Fertility & Infertility

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Finding a good herbalist

Fertility is an area that has been worked in particularly extensively and herbal medicines can clearly make an enormously positive difference, it has been wonderful to have seen a great many successful outcomes over the years.

Much of what's written in this article is entirely suitable for a person to work through themselves but, especially if things are quite bad, or you just know that you need further help, then there may be a great deal of benefit to you to go to whatever lengths necessary to find a good herbalist or truly holistic practitioner to guide you on to a safe and strong treatment program. There's a short write-up to suggest how you might go about finding such a person here

Safety Note

There is a lot, and I really mean a lot, of misinformation about herbs and health on the internet, especially in relation to things being safe or unsafe.

For many thousands of years, our herbalists' traditions have been following the rule of 'firstly, do no harm', in particular, the herbs that we use for fertility are exceptionally safe. Safe to conceive whilst taking them and safe to take in the early stages of pregnancy.

For the woman who is also using pharmaceutical treatments for fertility, everything described below is also entirely safe to use alongside any drug therapies, or before using them, or after having used them in the past.

What should he do?

Overall health

If a couple have been trying to conceive for some time and nothing is happening then, ideally, the man should have an honest look at his overall level of health with an equal sense of care and responsibility to that of his partner.

However, here we come to the first hurdle because it is an unfortunate fact that many men are famously bad at doing anything pro-active about their health until they actually get something going badly wrong!

Fertility is a special subject, you don't need to be sick or to have any kind of symptoms for things to not be working optimally. An assessment of his health must measure sperm health but should also take into account such key areas as nutrition, fitness and work/life balance.

Sperm health

Men must get a comprehensive sperm test done, which brings us to the second hurdle because many men are highly averse to this process. Partly, this is because something very private is being made public, partly it's because, perhaps subconsciously, he may feel that a key aspect of his masculinity is being questioned!

Nevertheless, it must be done and, once the results are in, one of two things will happen

1) you get a good result, in which case all men feel very happy indeed about this, and tend to get back to their one truly essential contribution to the process with renewed enthusiasm.

2) you get a bad result, in which case we now have the vital 'before' numbers that can be measured against an 'after' test once certain, highly likely to help, steps have been taken.

actual image (electron microscope) of sperm meeting egg


What to do if Sperm health is bad

If any of the numbers; the count, the speed, or particularly the shape of the sperm, are bad, then it can be stated with certainty that the first action to take is to do a thorough cleanse of the whole system.

Men with poor sperm results always show signs of excess toxicity and many practitioners and scientists are sure that environmental toxins etc. are the leading reason for the great decline in sperm health all around the world in the last three generations.


Cleansing is an important subject but one that has many myths and misinformation. If needed, read the article called 'what is detoxification' found here


Herbs for men's fertility

It is perfectly ok to start taking a fertility tonic at the same time as doing a cleansing program with herbs, diet etc. Cleansing may take as little as a month, or as much as three months. As talked about in the article linked above, you must listen to how the body feels and look for the tell-tale signs on the skin, tongue etc. to know how long to go on.

Fertility tonic herbs can be used for as long as necessary, which ideally is of course when the desired result has been achieved! In the view of this herbalist, there are four herbal allies that work particularly well for male fertility. We typically use all four, in substantial doses, all at the same time!


Damiana was historically renowned as an aphrodisiac but nowadays we think that it is its general tonic effects that make it so valuable in a fertility tonic, more about it here

St John's wort

St John's has been heavily marketed as a natural anti-depressant, but its widespread tonic effects are at least as important for the body as for the mind, more here

Panax Ginseng

Panax is the famous 'Emperor tonic' of Chinese medicine, there can be no doubt that it significantly improves male libido, fertility and sperm health. Panax is a precious herb so it is widely counterfeited or adulterated, you must be careful to get the real thing, more here


Withania is as equally revered in the ancient Ayurvedic system as Ginseng is in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is a certain support to both energy and fertility for anyone who needs it; more here

Withania somnifera (Ashwaganda)


Sample Formula

In each individual case, we will always tailor-make the treatment to account for their particular needs so, purely by way of example to demonstrate doses and proportions, a male fertility tonic could look like this

Damiana 80mls
St John's wort 120mls
Panax Ginseng 80mls
Withania 200mls
Licorice root 60mls

To make 540mls, which will fit neatly into a 500ml amber bottle. Licorice has numerous therapeutic benefits in its own right, it is included here to help blend the other herbs and make the mixture palatable and easy to take each day.

Dosage is absolutely critical to the success of all forms of medicine, especially herbal! We make our own tinctures from raw material, so these amounts are again only by way of example. For a man who showed quite poor sperm health I would freely use 10mls twice a day for a full three months before re-testing. These are, no doubt, high doses but they are perfectly safe and note that it would be quite normal to also use additional cleansing or herbs in tea or capsule form at the same time as using the fertility herbs.

Panax ginseng (Ginseng root)


Nutritional Medicines

Eating foods rich in vitamin C and Zinc can be broadly recommended to help improve sperm health and male fertility. Further to that, especially if there is a lot of damaged sperm with poor morphology, there is a case to use these nutrients as supplements for two or three months to rapidly correct any deficiencies. Safe and effective doses would be up to 30mg a day of elemental zinc and up to 2 or 3 grams a day of a buffered vitamin C.

