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Chinese Herbs

Chinese herbs have been documented in the treatment of infertility and miscarriage since 200 A.D., and numerous Chinese studies have highlighted the benefits: both men and women increased their likelihood of pregnancy by 70 percent following treatment with Chinese herbs. While few U.S. studies have documented the benefits of herbs, scientists at Berkeley Center for Reproductive Wellness in New York find that Chinese herbs’ positive results increase with the combined use of acupuncture and traditional medicines.

What It Is

Chinese herbs are not a pinpointed list of herbs, rather a combination of more than 15 of 150 different herbs derived from roots, bark, leaves, flowers, and fruits, creating hundreds of possible treatments. Practitioners trained in combining herbs create formulas based on the individual, which is why choosing to use Chinese herbs isn’t as easy as a trip to your local pharmacy. Practitioners include naturopaths, modern doctors with additional training or familiarity in herbs, and acupuncturists, for which the treatment is often combined, as both have been shown to increase fertility in men and women.

How It Works

Chinese herbs are combined and taken in a variety of forms, including pills, tablets, granules and oftentimes steeped in teas. They are used over the course of three to six months, and in China the treatment is considered unsuccessful if pregnancy does not occur within eight to nine months.

There isn’t specific evidence as to why Chinese herbs may work on men and women having fertility problems. The Chinese believe that infertility comes from deficiencies in and blocked flow to the body’s “Qi” (energy flow in the body), blood, and the yin and yang (which is why the herbs are often combined with acupuncture, also used to unblock a person’s energy flow).

Chinese herbs are natural supplements that may provide benefits to the users’ health regardless of pregnancy, such as ginseng, a popular supplement used to increase energy, reduce fatigue and stress, and lower cholesterol. However, as herbs are foods and not medicines, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not review the herbs used to treat infertility, and users take them at their own risk. Typical side effects include nausea, dizziness, headache, dry mouth, and bowel changes. Before taking any supplements, speak to your doctor, as supplements may interact or interfere with other medicines you are currently taking or treatments you are undergoing.