Get ready for love this V-Day with some TCM boosters

Get ready for love this V-Day with some TCM boosters

With love's special day approaching we tap TCM expert He Yumin for some traditional Chinese tips
reishi mushroom aphrodisiac
Spice it up with some natural boosters such as the reishi mushroom.

It’s the male nightmare to end all nightmares. And a few fantasies too. Still a hush-hush topic in many households and boudoirs, the dreaded yang wei (erectile dysfunction/ED/male impotence) and overall libido gone limp is more common than you think. 

Renowned traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) specialist Doctor He Yumin, author of more than 30 books and head professor at the prestigious Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, says there’s no shame in the issue. “TCM remedies [for yang wei] have existed for centuries,” he explains. “And barring extreme cases, can be easily remedied. Nowadays, the majority of diseases and conditions including ED are caused by bad living habits.” 

Velvet deer antlers have been known for years to have the highest degrees of efficacy [with respect to treating ED]— Doctor He Yumin

It's no surprise that today’s stressful, fast-paced life is named as chief culprit. Add to that poor diet, and a slew of other physiological and psychosomatic problems including alcoholism, depression, perfectionism and even sexual ‘fatigue’ (is this really a medical problem?), and it’s no wonder that yang wei can strike even the young and healthy. 

The root of all passion: the kidney

The root of your sexual mojo might surprise you. It’s your kidneys, according to Chinese lore. These bean-shaped wonders are sophisticated recycling machines that deserve your respect, if for no other reason than to restore your love life.

“TCM believes the kidneys are the seed of the body’s yin and yang, that is, the seed of energy for all organs, which includes sexual function and reproduction,” says He.

The jing, or the ‘essence’ stored in the kidneys is key to both performance and libido. As with everything in TCM, it’s all about balance and too much or not enough is where problems begin. While genetics play a large role, you can still fight half the battle with diet and a course of kidney-nourishing TCM.

Bottom line: Keep those kidneys tip top and your love life will start looking up. 

Dr He with a patientDr He evaluates a patient. Is he coming in for a pre-Valentine's day kidney tune-up?

Make your beans work for you

He recommends starting simple when looking to improve kidney function. Remove anything that’s not working in your life, like unnecessary stress, and big no no’s like excessive smoking and drinking.

Following TCM’s core emphasis on food as medicine, other dietary additions to your shopping list can, over time, spice up more than your palate. He recommends adding nuts, ginseng, pollen, spores, leeks, dried shrimps and oysters to your diet to help get that libido moving. It’s good to know that the after-effects of a meal on the half-shell rings true in both hemispheres. 

Getting serious with TCM

If you’re feeling adventurous and less patient, He suggests some of TCM’s most potent aphrodisiac ingredients with classic TCM ‘dual effect’ for restoring overall health and vitality.

But before whispering these across the counter, be smart and first consult your local TCM doc to find your personal ideal mix. As a holistic discipline focusing on the individual (think mind, body and spirit), results can be extraordinarily quick if you choose the right remedy for your body composition. 

Deer antler (鹿茸, lu rong)

Harvested from young stags entering mating season (testosterone overload), this tonic has earned a top TCM reputation curing a variety of male and female ailments over centuries. “Velvet deer antlers have been known for years to have the highest degrees of efficacy,” adds He.

Often prepared jerky-style with different grades of quality and price tags (much like a Saturday night pub crawl), these burgeoning icons of manhood carry impressively quick side effects to put the jump back in your shaolin monk. 

Nowadays, the majority of diseases and conditions including ED are caused by bad living habits.— Doctor He Yumin

Ling zhi or Reishi mushrooms (灵芝, ling zhi)

Already quite common in many mainland dishes, it might be time to up the portions on these ‘magic kidney mushrooms’ -- renowned for helping with sexual function, increased libido and putting your swimmers into overtime (increased fertility). 

Their popularity has spread to the West with some high-profile yet controversial endorsements from the porn movie industry. 

Ox and Goat Penis (牛鞭, niubian)

Cringe if you must, but these alpha appendages have been known to give that little blue pill a run for its money according to Dr He. That said, don’t just go for any male appendages. Tiger penis, regardless of its reputation and continual demand, has led to over-poaching and near extinction. Just say no!

Let your fingers do the walking

Minds out of the gutter please.

Rubbing your ‘guan yuan xue’ -- the meridian point three fingers below the belly button in a clockwise direction (at least 10 minutes each time) is a popular option for non-acupuncture fans as another TCM ED cure. This D.I.Y. tummy rub, if done regularly, is best with a spot of heat (a slice of ginger is good) and could have you back to hitting home runs in no time. 

Tip: Desk seat crunches are one thing, but this is probably not one for the office.

For more information on Dr He Yumin and his TCM company Minsheng Health, see his website for more information (Chinese only)
Stephanie Thomas is a freelance writer of all trades based in Shanghai.
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