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 feeling of cold, lassitude and loose stools in the pattern “Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record two 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 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 loss of libido.

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

In Chinese Medicine loss of libido is a symptom for 2 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

The Spleen is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Spleen 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 feeling of cold, lassitude and loose stools.

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

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 loss of libido, other symptoms associated with Kidney Yang Deficiency include feeling of cold, lassitude and loose stools.

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

Five herbal formulas that might help with loss of libido

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.

Read more about Li Zhong Wan here

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 loss of libido?

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

Read more about Ba Wei Di Huang 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 loss of libido?

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

Read more about You Gui Wan here

Er Xian Tang

Source date: 1950 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Yin and tonifies Yang of the Kidneys. Clears Empty Heat. Regulates the Directing and Penetrating Vessels.

Why might Er Xian Tang help with loss of libido?

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

Read more about Er Xian Tang 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 loss of libido?

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

Read more about Shen Qi Wan here

Acupuncture points used for loss of libido

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

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 Wen Jing Tang for instance.

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

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 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 Heart, the Lung and the Spleen.

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 Yam (Shan Yao) help with loss of libido?

Because Yam is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat loss of libido as a symptom, like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan or Shen Qi Wan for instance.

Yam is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney, the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach. Tonifies the Lung Qi and nourishes the Lung Yin. Nourishes the Kidneys and consolidates Jing.

Read more about Yam 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 Heart, the Lung and the Stomach.

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

Why might Goji Berry (Gou Qi Zi) help with loss of libido?

Because Goji Berry is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat loss of libido as a symptom, like Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan or You Gui 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