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To make sense of most of this erectile dysfunction or erection difficulty treatment page you need to know which Chinese medicine syndromes are causing your erectile dysfunction. Click on erectile dysfunction to find out!
Let’s not spend too long on Good Food! You don’t need me to tell you what is good. At least, if you’ve read our page on Erectile Dysfunction you probably already know what you SHOULD be eating.
If not, it’s high time your read our page on Nutrition, for a start!
But just to be clear, many men with erectile dysfunction can transform their sexual prowess and general health (leading to reduced times off sick and feeling tired) by improving their diet. It can be that simple. (Though I admit, cost, ingrained habits and peer pressure can inhibit change.)
The VITAL idea is that a little and often makes all the differene. You’ll read about things to avoid and things to do. For example, it’s what you do regularly, every day, that matters.
Bearing that in mind, before looking at which supplements may help which syndrome, let’s briefly consider the effects of Junk Food!
No, not just fat, salt and sugar! Of course, too much of these is not good, everyone agrees.
The June 12th 2021 edition of New Scientist carried an article on what Junk food does to you. First they looked at four categories of food, ranging from unprocessed and minimally processed food up to what they describe as ‘ultra’-processed food. They took a group of people and fed them ultra-processed food for two weeks, then switched them to a diet based on unprocessed /wholefood. Each diet had the same proportions of fat, protein, sugar, salt and fibre.
Guess what? On the ultra-processed diet participants gained 0.9k weight whereas on the ‘wholefood’ diet they each lost the same amount. And on both diets they could eat as much as they wanted. The amount actually eaten on the ultra-processed diet was more than on the wholefood diet.
Of course, the ultra-processed food was more concentrated. The wholefood diet has vegetables full of water and fibre, unlike (ultra-processed) chicken nuggets and crisps which contain salt and sugar, and much less moisture, that make you want more. So people on the ultra-processed food easily put on weight, leading to obesity which can be a cause of erectile dysfunction. (I suggest you look the article up – this is just a summary!)
So wholefoods, ie not ultra-processed, are less concentrated and contain more water, naturally. It turns out that non-junk diet (ie the ‘wholefood diet’) feeds the good bugs in your inside while the ultra-processed diet doesn’t, and in fact the latter causes inflammation, disturbing how well you absorb food. That means you have lower levels of energy, and less Qi (to understand Qi click here) means weaker erections.
What I get from this is that poor diets are more concentrated and contain not just the wrong foodstuffs, but also contain less water. Junk foods are ‘dry’ foods. For health, you need ‘wet’ foods. Wet foods are naturally closer to their origins. They naturally contain moisture.
Blood contains moisture! Give yourself food that, as you digest it, absorbs both the nutrients and the moisture together. This is not quite the same as swallowing glasses of water while eating ‘dry’ foods because Chinese medicine believes your body evolved to absorb water through the food you eat, not alongside it. (By the way, that does not mean you shouldn’t drink water with meals, although it’s thought better to drink later).
The same goes for supplements! Supplements are concentrated and ‘dry’. You can’t get these supplements in a wet form, unless you go back to the original foods from which they were made – assuming they were natural foods!
So with supplements you must – ideally – chew them up, swallowing the powder with warm water. If it’s a capsule containing a liquid like an oil, take it with water, (warm water), which may help the capsule dissolve more easily and then help the oils or fats to circulate more freely over the walls of the small intestines through which nutrients are absorbed.
If it contains powder take it with lots of warm water to help dissolve the powder, making it easier in its ‘wet’ form to be absorbed.
And if it’s a tablet made of compressed powder, it’s best to chew it up and swallow with warm water. (Very occasionally they now make tablets which are coated with something to protect them from dissolving in your stomach, so don’t chew these – but still take them with plenty of warm water. Check the directions for this.)
If you are in the habit of swallowing supplement tablets with just a mouthful of water to swill them down, you could be wasting your money! Why? Because you could be swallowing a rugby ball and ejecting a football!
