Erectile dysfunction according to Chinese Medicine

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Erectile dysfunction can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like erectile dysfunction here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.

A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here erectile dysfunction is often associated with infertility, poor bone development and late closure of fontanelle in the pattern “Kidney Essence Deficiency”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of erectile dysfunction we’ve identified two herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the three medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat erectile dysfunction.

Kidney Essence Deficiency, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause erectile dysfunction

In Chinese Medicine erectile dysfunction is a symptom for the pattern "Kidney Essence Deficiency". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

The Kidneys is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Kidneys in Chinese Medicine

Kidney Essence Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Pale

Kidney Essence (Jing 精) Deficiency usually involves Deficiency of Kidney Yin and, to some extent, Kidney Yang. Its symptoms are typically in relation to growth, development, reproduction, sexuality, bones, marrow, the brain, teeth, memory and hair.

In addition to erectile dysfunction, other symptoms associated with Kidney Essence Deficiency include infertility, poor bone development and late closure of fontanelle.

Kidney Essence Deficiency is often treated with Zuo Gui Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Zuo Gui Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that nourish yin and tonify", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Nourishes the Yin".

Read more about Kidney Essence Deficiency here

Two herbal formulas that might help with erectile dysfunction

Zuo Gui Wan

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Yin. Strengthens the Kidneys. Fills the Essence. Augments the marrow.

Why might Zuo Gui Wan help with erectile dysfunction?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Essence Deficiency' of which poor sexual ability is a symptom.

Read more about Zuo Gui Wan here

Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan

Source date: 1550 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Kidney Yang. Strengthens the Essence.

Why might Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan help with erectile dysfunction?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Essence Deficiency' of which poor sexual ability is a symptom.

Read more about Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan here

Acupuncture points used for erectile dysfunction

The three Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat erectile dysfunction

Why might Cuscuta Seed (Tu Si Zi) help with erectile dysfunction?

Because Cuscuta Seed is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat erectile dysfunction as a symptom, like Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan or Zuo Gui Wan for instance.

Cuscuta Seeds is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney, the Liver and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Tonifies Kidney Yang and Essence. Nourishes the Liver.

Read more about Cuscuta Seeds here

Why might Goji Berry (Gou Qi Zi) help with erectile dysfunction?

Because Goji Berry is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat erectile dysfunction as a symptom, like Zuo Gui Wan or Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan for instance.

Goji Berries is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Yin of the Liver and Yin of the Kidneys. Brightens the eyes. Moistens the Lungs.

Read more about Goji Berries here

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with erectile dysfunction?

Because it is a key herb in Zuo Gui Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Kidney Essence Deficiency' (a pattern with erectile dysfunction as a symptom)

Prepared Rehmannia is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Tonifies the Yin of the Kidneys.

Read more about Prepared Rehmannia here