Low sperm count according to Chinese Medicine

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Low sperm count 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 low sperm count 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 low sperm count is often associated with lower back pain, premature ejaculation and lassitude in the pattern “Kidney Yang Deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause low sperm count.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of low sperm count we’ve identified three 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 low sperm count.

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause low sperm count

In Chinese Medicine low sperm count 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 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 low sperm count, other symptoms associated with Kidney Yang Deficiency include lower back pain, premature ejaculation and lassitude.

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

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

Kidney Yin Deficiency

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

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

Tongue shape: Cracked

Kidney Yin Deficiency causes false Heat symptoms, such as night sweats, thirst and five palm heat. These signs are from a depletion of Body Fluids and Essence. It can be caused by prolonged overwork, excessive sexual activity, chronic long term illnesses, consumption of Body Fluids by Heat, prolonged blood loss, overdosage of Kidney Yang tonics herbs, smoking and Kidney depleting foods such as coffee, alcohol, sugar, and fruit juices.

In addition to low sperm count, other symptoms associated with Kidney Yin Deficiency include lower back pain, premature ejaculation and lassitude.

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

Kidney Yin Deficiency is often treated with Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Liu 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: "Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system)".

Read more about Kidney Yin Deficiency here

Three herbal formulas that might help with low sperm count

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 low sperm count?

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

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney Yang Deficiency include lower back pain, premature ejaculation and lassitude.

Read more about Ba Wei Di Huang Wan here

Liu Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1119 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system).

Why might Liu Wei Di Huang Wan help with low sperm count?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yin Deficiency' of which low sperm count is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney Yin Deficiency include lower back pain, premature ejaculation and lassitude.

Read more about Liu 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 low sperm count?

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

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney Yang Deficiency include lower back pain, premature ejaculation and lassitude.

Read more about Shen Qi Wan here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat low sperm count

Why might Cornelian Cherry (Shan Zhu Yu) help with low sperm count?

Because Cornelian Cherry is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat low sperm count 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 Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with low sperm count?

Because Prepared Rehmannia is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat low sperm count as a symptom, like Liu Wei Di Huang Wan or Zuo Gui Wan for instance.

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

Why might Yam (Shan Yao) help with low sperm count?

Because Yam is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat low sperm count 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 Water Plantain (Ze Xie) help with low sperm count?

Because Water Plantain is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat low sperm count as a symptom, like Liu Wei Di Huang Wan or Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan for instance.

Water Plantain is a Cold herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Bladder and the Kidney.

Its main actions are: Causes urination and removes Damp-Heat

Read more about Water Plantain here

Why might Anemarrhena Rhizome (Zhi Mu) help with low sperm count?

Because Anemarrhena Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat low sperm count as a symptom, like Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan or Yu Nu Jian for instance.

Anemarrhena Rhizomes is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Kidney, the Lung and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat and Fire from the Qi level. Clears Heat and Fire from the Lung and Stomach. Clears Heat and tonifies the Yin.

Read more about Anemarrhena Rhizomes here