- Sexual wellness is a complex intersection of physical, hormonal, psychological, and emotional factors, but with some simple Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) lifestyle changes, you can hep boost your overall health and vitality.
- Imbalances in vital energy (Qi) in the body or blood stagnation are the main culprits of low libido, but incorporating the right herbs & adaptogens, foods, and self-care rituals into your daily routine can help your body reach a state of harmony.
- Supporting a healthy mood is the foundation for better sexual wellness, and there are a multitude of TCM rituals you can try to reduce stress, clear brain fog, and promote more connectedness with you and your partner.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) understands sexual wellness as a complex intersection of physical, hormonal, psychological, and emotional factors. The mind, body, and spirit all work together to impact our libido (sex drive), attraction levels, fertility, hormone health, and more. You might already be seeing these connections in your everyday life. For example, if you are feeling extremely stressed from work or family drama, this might make trying to conceive feel more like a chore, rather than an intimate moment with your partner.
If you are looking to shift your sex drive into gear or wanting a more holistic approach to support your hormone health, Elix Medical Advisor and Doctor of Chinese Medicine, Dr. Liem Le answers your questions on how Chinese Medicine can help get you there.
What causes low libido?
According to TCM, a healthy sex drive is associated with overall good health and vitality. So, if there is an imbalance in vital energy (Qi) in the body or blood stagnation, you might start to see this manifest in the form of lower libido. There are many causes of low libido in women, and as our mind, body and spirit are all connected, these causes are often multifaceted. Medications, hormonal birth control, diet & lifestyle, hormonal imbalances, low self-esteem, stress, and fatigue can all play a role in causing a lower sex drive than usual.
With all this being said, it is important to remember that experiencing fluctuations in sexual desire from the various stages in your menstrual cycle, to everyday life events, is completely normal. Being kind to yourself and having open and honest conversations with your partner can go a long way in helping you feel more comfortable and confident.
What are the best herbs for sexual health?
Chinese Herbal Medicine has been shown to address some of the root causes of low libido, and help improve overall hormone balance. Some of the herbs in Elix’s formulas that target these specific concerns include:
- Ginseng has been used as an aphrodisiac in TCM for centuries to benefit women’s sexual wellness. This herb tonifies Qi, relieves stress, clears mental fog, and boosts energy.
- Angelica Sinensis is also known as the ‘female ginseng’ because of it’s amazing effects on women’s health. This herb mitigates hormonal imbalances by strengthening the body’s vital Qi, regenerating blood cells, and improving circulation.
- Motherwort has been used since the beginning of time by nearly all ancient cultures to aid in reproductive health. It works to relieve menstrual pain by enhancing blood flow to the uterus, and regulating stress hormones.
- White Peony is another amazing flower that is used for improving blood circulation and nourishment to promote more peaceful sleep, and pain-free periods.
Can certain foods boost libido and fertility?
In addition to supporting your body with herbs and adaptogens, using food as medicine can also do wonders for your overall and sexual health. In TCM, the kidneys play a large role in sexual health and reproduction. This organ contains both yin and yang energy, which provide the force needed to power our sexual motors, have a functioning libido, and enhance fertility.
Certain seafoods like oysters are not only considered to be an aphrodisiac in many cultures, but they can nourish kidney yin as well. Apples, tofu, seaweed, blackberries and blueberries are also beneficial. To help support overall balance, foods that tonify kidney yang energy are walnuts, salmon, garlic, ginger, chestnuts, and lamb.
Is there a connection between stress and sexual wellness?
Supporting a healthy mood is the foundation for better sexual wellness. Acupuncture is a great ritual to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and most importantly, increase circulation of qi and blood in the channels that traverse around the genitals and reproductive organs. This healthy movement of blood and Qi throughout the body can help with balancing hormones to help increase libido, and fertility as well.
Adding exercise into your routine can also help move Qi and blood to promote overall health and vitality, reduce stress and inflammation, and help you build confidence as well. Gentle exercises like Yoga and Tai Chi are great ways to continue healthy movement during your menstrual and luteal phases, and doing more cardio and HIIT workouts are great for your follicular phase and ovulation.
Meditation is another great healing modality that can help train your mind to be focused and not stray away during sex. You can do all the right things to improve the function of your reproductive system, but if you are not practicing being in the right headspace with your partner, things could end up falling flat, especially if you are feeling extra pressure when trying to conceive. Try these 3 simple breathwork exercises to help you relax and recenter from leading mind coach, Manjit Devgun.
Taking Elix’s Daily Harmony formula is another one of my favorite ways to maintain balance while navigating life’s daily stressors. This clinical-strength herbal blend is fortified with adaptogens (herbs that support stress response), and is great for enhancing mood, improving focus, and easing the effects of stress on the mind and body— helping you to better harmonize with the ups and downs of daily life that can impact your sexual wellness.
Can Chinese Herbal Medicine still support my hormone health if I am on birth control?
Absolutely! You can definitely use herbal supplements like Elix to help support your body while taking birth control if it is your preferred method of contraception. Using a personalized herbal formula like Cycle Balance can minimize the side effects of synthetic hormones on your body, like low libido, acne, mood swings, and more, helping your body reach a state of balance. The herbs and adaptogens in our Cycle Balance formula are completely safe to take with birth control and will not affect the efficacy of the pill, patch, or implant.
Support your hormone health with herbs and adaptogens clinically proven to balance hormones, regulate your cycle, boost your mood, and reduce unwanted period symptoms. Click here to take our Health Assessment and discover the personalized blend recommended for your unique wellness journey.This article was reviewed by Dr. Elizabeth Fine.
, DAOM, LAcDr. Fine is currently the Dean of Clinical Education at Emperor’s College and has been practicing Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine for over 25 years, with a specialization in Women’s Reproductive Health.