Chinese Medicines for Fertility or Infertility

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. Clinical trials are regularly reported in over 50 Chinese medical journals.


Diagnosis and Treatment of Infertility

Though Western diagnosis can be very helpful to the herbalist, herbal prescriptions must be made according to the TCM diagnosis, which reveals the underlying nature of the issue.

Treatment aims to restore harmony and balance and eliminate other impediments to conception.  As these conditions vary greatly from person to person, treatment protocols will also vary. A hidden advantage of this method is that, because it addresses root problems, other health benefits can accrue. Regardless of achieving pregnancy, many patients report improvements their health and sense of well being.


Herbs and Fertility 

There are over 150 different herbs commonly used in the treatment of infertility. Herbs are usually given in combinations (formulae) which are often modified for each patient. Herbs can be administered as pills, powders, tablets, or decoctions (teas). All can be effective.

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, but could, on rare occasion, cause adverse digestive reactions. These can be corrected by slight modification of the formula or by changing the method of administration. Allergic reactions are extremely rare. Acupuncture treatment is even safer, showing virtually no instances of adverse reactions.

Combining Therapies
In China, combining Western medical techniques along with Chinese methods is common. Some doctors are trained in both methods Most cases of infertility successfully treated in China are not the result of modern techniques such as in vitro fertilization. The Chinese consider these techniques overly expensive and are 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.

Common 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.


Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are valuable complements to in vitro fertilization, and may significantly benefit the outcome of this procedure.According to Dr. Lifang Liang, who experimented using Chinese medicine as an adjunct to IVF at the University of Texas, Chinese medicine increases the success rate of in vitro fertilization by as much as 50%. IVF patients are given herbs and acupuncture at several critical stages during the procedure.At the first stage, when birth controls pills are administered to regulate hormonal activity, herbs and acupuncture are used to insure smooth flow to the ovaries.Next, when drugs are given to stimulate egg production, Chinese herbs and acupuncture are used to ease the stimulating side-effects of the drugs. Similar herbs are also used before implantation to relax the muscles, prevent contraction, and better enable the embryo to implant upon the uterus.

Other herbs with a long history of preventing miscarriage are used after transfer to strengthen the womb and avert miscarriage. Herbs for Miscarriage   

Infertility In Men

Men are a factor in infertility about 40% of the time.

Common Causes of Infertility in men are:
Deficiency of Kidney Yang
erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, poor sperm motility
Man’s Treasure

If due to stress, take Free & Easy Pills

Deficiency or Kidney Jing
low sperm count

Shou Wu Pills

Men in these condition are advised to takeand limit ejaculation to occasions where conception is possible.
Kidney Yin Deficiency
low fluid volume in their ejaculate.
Liu Wei Di Huang

Common Causes of Infertility In women,

Deficiency of Liver Blood
Women’s Precious Pills
Kidney Yin Deficiency
Liu Wei Di Huang
Deficiency of Kidney Yang
Man’s Treasure
Excessive Phlegm-Damp. Chinese Bitters
more common in overweight
Damage to the Channels (internal injury) acupuncture is main protocol
Liver Qi Stagnation(stress/depression/anxiety) Free & Easy Pills
Obstruction of Qi and Blood

always presents with pain
acupuncture is main protocol

More Herbs and Herbal Products for Infertility

Empty Kidney Yang and Kidney Jing (low batteries)

Herbal Medicines
Single Herbs
Man’s Treasure
Epimidium – Yin Yang Huo
Virility Tablets
Deer Antler
Chuang Yao Tonic
Golden Book Pills
He Shou Wu
Shou Wu Pills
Eucommia – Du Zhong

Deficiency of Liver Blood & Yin

Herbal Medicines
Single Herbs (combine)
Women’s Precious Pills
Angelica Sinenses -Dang Gui
Wuchi Pai Feng Wan
Peonia Alba – Bai Shao
Shou Wu Pills
Rehmannia – Shu Di Huang
Liguisticum – Chuan Xiong

Liver Qi Stagnation (stress/depression/anxiety)

Herbal Medicines
Single Herbs (combine)
Free & Easy Pills
xiao yao wan
Bupleurum – Chai Hu
Smiling Buddha Pills
Albezzia Bark- He Huan Pi
Good Sleep & No Worries Pill
Poria – Fu Ling



Acupuncture can be used to treat any type of fertility disorder including spammed fallopian tubes. (Fallopian tubes are often relaxed by acupuncture, though blocked tubes will not usually respond to acupuncture).

Acupuncture is often combined with herbs to treat elevated follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), repeated pregnancy loss, unexplained infertility, luteal phase defect, hyperprolactinemia, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and male factor including men affected with sperm-DNA-fragmentation.

Acupuncture and Male Infertility Research

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. The acupuncture points used were: Guan yuan (Ren 4), shen shu (UB 23), ci liao (UB 32), tai cong (Liv 3, ), and tai xi (KI 3l), zhu san li (ST 36), xue hai (SP 10), san yin jiao (SP 6), gui lai (ST 29), and bai hui (Du 20).

Two 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%.

Furthermore significant improvements in sperm structure were seen in the samples from the acupuncture group. Following acupuncture, the median percentage of normal shapes showed a "statistically significant improvement" to 38.5%.

While acupuncture appeared able to improve the overall quality and structural integrity of sperm, it was ineffective against some common sperm pathologies. Apoptosis levels (programmed cell death) in sperm samples were reduced slightly, but not to a statistically significant degree. Median percentages of necrosis (unprogrammed cell death) and sperm immaturity also decreased slightly in the acupuncture group, but not to a level considered statistically significant.

The authors concluded that the treatment could be used to improve overall sperm quality, leading to the possibility of increased fertility. They also stated that "further research is needed to demonstrate what stages and times in spermatogenesis are affected by acupuncture, and how acupuncture causes the physiologic changes in spermatogenesis."

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.

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