“I find acupuncture extremely helpful with patients dealing with infertility, whether they are going through assisted reproductive procedures or just trying on their own,” says Dr. Mubina Jiwa, BSc., ND, Director of Essence of Health in Toronto, Ontario. “These days, many people are diagnosed with ‘unexplained infertility.’ Chinese medicine and acupuncture is very helpful in supporting and re-balancing the body.” ~ from Chinese Medicine for Fertility and Getting Pregnant.
These tips are from Dr Spence’s blog about Traditional Chinese Medicine and fertility; the link to the full article is at the end of this summary.
The two main treatment tools used by a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine are acupuncture and herbs. Maintaining and restoring balance is at the heart of diagnosis and treatment of TCM. TCM, unlike Western medicine, does not treat a kidney, lung, ovary or uterus; instead it addresses the energetic health underlying those organs, then gently facilitates the body’s own natural function by removing blockages both physically and emotionally so that the body’s wisdom (and fertility) is allowed to reveal itself.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Getting Pregnant
It is important to note that the growing popularity of acupuncture in the Western world, even amongst medical doctors, is because it is in fact not a drug (and therefore is not overriding biology), is minimally invasive, is effective for many conditions, and it is very safe when practiced by a competent licenced health practitioner.
Traditional Chinese Medicine relies upon the signs and symptoms the client reports combined with the doctor’s observation of the client during the initial and subsequent visits. When a woman comes to see a doctor at Traditional Chinese Medicine clinic like Yinstill, we begin by reviewing the extensive questionnaire intake she fills out online and submits in the days prior to her appointment. This gives us the foundation a diagnosis (patterns), but this theoretical diagnosis must be confirmed by the four pillars of Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis, used for thousands of years; 1. looking, 2. listening/smelling, 3. questioning, 4. palpation.
It’s also important to note that Traditional Chinese Medicine does not guarantee pregnancy. It’s a healthy, often effective way to try to get pregnant, but there are never any guarantees!
Traditional Chinese Medicine Herbs for Pregnancy
In China, the line between herbs and food is not quite so clear. Herbs are commonly added to soups and dishes for their medicinal qualities, not taste. The use of foods according to Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal principles intended to elicit a curative effect on the presenting condition, such as Living With Infertility. Simple principles are always used as an adjunct to medical therapy.
Yin deficiency – Avoid too much spicy food. Eat more mussel, lentil, lamb kidney, chicken, microalgae (chlorella, spirulina, wild blue-green), fish, liver, kidney, brain, bone marrow, human placenta, and cereal grasses, milk, ghee, nettles, royal jelly, beef, millet, wheat, black sesame seed, black soybeans, chestnuts, mulberries, raspberries, strawberries, and walnuts.
Yang deficiency – parsnip, parsley, mustard greens, winter squash, cabbage, kale, onion, leek, chive, garlic, scallion, cooked beans with ginger (e.g. black beans, lentils, aduki beans), oats, spelt, quinoa, sunflower seed, sesame seed, walnut, pine nut, chestnut, fennel, dill, anise, caraway, carob pod, cumin, Sweet brown rice (and its products, i.e. moshi), cherry, citrus peal, date, anchovy, mussel, trout, chicken, beef, lamb.
Before you start taking Traditional Chinese Medicine for pregnancy, make sure you undergo a health exam from a licensed health practitioner.
Qi deficiency – Avoid eating large portions. Eat more chia seed, congee, oats, quinoa, rice, beef, chicken, herring, lamb, mussel, shrimp, milk, sunflower seeds, sweet potato, watercress, winter squash.
Blood deficiency – Be sure to stay well hydrated. Eat more microalgae, sprouts, leafy greens, chlorophyll-rich foods, seaweed, spirulina, mochi with mugwort, royal jelly, gelatin, carp soup, muscles, oysters, the liver of beef, lamb, or chicken, chicken gizzard.
Damp – Avoid sweets and greasy foods. Reduce the amount of food eaten at one sitting. Limit raw food. Eat more lettuce, celery, turnip, rye, amaranth, aduki beans, wild blue-green micro-algae, asparagus, white pepper, alfalfa, pumpkin, vinegar, papaya.
These Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs for getting pregnant are effective for both men and women – but again, you must get a diagnosis from a licensed practitioner before you start taking herbs or supplements.
Blood Stasis – Tumeric, scallions, nutmeg, spearmint, chives, garlic, vinegar, basil, peach seed, weak, ginger, chestnuts, rosemary, cayenne, eggplant, white pepper, aduki beans, sweet rice.
Qi Stagnation – Eat more spearmint, rosemary, scallions, garlic and all onion family members, cinnamon bark and branch, clothes, fresh and dried ginger root, black pepper, all hot peppers, cayenne, fennel, anise, dill, mustard greens, horseradish, basil, nutmeg, peppermint, marjoram, elder flowers, white pepper, radish and its leaves, taro, turnip.
Heat – Avoid spicy and greasy foods. Stay well hydrated. Eat more apple, banana, pear, persimmon, cantaloupe, watermelon, tomato, all citrus, lettuce, radish, cucumber, celery, button mushrooms, asparagus, Swiss chard, eggplant, spinach, summer squash, Chinese cabbage, bock choy, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, zucchini, soy milk, soy sprouts, tofu, tempeh, mung beans and their sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, millet, barley, wheat and its products, amaranth, kelp and all seaweed, spirulina, wild blue-green, oyster-shell calcium, wheat and barley grass, kudzu, yogurt, crab, clam.
To learn more about Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs for getting pregnant, read How Increasing Blood Flow Improves Fertility.
Source: 10 Steps to Optimize Your Fertility by Dr. Spence Pentland of Yinstill Reproductive Wellness in Vancouver, BC, Canada. My husband went to Dr Spence when we were trying to get pregnant, but it Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs and acupuncture didn’t work for us. It works for many couples, though!