongquan KID-1

Yongquan KID-1

In the depression between the 2nd and 3rd metatarsal bones on the sole when the foot is in plantar flexion, approximately at the junction of the anterior and middle third of the sole.

Taixi KID-3

Taixi KID-3

In the depression between the medial malleolus tip and Achilles tendon (Calcaneal tendon), level with the tip of the medial malleolus.

Dahe KID-12

Dahe KID-12

4 cun below the umbilicus, 0.5 cun lateral to the anterior midline.

Qixue KID-13

Qixue KID-13

3 cun below the umbilicus, 0.5 cun lateral to the anterior midline.

Huiyin REN-1

Huiyin REN-1

In the center of the perineum.

Qugu REN-2

Qugu REN-2

On the midline of abdomen, just on the upper border of the symphysis pubis.

Guanyuan REN-4

Guanyuan REN-4

On the midline of the abdomen, 3 cun below the umbilicus.

Guilai ST-29

Guilai ST-29

4 cun below the umbilicus, 2 cun lateral to the anterior midline.

Qichong ST-30

Qichong ST-30

5 cun below the umbilicus, 2 cun lateral to the anterior midline, superior to the inguinal groove, on the medial side of the femoral artery, nerve and vein.

Yaoyangguan DU-3

Yaoyangguan DU-3

On the lower back midline, in the depression below the spinous process of the 4th lumber vertebra (L4).

Mingmen DU-4

Mingmen DU-4

On the lower back midline, in the depression below the spinous process of the 2nd lumber vertebra (L2).

Ququan LIV-8

Ququan LIV-8

On the medial aspect of the knee join. Flex the knee and locate the point above the medial end of the popliteal crease, posterior to the medial condyle of the tibia, on the anterior border of the insertion of semimembranosus and semitendinosus muscle, about 1 cun anterior to Yingu KID-10.

Sanyinjiao SP-6

Sanyinjiao SP-6

3 cun directly above the tip of the medial malleolus, on the posterior border of the tibia, on the line drawn from the medial malleolus to Yinlingquan SP-9.

Shenmen HE-7

Shenmen HE-7

On the transverse crease of the wrist, in the articular region between the pisiform bone and the ulna, in the depression on the radial side of the tendon of flexor carpi ulnaris muscle.