Infertility according to Chinese Medicine

Infertility 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 infertility 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 infertility is often associated with impotence, fatigue and feeling of cold in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/yang-deficiency-or-empty-yang”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause infertility.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of infertility we’ve identified five 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 infertility.

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause infertility

In Chinese Medicine infertility is a symptom for 3 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) is the king ingredient for Ba Wei Di Huang Wan, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/yang-deficiency-or-empty-yang

Yang Deficiency or Empty Yang

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Empty (Xu), Slow (Chi), Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

Yang Deficiency is an Empty-Cold condition characterized by Coldness and Deficiency. It can cause a general hypoactivity of Organ functions and Oedema. Qi and Blood is more likely to stagnate. Yang Deficiency is mostly related to Spleen Yang, Kidney Yang, Heart Yang or Lung Qi. It is a result of lack of activity or exercise, excessive sex, over-exposure to cold environments and bad diet.

In addition to infertility, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/yang-deficiency-or-empty-yang include impotence, fatigue and feeling of cold.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/yang-deficiency-or-empty-yang 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 Yang Deficiency or Empty Yang here

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 infertility, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency include impotence, tinnitus and fatigue.

From a Western Medicine standpoint /tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency is associated with health issues such as Late Menstruation, Menopausal Syndrome or Irregular Menstruation.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/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

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 infertility, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-essence-deficiency include tinnitus, dizziness and lower back pain.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/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

Five herbal formulas that might help with infertility

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 infertility?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/yang-deficiency-or-empty-yang' of which infertility is a symptom.

Read more about Ba Wei Di Huang 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 infertility?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency' of which infertility is a symptom.

Read more about Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan here

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 infertility?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-essence-deficiency' of which infertility is a symptom.

Read more about Zuo Gui Wan here

Tu Si Zi Wan

Source date: 1253 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Kidneys. Prevents abnormal leakage such as urinary incontinence or seminal emissions.

Why might Tu Si Zi Wan help with infertility?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-essence-deficiency' of which infertility is a symptom.

Read more about Tu Si Zi Wan here

You Gui Wan

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Warms and tonifies Kidney Yang. Replenishes the Essence. Tonifies the Blood.

Why might You Gui Wan help with infertility?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency' of which infertility in women is a symptom.

Read more about You Gui Wan here

Acupuncture points used for infertility

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat infertility

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

Because Cornelian Cherry is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat infertility as a symptom, like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan or Liu 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 Prepared Aconite (Zhi Fu Zi) help with infertility?

Because Prepared Aconite is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat infertility as a symptom, like You Gui Wan or Shen Qi Wan for instance.

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

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 Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi) help with infertility?

Because Mudan Peony Bark is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat infertility as a symptom, like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan or Liu Wei Di Huang Wan for instance.

Mudan Peony Bark is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Cools the Blood, activates Blood circulation and resolves Blood stasis.

Read more about Mudan Peony Bark here

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

Because Cuscuta Seed is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat infertility as a symptom, like Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan or Tu Si Zi 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 Schisandra Berry (Wu Wei Zi) help with infertility?

Because Schisandra Berry is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat infertility as a symptom, like Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan or Tu Si Zi Wan for instance.

Schisandra Berries is a Warm herb that tastes Sour and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Kidneys and preserves the Essence. Astringes the Lung Qi and stops coughing. Retains Bodily Fluids and encourages their production. Tonifies the Heart and calms the spirit (Shen).

Read more about Schisandra Berries here