Loss of libido according to Chinese Medicine

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Loss of libido 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 loss of libido 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 loss of libido is often associated with insomnia, feeling of guilt and palpitations in the pattern “Heart Blood Deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause loss of libido.

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

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause loss of libido

In Chinese Medicine loss of libido 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.

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

Heart Blood Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Fine (Xi)

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Thin

Heart Blood Deficiency hurts the Mind (神 Shen) and it causes insomnia, dream-disturbed sleep, anxiety, poor memory, dizziness and tendency to be scared. It can be caused by Deficient Spleen Qi that fails to produce Blood, long-term anxiety and worry, a severe blood loss and excessive workload.

In addition to loss of libido, other symptoms associated with Heart Blood Deficiency include insomnia, feeling of guilt and palpitations.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Heart Blood Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Postpartum Depression.

Heart Blood Deficiency is often treated with Si Wu Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Si Wu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify blood", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Restores and nourishes Blood".

Read more about Heart Blood Deficiency here

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

Heart Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu), Fine (Xi), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

This pattern developed from Heart Blood Deficiency. It shares similar symptoms as the latter one, such as insomnia, dream-disturbed sleep, easily to be scared, poor memory and anxiety, but it also has additional empty Heat symptoms. It can be caused by Kidney Yin Deficiency or other factors such as bad diet, overwork or long term exposure to stress or hot environment.

In addition to loss of libido, other symptoms associated with Heart Yin Deficiency include insomnia, feeling of guilt and palpitations.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Heart Yin Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Absence Of Menstruation or Postpartum Depression.

Heart Yin Deficiency is often treated with Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan, a herbal formula made of 14 herbs (including Unprepared Rehmannia - Di Huang - as a key herb). Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan belongs to the category of "formulas that nourish the heart and calm the mind", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Nutritive tonic: Nourishes Yin, Blood and Vital Essence of the Heart and Kidney".

Read more about Heart Yin Deficiency here

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

Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Weak (Ruo)

In addition to loss of libido, other symptoms associated with Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency include lower back pain, cold and weak knees and feeling of cold.

Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency is often treated with Li Zhong Wan, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Dried Ginger - Gan Jiang - as a key herb). Li Zhong Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that warm the middle and dispel cold", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Warms the Middle Burner".

Read more about Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency here

Four herbal formulas that might help with loss of libido

Gui Pi Tang

Source date: 1529 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and nourish Qi and Blood. Tonifies Heart and Spleen.

Why might Gui Pi Tang help with loss of libido?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Heart Blood Deficiency' of which loss of libido is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Heart Blood Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Postpartum Depression.

Read more about Gui Pi Tang here

Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang

Source date: 1742 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi and Blood. Nourishes Yin.

Why might Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang help with loss of libido?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Heart Yin Deficiency' of which loss of libido is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Heart Yin Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Postpartum Depression.

Read more about Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang here

Li Zhong Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Middle Burner. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach.

Why might Li Zhong Wan help with loss of libido?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency' of which loss of libido is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney And Spleen Yang Deficiency include lower back pain, cold and weak knees and feeling of cold.

Read more about Li Zhong Wan here

Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan

Source date: 16th century

Number of ingredients: 14 herbs

Key actions: Nutritive tonic: Nourishes Yin, Blood and Vital Essence of the Heart and Kidney. Clears away pathogenic Heat, clears Deficient Heat. Sedative.

Why might Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan help with loss of libido?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Heart Yin Deficiency' of which loss of libido is a symptom.

According to Chinese Medicine, Heart Yin Deficiency can contribute to many health issues, including Postpartum Depression.

Read more about Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat loss of libido

Why might Ginseng (Ren Shen) help with loss of libido?

Because Ginseng is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat loss of libido as a symptom, like Gui Pi Tang or Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang for instance.

Ginseng is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Very strongly tonifies the Qi. Tonifies the Lungs and Spleen. Assists the body in the secretion of Fluids and stops thirst. Strengthens the Heart and calms the Shen (mind/spirit).

Read more about Ginseng here

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with loss of libido?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat loss of libido as a symptom, like Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang or Gui Pi Tang for instance.

Dong Quai is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieve constipation. Promotes circulation and dispels Bi Pain. Reduce Dysmenorrhea and help with irregular menstruation.

Read more about Dong Quai here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with loss of libido?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat loss of libido as a symptom, like Gui Pi Tang or Li Zhong Wan for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs.

Read more about Liquorice here

Why might Jujube Seed (Suan Zao Ren) help with loss of libido?

Because Jujube Seed is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat loss of libido as a symptom, like Gui Pi Tang or Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan for instance.

Jujube Seeds is a Neutral herb that tastes Sour and Sweet. It targets the Gallbladder, the Heart and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Nourishes the Heart Yin and calms the spirit. Contains Fluid leakage.

Read more about Jujube Seeds here

Why might Dwarf Lilyturf Root (Mai Dong) help with loss of libido?

Because Dwarf Lilyturf Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat loss of libido as a symptom, like Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan or Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang for instance.

Dwarf Lilyturf Roots is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Stomach, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Replenishes Yin Essence and promotes secretions. Lubricates and nourishes the Stomach. Soothes the Lung. Nourishes the Heart.

Read more about Dwarf Lilyturf Roots here