Treating male infertility from a TCM perspective

According to TCM theory, the common causes of male infertility include kidney asthenia (weakness); liver qi stagnation; blockage of meridians due to phlegm and dampness; deficiency in qi and blood; and blood stasis.

A combination of Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture is often prescribed to improve sperm quality.

There is no one individual herb that is especially effective. Usually, what is prescribed uses about 15 or more specific herbs, in differing quantities, to create formulas that cater to the different syndromes diagnosed by the physician.


In TCM terms, deficiency syndromes include kidney asthenia and deficiency in qi and blood. Kidney asthenia may include frequent urination, aching of the back and legs, and impotence. Fatigue is one obvious symptom of qi and blood deficiency. The common Chinese medicine formula … is prescribed for those who lack kidney yang, while 右归丸 is used to nourish the kidney yin. 归脾汤 is used to build the qi and blood in the body.


The stagnancy syndrome is mainly due to liver qi stagnation and blood stasis. A common cause of qi stagnation is high levels of stress. Qi stagnation is often characterised by tense muscles and digestive disorders. Other symptoms that may arise include abdominal bloating and pain. 紫胡疏肝汤 is a common herbal remedy used to resolve this issue.


This syndrome includes the blockage of meridians due to phlegm, dampness and blood stasis. Deficiency in the spleen will produce phlegm and dampness, which leads to blockage in the meridians. Therefore, 四君子汤 is normally used to strengthen the spleen to remove phlegm and dampness. Blockage due to blood stasis often occurs after surgery, injury or severe infection. A common medicine used to resolve this problem is 血府逐瘀汤.

Qi, pronounced as “chee”, is the vital energy that circulates along the whole body through pathways called meridians. A proper circulation of qi ensures a healthy body. Any blockage or disruption of this flow of qi will cause diseases.

In TCM, acupuncture treatment is used to ensure the smooth flow of qi to achieve a balance of yin and yang in all the organs, and it is commonly applied to treat male infertility problems. By balancing the yin and yang in the organs, one’s body constitution is improved, hence leading to the production of better quality sperm.

Besides using Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture to treat male infertility problems, there are some basic lifestyle changes that can play a role in improving sperm quality. Good habits such as maintaining a normal body weight, minimising stress and reducing scrotal temperature will help to improve sperm quality.