Chinese Herbal Medicines for Fertility 

Chinese medicine has long been used to aid fertility. Records on treatment of infertility and miscarriage date back to 200 A.D.

The first book on gynecology is The Complete Book of Effective Prescriptions for Diseases of Women. It was published in 1237 A.D. Today in China, herbs are used to treat infertility in both men and women. 

Treatment aims to restore harmony and eliminate any impediments to conception.  As these conditions vary greatly from person to person, treatment protocols will also vary. 

Success of Chinese Medicine
There are no guarantees of success, however clinical studies in China have shown that 70% of all cases of infertility, treated by Chinese medicine, resulted in pregnancy. Depending on the particular study and the types of infertility treated, success rates ranged from about 50% up to more than 90%. *
*Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon

Safety of Treatment
The Chinese herbs used are entirely non toxic. Using formulas rather than single herbs, allows the practitioner to mitigate any unwanted side-effects and prevent adverse digestive reactions. Allergic reactions are extremely rare. 

Combining Therapies
In China, combining Western and traditional Chinese methods is common. Some doctors are trained in both methods. Most cases successfully treated are not the result of modern techniques such as in vitro fertilization, as these techniques are very expensive and known to have only a modest rate of success.

When Pregnancy Occurs
Once pregnancy is confirmed. Treatment is usually discontinued. Only those with a history of miscarriage or those who suffer morning sickness will take herbs or acupuncture during pregnancy. Acupuncture and herbs can also be used to ease the pain of childbirth and to treat breech birth and delayed labor.

TCM Causes of Infertility

A combination of one or more of the following patterns is the root of many fertility problems.

1. Deficiency Pattern – which effects the hormonal system, impairing sexual and reproductive functions.

2. Stagnation Pattern– which has the effect of restricting circulation of qi and blood to the reproductive organs.

3. Heat or Cold Pattern – which causes the affected organs to function abnormally, by altering the mucous membrane, or raising or lowering the local temperature. In all cases, the aim of treatment is to harmonize the underlying imbalances to restore normal physiological functions.

Shen Clinic TCM consultation

Which Herbs Are Used for Fertility? 

There are over 150 different herbs commonly used in the treatment of infertility. Herbs are usually given in combinations which are modified for each patient. Herbs can be administered as pills, powders, tablets, or decoctions (teas). 
Men are a factor in infertility about 40% of the time.


Male Infertility Herbs

Diagnosis  Possible Indication Useful Formulas
Kidney Yang Deficiency Low libido, Erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, poor sperm motility

Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan

You Gui Wan

Jing Deficiency Low libido, Low sperm count, premature aging He Shou Wu, Ren Shen
Kidney Yin Deficiency Low seminal fluid
low ejaculate

Mai Wei Di Huang Wan

Zuo Gui Wan

Liver Qi Stagnation  Depression Free & Easy Pills

Female Infertility Herbs

Diagnosis Possible Indication Useful Formula
Deficiency of Liver Blood
Menstrual problems

Women’s Precious Pills

Si Wu Tang

Kidney Yin Deficiency
Vaginal dryness

Liu Wei Di Huang

Mai Wei Di Huang Wan

Zuo Gui Wan

Deficiency of Kidney Yang
Low libido

JIn Gui Shen Qi Wan

You Gui Wan

Excessive Phlegm-Damp. Overweight, cysts

Fang Feng Tang Shen

Cinnamon & Rehmannia

Injury to the Ren or Dai Channel  Physical trauma Many herbs used to treat injury are prohibited during pregnancy. See a practitioner.
Liver Qi Stagnation Depression Free & Easy Pills
Obstruction of Qi and Blood Abdominal pain

Many herbs used to treat pain are forbidden during pregnancy. See practitioner



Acupuncture can treat many fertility disorders including some fallopian tube disorders. Fallopian tubes are often relaxed by acupuncture, though blocked tubes will not usually respond.

Acupuncture is often combined with herbs to treat elevated follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), repeated pregnancy loss, functional infertility, luteal phase defect, hyperprolactinemia, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

A trial published in Fertility and Sterility has shown that acupuncture can be effective in the treatment of some male infertility problems, leading to significant increases in sperm count and reductions in some structural abnormalities.

In the study, 28 men diagnosed with infertility received acupuncture twice a week for 5 weeks. 

Two sperm samples were collected from each patient: one obtained the day before treatment, the other after the last acupuncture treatment. Samples from the treatment group were then compared with semen samples from 12 untreated control patients.

Analysis showed that motility levels increased significantly in semen samples in the men receiving acupuncture. While median motility levels increased from 32% to 37% in the control group, they increased from 44.5% to 50% in the acupuncture group.

The number and percentage of healthy sperm also increased dramatically in the acupuncture patients. After 10 sessions of treatments, the median percentage of healthy sperm had increased more than four-fold, to 0.26%.

The authors concluded that the treatment could be used to improve overall sperm quality, leading to the possibility of increased fertility. 

1. Hopps CV, Goldstein M. Male infertility: the basics. Available online.

2. Levine D. Boxers or briefs: myths and facts about men's infertility. Available online.

3. Pei J, Strehler E, Noss U, et al. Quantitative evaluation of spermatozoa ultrastructure after acupuncture treatment for idiopathic male infertility. Fertility and Sterility July 2005;84(1):141-7.


Information on this site is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your own physician or another medical professional. We make no claim as to efficacy or safety of herbs or herbal medicine appearing on this site. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.