Impotence according to Chinese Medicine

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Impotence 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 impotence 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 impotence is often associated with spermatorrhea, back pain and tinnitus in the pattern “Kidney Yang Deficiency”.

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

We’ve also selected below the five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat impotence.

Kidney Yang Deficiency, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause impotence

In Chinese Medicine impotence is a symptom for the pattern "Kidney Yang 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 Yang Deficiency

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

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Swollen

Kidney Yang Deficiency causes Internal Cold and weakness.

In addition to impotence, other symptoms associated with Kidney Yang Deficiency include spermatorrhea, back pain and tinnitus.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Kidney Yang Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Late Menstruation, Menopausal Syndrome or Irregular Menstruation.

Kidney Yang Deficiency is often treated with Ba Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Ba Wei Di Huang 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: "Tonifies Yang".

Read more about Kidney Yang Deficiency here

Two herbal formulas that might help with impotence

Ba Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Yang. Warms the Kidneys and lower extremities.

Why might Ba Wei Di Huang Wan help with impotence?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yang Deficiency' of which impotence is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney Yang Deficiency include spermatorrhea, back pain and tinnitus.

Read more about Ba Wei Di Huang Wan here

Shen Qi Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and warms Kidney Yang.

Why might Shen Qi Wan help with impotence?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yang Deficiency' of which impotence is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney Yang Deficiency include spermatorrhea, back pain and tinnitus.

Read more about Shen Qi Wan here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat impotence

Why might Cornelian Cherry (Shan Zhu Yu) help with impotence?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat impotence and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat impotence as a symptom (such as Ba Wei Di Huang Wan for instance).

Cornelian Cherries is a Warm herb that tastes Sour. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Preserves and tonifies the Kidney, Liver and Essence. Stops sweating and benefits the Yang and Qi. Assists menstruation and stops bleeding.

Read more about Cornelian Cherries here

Why might Cinnamon Bark (Rou Gui) help with impotence?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat impotence and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat impotence as a symptom (such as You Gui Wan for instance).

Cinnamon Bark is a Hot herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Warms the Spleen and Kidneys and tonifies the Yang. Expels Cold, Warms the meridians, promotes circulation of Qi and Blood and relieves pain. Used with tonics to assist in the generation of Qi and Blood.

Read more about Cinnamon Bark here

Why might Epimedium Herb (Yin Yang Huo) help with impotence?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat impotence and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat impotence as a symptom (such as Er Xian Tang for instance).

Epimedium Herbs is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Kidney Yang. Expels Wind-Damp-Cold Bi Pain. Strengthens Lung Qi and assists in expectoration.

Read more about Epimedium Herbs here

Why might Prepared Aconite (Zhi Fu Zi) help with impotence?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat impotence and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat impotence as a symptom (such as You Gui Wan for instance).

Prepared Aconite is a Hot herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Kidney.

Its main actions are: Raises the collapse of Yang. Warms the meridians and relieves pain caused by Cold. Reduces Damp caused by Deficiency in Yang.

Read more about Prepared Aconite here

Why might Curculigo Rhizome (Xian Mao) help with impotence?

Because it is both specifically indicated to treat impotence and also because it is an ingredient in herbal formulas known to treat impotence as a symptom (such as Er Xian Tang for instance).

Curculigo Rhizomes is a Hot herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies Kidney Yang and treats Kidney Yang Deficiency patterns. Strengthens the bones and sinews. Clears Cold and Dampness.

Read more about Curculigo Rhizomes here