As we mentioned in previous articles, infertility is defined as inability of a couple to conceive after 12 months of unprotected sexual intercourse. It affects over 5 millions couple alone in the U. S. and many times more in the world. Because of the unawareness of treatments, only 10% seek help from a professional specialist. We have spent most of our time in this series discussing the conventional and Chinese medicine in treating fertility. I believe, it is the best time to change the subject by discussing how to treat infertility with herbs.
I. In Women
1. Black Cohosh ( cimicifuga racemosa )
Black cohosh also known as sheng ma in traditional Chinese medicine is a uterine and ovarian tonic herb. Since it contains estrogen like substance, it helps to balance the estrogen production in the menstrual cycle, leading to normal ovulation and increasing the chance of fertility. Black cohost CAN NOT be taken, if you are pregnant, because of the risk of miscarriage.
2. Chaste tree berry ( vitex agnus-castus)
Chaste tree berry is considered as a queen herb by many herbalists in Europe. It is said that it helps to balance the female hormone production in the women body, leading to regular menstrual cycle by inhibiting the levels of FSH and increasing the levels of LH, thereby increasing the chance of ovulation as well as production of progesterone in supporting the fertilizing process.
3. Red clover (trifolium pratense)
Red clover traditionally is used to treat cough and skin problem. It contains high levels of phytoestrogen which helps to occupy the estrogen receptors in the women body, thereby, reducing the risks of hormone imbalance, leading to normal menstrual cycle resulting in improve the chance of fertility.
4. Licorice (glycyrrhira glabra)
Licorice has been used in traditional Chinese medicine in harmonizing the hormone imbalance caused by abnormal function of kidney and adrenal gland, thereby decreasing the risk of over production of certain hormone which may interfere with the natural process of fertilization. It also contains phytoestrogen which helps to increase the levels of good estrogen, resulting in a normal menstrual cycle and the chance of fertility.
5. Red raspberry ( rubus ideaus)
Red raspberry is an uterus tonic herb. it contain high levels of astrigent and cleansing substance that helps to improve the immune system in fighting against foreign invasion, thereby lessening the risks of immune abnormal function in attacking it own tissue, including production of antibody antigen.
6. Sarasaparilla (smilax officinalis)
Besides helping to relieve constipation, and acidity and blood purifier, sarasaparilla is a reproductive organs and glands tonic herbs, it helps to regulate the production of certain hormones in the women body, including the levels between estrogen and progesterone as well as FSH & LH levels.
7. White willow (salix alba)
White willow is considered as a fertility enhancing herb by many herbalist. It contains substance which can be covert to aspirin like acid, leading to increasing the blood flow to the reproductive organs including supporting the uterine lining in fertilized egg implantation.
8. Panax Ginseng
In TCM panax ginseng is considered as an energizer and tonic for the whole body, particularly for the reproductive organs. It contains synthesis estrogen and progesterone, can be used to lower FSH levels, thereby reducing the risk of hormone imbalance, resulting in normalizing the natural process of hormone production during menstrual cycles and increasing the chance of natural fertilization.
9. Wild yam
Wild yam is a liver tonic herb, it helps to tone, nourish the liver in balancing the hormone production in the body. It also contains steroidal saponins which is an important hormonal precursor for progesterone that helps to provide necessary elements or building blocks for balancing the levels of progesterone and cortisone resulting in decreasing the risk of abnormal implantation and miscarriage.
II. In men
1. Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium grandiflorum)
Horny Goat weed is considered as male reproductive enhancer in traditional Chinese medicine, it helps to normalize the production of levels of testosterone, thereby increasing the sexual desire as well as the quality of sperm.
2. Maritime pine tree
According to October 2002 issue of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, the chemical agent pycnogenol in maritime pine tree helped to improve the quality and function of sperm in men with fertility problems by a mean of 38% and 19%, respectively, after only 90 days of use. Therefore,it is helpful to increase the chance of fertility for a couple with a male partner having abnormal sperm quality and motility.
3. Maca root
Maca root contains high amount of vitamins including vitamin C, D, and E which is vital for the reproductive system needed for regulating the production of certain hormones during menstrual cycle. Since it is an adaptogenic herb, it not only helps to improve sexual desire by stimulating the production of testosterone, but also acts as a regulator in hormone production and energy enhancer and distributor.
4. Saw Palmetto
Saw Palmetto besides containing chemical agents which help to boost the levels of sex hormones in men such as testosterone, it also helps to tone, nourish, and empower the male reproductive system as well as relieving and treating enlarged prostate.
5. Flaxseed Oil
Flaxeed oil beside containing high levels of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which are essential for regulating the production of certain hormones in the prostaglandins hormones, it also contains high amount of fiber which is vital in helping spleen and liver in maintaining and regulating the levels of insulin in the blood stream and is vital for the natural process in hormone production and egg fertilization during menstrual cycle.
Yohimbe besides containing certain chemicals help to dilate blood vessels in the pelvic region, leading to increasing blood flow to the penis, thereby, decreasing the risk of erectile dysfunction and allowing more blood to reach the penis, it also helps to boost sexual desire as well as increasing quality and motility of sperm.
7. Pumpkin Seed
Beside containing high amount of zinc which is vital for prostate gland, it also acts as hormone production regulator as well as improving sperm production and ejaculation.
Cranberry is a kidney tonic herb. Beside helping kidney in maintaining the normal urinary process and fluid in the body, it also helps to regulate the balance of kidney qi as well as healthy levels of kidney jing which is vital for the reproductive function in sperm production.