If you have been looking to enhance your fertility through natural means, you may have found it confusing and frustrating trying to figure out the best plan of action. Whether you’re just interested in a healthy way to boost your chances of conceiving, looking for support for assisted reproductive techniques, or somewhere in between, Chinese herbal medicine is worth considering.
While the effectiveness of using acupuncture for aiding fertility is well-known, many are unaware of the benefits that Chinese herbs can add to the equation. The beauty of Chinese herbal medicine is that there are hundreds of herbs available to your practitioner, each with different actions and properties. The herbs are combined into formulas which are prescribed based on your specific needs and patterns of imbalance. Based on their actions, herbs can nourish, enhance your energy, promote circulation, nourish your blood, warm or cool your body, dry up excess mucous, or promote urination, to name a few actions.
The reality is that it takes a lot of energy to become pregnant, carry a baby to term, and go through labor and delivery. If you’re extremely run down or depleted, you may struggle to conceive. And of the most common patterns of depletion experienced by both men and women who are having fertility issues is something called a Kidney deficiency.
Your Chinese organs have different meanings and functions than what we understand in Western medicine. Beyond its Western functions of filtering and playing a role in regulating your blood pressure, the Chinese Kidney system is responsible for your body’s entire constitution. It determines how you grow, mature, age, your metabolism, and your overall health. The strength of your Kidney system is also strongly associated with your fertility.
The vitality of your Kidney system is partly determined by genetics and partly the product of how healthfully you live your life. If your Kidney system is depleted, you may experience overall fatigue, low thyroid function, adrenal or pituitary issues, or problems with reproductive hormones, such as low progesterone levels or luteal phase defects. It’s possible to overcome a weak body constitution through eating well and having a healthy lifestyle. It’s also possible to strengthen your Kidney through the use of Chinese herbs. There are a number of herbs and herbal formulas that are devised specifically to enhance the strength and function of your Chinese Kidney. Selecting the appropriate herbs for you depend on your specific history, symptoms, and health status.
Another common pattern that contributes to fertility problems is called blood stagnation. Your blood is meant to flow freely throughout the body to nourish all of your organs and tissues. When the free flow of blood to the uterus is hampered it can cause fertility-related problems. Conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts, irregular periods and painful menstrual cramps all contribute to infertility, and can all be related to a pattern of blood stagnation. Treating this pattern with Chinese medicinals involves including herbs that restore blood flow to your uterus, regulate your menstrual cycle, and promote ovulation.
Another source of infertility is a pattern of blood deficiency. This simply means that the nourishing quality of your blood is depleted. Blood deficiency is often a by-product of blood stagnation, but it may also be caused by heavy periods, blood loss, anemia, or poor nutrition. Because healthy blood nourishes your endometrium (the lining of your uterus), revitalizing your blood can be an important component in enhancing fertility. One of the most common herbs to nourish and regulate the blood is Dang Gui (Chinese Angelica root). However, there are several others that may be used, including Chinese Wolfberry (Gou Qi Zi), Longan fruit (Long Yan Rou), and Peony Root (Bai Shao).
Chinese herbs have been used for thousands of years to treat reproductive problems, including infertility. In the past few decades, research has found that Chinese medicinals can help regulate reproductive hormone levels, enhance blood flow to the ovaries, and promote ovulation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5597078/#B5-medicines-04-00007 If you are interested in knowing more about how Chinese herbs can help promote fertility, contact us.
Dr. Jeda Boughton is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Registered Acupuncturist in Vancouver. She is also a Registered Herbologist and the founder of BodaHealth.