You may already be aware of the 'natural fertility' market and how it usually focuses on using extremely extensive and expensive courses of nutritional supplements, along with some herbs. We have not found it necessary to go to those kinds of lengths to get excellent results...


Before and After Tests

Typically, we do a test before starting treatment and then again after three months. As it happens, so far, we have not yet had a single case where there was not a marked, usually striking improvement, in the before and after sperm tests over those three months. It's great for everyone to see the before and after results clearly laid out in black and white.

typical example of a before & after test (morphology = size & shape)


What should she do?

There is a lot of overlap in the general approach to men and women with fertility in that it is usual to recommend a strong cleanse to the woman along with, and then followed by, some of the great female fertility tonics.

Key differences are that we don't have the exact numbers of a sperm sample to compare against, so we have to go by looking at her skin, eyes and tongue to see if cleansing in particular needs to be a priority.


Again, cleansing is a very important subject in herbal medicine that needs to be approached with common sense and care, more here

Juniperus communis (a key cleansing herb)


Women's health issues

Over half of the women who come for help with fertility do not have any obvious gynaecological reason why things are not happening as they should.

That's ok, you don't need to be sick to take herbs and many women respond perfectly well to the fertility tonics with us never being any the wiser as to what was wrong in the first place.

That said, if there is an issue, such as one of those linked below, it is recommended to use a natural approach to helping treat the condition at the same time as using some fertility tonics.


Endometriosis is a major problem for many women and clearly a leading cause of infertility, more here


If you have PCOS, you also will have the metabolic syndrome and treating that will the PCOS more than anything, read more here

Premenstrual Syndrome

It is entirely plausible that the same hormonal imbalances that cause PMS can be negatively affecting fertility at the same time, more here

Painful periods

Whatever causes painful periods may also be contributing to problems with fertility and it is reasonable to anticipate that helping the one could help the other, more here


Herbs for women's fertility

Any woman who wants to conceive should use herbal fertility tonics. We usually start with at least some of these herbs right away, even if we are taking other steps at the same time.

If you look back into the long history of humanity and how it was interwoven with herbal medicines, you will see that, in all the old traditions, the fertility tonics were some of the most revered of all medicines. The reason for this will be abundantly clear to anyone who has wanted a baby for any length of time, this subject is as close as life itself.

Some of the best fertility herbs for women include:

Dong Quai

Dong Quai can be exceptionally good for the woman who has become depleted, it builds the blood and internal 'juices' to help the body grow and nourish new life; more here


Withania was also highlighted as a key fertility tonic for men but It is equally valuable for women and is particularly helpful when a key issue is the need to lift vitality, more here

Raspberry Leaf

Raspberry leaf is much more than a pregnancy tonic, it has a potent tonic action for the uterus that can help prepare it for pregnancy too, more here

Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh has been exclusively identified as a 'menopause herb'. but it is so much more than this. When it is the right herb for the right woman, which is something that can take some careful working out, its effects on enhancing fertility can be incredible, more here


Also known as Chaste tree; I couldn't imagine treating women for fertility without Vitex. It's not for everyone but, when it is the right herb for the right woman, it has clearly been a key part of the reason we have quickly had a successful result, a detailed write up on this remarkable ally here

Vitex agnus-castus (Chaste tree)


Sample Formula

As mentioned in the sample formula given for men, In each individual case, we will always tailor-make the treatment to account for their particular needs so, purely by way of example to demonstrate doses and proportions, a woman's fertility tonic could look like something like this

Dong Quai 200mls
Withania 160mls
Raspberry leaf 120mls
Licorice root 60mls

To make 540mls, which will comfortably fit into a 500ml 'amber pharm round' bottle. A typical dose could be 10mls once a day. In addition to this tonic I would be likely to add either;

Black Cohosh 100mls
2 or 3 mls, once a day in the morning or

Vitex 50mls
1 or 2 mls, once a day in the morning or

Black Cohosh 50mls - 2 mls each am for first two weeks of cycle
Vitex 50mls - 2 mls each am from day 14 until period begins

This last method can be helpful when infertility is combined with a very irregular cycle. You take the 2 mls of Black Cohosh once a day in the morning for two weeks, starting on the first day of the menstrual cycle, then you switch to the Vitex on day 15 and again take 2 mls once a day in the morning until the period begins, however long that takes.

Note that all three of the above treatments are likely to have some potent effects on the woman's whole hormonal system and you must be prepared not to judge them too quickly but rather to be like a scientist, observing the effects of the herbs for at least 2 cycles to be able to identity the consistent patterns of change that they bring about.

Studying the articles on both Black Cohosh and Vitex will help and, if you are able to, bring an open mind and heart to the ancient art of pulse testing to get started, this subject is written up in detail here

Cimicifuga racemosa (Black Cohosh)


Constitutional Health Note:

Finally, you might benefit from learning about your constitution to know what kind of foods, herbs, exercises etc. will work especially well for your health in general.

Constitutional health is an old and fascinating way of understanding our differences. There's a brief introduction here and a more detailed section on working out which constitution you are here

Please understand that I cannot personally advise you without seeing you in my clinic.
This living 'book' is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!




© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd