Erectile dysfunction according to Chinese Medicine

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In Chinese Medicine, erectile dysfunction can be associated with three so-called "patterns of disharmony". Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted. It is not equivalent to the Western concept of "disease", as a matter of fact here erectile dysfunction can be caused by three different patterns.

To understand whether someone's erectile dysfunction might be caused by a given pattern, one needs to look for signs and symptoms associated with the pattern beyond what one might typically experience from erectile dysfunction alone. For instance when erectile dysfunction is caused by the pattern Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp, patients also experience symptoms such as generalized body pain, aching bones and joints, cold extremities and no thirst. Similarly, patients with Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp typically exhibit choppy (Se), deep (Chen), minute (Wei) or slow (Chi) pulses as well as a tongue with thin white coating.

We've listed below a description of the three patterns associated with erectile dysfunction so that you can start to get an understanding of the various possibilities according to Chinese Medicine.

Once identified, patterns are often treated using herbal formulas. Drinking herbal infusions is the most common remedy in Chinese Medicine, together with acupuncture. Here we detail below two formulas that can help treat the various patterns associated with erectile dysfunction, depending on which pattern fits your profile.

The three "patterns of disharmony" associated with erectile dysfunction

Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Deep (Chen), Minute (Wei), Slow (Chi)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Recommended herbal formula: Fu Zi Tang

Symptoms: No thirst Cold extremities Generalized body pain Aching bones and joints Aversion to cold (especially at the back)

Erectile dysfunction might be due to Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as generalized body pain, aching bones and joints, cold extremities and no thirst. Similarly, patients with Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp typically exhibit choppy (Se), deep (Chen), minute (Wei) or slow (Chi) pulses as well as a tongue with thin white coating.

Read more about Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp here

Full Cold in the Directing and Penetraing Vessels

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Slow (Chi), Tight (Jin)

Tongue color: Bluish-Purple, Pale

Recommended herbal formula: Wen Jing Tang

Symptoms: Infertility Late period Painful period Cold in the lower abdomen Dark clots in menstrual blood Abdominal pain after childbirth

Erectile dysfunction might be due to Full Cold in the Directing and Penetraing Vessels if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as painful period, cold in the lower abdomen, infertility and late period. Similarly, patients with Full Cold in the Directing and Penetraing Vessels typically exhibit deep (Chen), slow (Chi) or tight (Jin) pulses as well as a bluish-purple, pale tongue.

Read more about Full Cold in the Directing and Penetraing Vessels here

Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus

Erectile dysfunction might be due to Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus if the condition is paired with typical pattern symptoms such as late period, painful period, dark clots in menstrual blood and brown vaginal discharge. Similarly, patients with Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus typically exhibit choppy (Se), deep (Chen), slow (Chi) or wiry (Xian) pulses as well as a bluish-purple tongue.

Read more about Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus here

The two herbal formulas that might help with erectile dysfunction

Wen Jing Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Uterus and vessels. Nourishes Blood. Dispels Cold. Dispels Blood Stagnation.

Why might Wen Jing Tang help with erectile dysfunction?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help with the patterns Full Cold in the Directing and Penetraing Vessels and Dampness and Phlegm in the Uterus which are sometimes associated with erectile dysfunction. If any of these patterns look like something you might suffer from, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Wen Jing Tang here

Fu Zi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Meridians. Assists the Yang. Dispels Cold. Transforms Dampness.

Why might Fu Zi Tang help with erectile dysfunction?

Because it is a formula often recommended to help treat Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp, a pattern sometimes associated with erectile dysfunction. If it looks like you might suffer from Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp, this formula might help (although please seek confirmation with a professional practitioner beforehand).

Read more about Fu Zi Tang here