How To Increase Your Fertility After 40 With Chinese Herbs

Couples  who are trying to get pregnant after the age of 40 may  find  some  benefit  from  the deep  history  of  Chinese  medicine.  With  a  tradition  of  doctors  serving  the  emperor  to  ensure  he had  an  heir  to  his  throne,  Chinese  medicine  has  long  been  used  to  enhance  the  fertility  potential of  both  men  and  women.


Observing  the  Natural  World  in  Order  to  Know  the  Body

Chinese  medicine  theory  was  established  before  the  human  body  was  surgically  dissected.  The complex  inner  workings  of  the  body  were  instead  explained  with  reference  to  natural  phenomena and  the  concept  of  holistic  balance.  The  aim  is  to  establish  which  organ  systems  are  out  of balance  and  then  treat  the  mechanism  of  the  imbalance.


The  Uterus  is  Extraordinary  (the  ovaries are  too)

The  Uterus  is  considered  extraordinary  because  it  has  the  function  of  storing  blood,  generating life  and  expelling  both  these  which  is  a  unique  function  not  shared  by  other  organs.  There  are three  organs  directly  associated  with  the  Uterus,  the  Liver,  Kidney  and  Heart*.  The  Liver  is responsible  for  nourishment  and  regulation,  the  Kidneys  store  our  fertility  potential  and  the  Heart governs  the  vessels  that  supply  the  uterus.  The  mind  is  seen  as  an  extension  of  the  Heart.


What  Needs  Treating?

If  you  chart  your  basal  body  temperatures  (BBT)  you  may  be  able  to  identify  areas  of  imbalance. A  drastic  saw  toothed  pattern  for  example,  requires  that  the  Liver  and  Heart  system  need balancing.  Temperatures  that  are  lower  then  36.0  degrees  celsius  in  the  first  half  generally require  treatment  to  the  Kidney  system.  Low  temperatures  in  the  second  half  will  usually  require treatment  of  both  the  Heart  and  Kidney  systems.


Nourish  the  Kidneys  to  Improve  Egg  Quality

Since  the  Kidneys  are  responsible  for  our  fertility  potential,  using  herbs  such  as  Eucommia  Bark (Du  Zhong)  ,  Japanese  Teasel  Root  (Xu  Duan),  Cordyceps  (Dong  Chong  Xia  Cao)  and  Chinese Fox  Glove  root  (Shu  Di  Huang)  can  increase  egg  quality  as  well  as  support  the  mother  in carrying  the  pregnancy.


Treat  the  Heart  to  Calm  the  Mind  and  Assist  Implantation

The  mind  is  an  extension  of  the  Heart,  so  herbs  that  address  the  Heart  will  have  a  positive  effect on  the  mind.  Longan  Fruit  Flesh  (Long  Yan  Rou),  Arbor-­Vitae  Seed  (Bai  Zi  Ren)  and  Sour  Jujube Seed  (Suan  Zao  Ren)  are  nourishing  herbs  that  calm  through  supporting  the  Heart.  Mimosa  Tree Bark  (He  Huan  Pi)  and  Polygonum  Vine  (Ye  Jiao  Teng)  work  by  supporting  the  function  of  the Heart  in  gently  moving  blood  to  calm  and  treat  insomnia.


Benefit  the  Liver  to  Nourish  the  Uterus  and  Regulate  Menstruation

The  Liver  is  integral  in  maintaining  the  cyclic  fertile  rhythm  of  the  menstrual  cycle.  In  order  to have  the  best  chance  of  conceiving  it  is  important  to  maintain  a  regular  cycle  of  approximately 28-­30  days  with  ovulation  occurring  14  days  prior  to  the  next  menstruation.  Chinese  Angelica Root  (Dang  Gui),  Chinese  Motherwort  (Yi  Mu  Cao),  White  Peony  Root  (Bai  Shao)  are  used  to regulate  blood  flow  and  normalize  the  menstrual  cycle.


Putting  it  all  together…

Chinese  herbs  are  most  commonly  combined  to  produce  a  synergistically  acting  formula specific  for  the  individual.  With  the  assistance  of  a  doctor  of  Chinese  medicine  you  can determine  the  organ  systems  that  may  be  out  of  balance  and  customize  an  herbal  formula  to addresses  these  imbalances.


*The  organ  names  used  in  Chinese  medicine  theory  are  the  same  as  those  in  Western  physiology,  however the  understanding  of  their  function  and  system  are  somewhat  different.  Organ  names  have  been  capitalized to  denote  the  Chinese  medicine  understanding  of  the  organ  and  its  related  system.

This article is intended as a resource only and not as a treatment plan. Please see a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine for professional guidance before purchasing or administering herbal treatments.


Originally published on A Child After 40 on Sept 20th, 2013 [] is a leading support and advocacy website for all women on the journey of motherhood after 40. Launched in 2009, it has since been featured on CBC Radio and in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and Sun newspapers. AChildAfter40 offers expert content and F.A.Q.s on fertility over 40, and online discussion forums and local support groups for women over 40 who are trying to conceive, pregnant or parenting.