That’s no kind of useful erectile dysfunction treatment!
Instead, chew them up with water and wash them down with more water. Properly dissolved in water, your body can then extract far more nourishment than from a concentrated nugget of compressed powder as it tumbles past.
Take supplements with water. Otherwise, your body will, in effect, use moisture from its own reserves to digest them: this reduces the moisture available for erections!
Looking through the different syndromes (for explanations see erectile dysfunction), there are many with yin deficiency or blood deficiency, and a few with a form of yang deficiency. Some are a mixture of both.
Most books and sites I’ve seen suggest a collection of supplements without differentiating between them this way.
You can spend a lot of money on the wrong supplements!
Where you see the word ‘Kidney’ in a syndrome, it signifies a more chronic condition. This usually takes longer to treat, and for older people or those seriously drained by long-term or chronic disease, no complete cure may be possible.
In these situations, the ancient Chinese advised less frequent attempts to ejaculate. Ejaculations dissipate jing-essence which you need for healthy longevity.
When young you normally have more than enough jing-essence reserves to ejaculate many times per day/night, but as you grow older, both libido and resources dwindle.
For your general health, Chinese medicine then suggests forbearance and less frequency.
However, as you’ll read on our page on Male Infertility, if you want to provide healthy, able and energetic sperm for your partner, you should ejaculate every 3 – 5 days to ensure that they aren’t queued behind a lot of doddering old fools. So it may be a balancing act.
Where the word ‘Blood’ is in a syndrome, supplements may work faster, so long as you take care to deal with the situations which caused the syndrome for you.
If you make no attempt to change the underlying causes of your syndrome, the supplement may help a bit, but you’ll fall back: you’ll relapse!
Also, this takes time. You need to take the right supplements and make the right adjustments to your life. But nothing will solve your problem overnight. (If it does, it’s not because of the supplement but because, probably, the problem was in your mind.) To maintain the results, you need to back it up with the right food, the right supplements, and the right life adjustments.
Although both herbs and many supplements come from plants they work in very different ways. It’s important to understand the difference.
Supplements aim to replace something missing or depleted in your diet. The thinking is that health problems occur because of dietary deficiency. In other words, were you able to eat the perfect diet (perfect, that is, for YOUR needs) you would have no health problems, assuming you have the perfect digestion of course! For more, read our page on Supplements.
Herbal treatments aim to change the way your body works.
In Chinese medicine, treatment usually treats syndromes which are patterns of ill-health that occur when the body’s main systems (zang-fu) mis-function. Knowing what the zang-fu do when healthy enables one to diagnose what happens when they go ‘wrong’ – the pattern of complaints that diagnose a ‘syndrome’.
In Chinese herbal medicine there are usually one or more herbs that treat the main syndrome and others that support its action, while still others balance out any over-reaction. For example, if you take herbs for yin deficiency, you might also need herbs to help support your yang in case it got overwhelmed by the strength of the yin herbs.
In the same way, acupuncture treatment might aim to reset the way your body works, but include various acupuncture points to keep you in balance while your body readjusts.
So Chinese medical treatment aims to change the way your body works. As your body starts functioning the way it should it then needs the right foods – and possibly supplements – to work towards its point of greatest health and potential.
When back to proper functioning, the system should not need further herbal treatment.
Indeed, continuing to take the herbal prescription might produce other undesirable syndromes.
For example, if originally your metabolism was slow, making you always feel cold, you might take a herbal prescription to teach your body to provide more yang, more warmth.
But once your circulation had returned to normal, it would be undesirable to continue to take warming herbs, which might give you signs of yang excess. Click on that link to see why that might be a bad idea! Lots of people take yang herbs like ginseng – renshen – in the mistaken belief that this will improve their health and energy: but it won’t if it leads to yang excess.
But, even with their metabolism working properly, some people might still need supplements, depending on their individual needs.
Just a note on Western Medicine! There are various types of medicine, for example:
Often medication is subsequently found to have side-effects which other medicines are needed to control.
Because many Western medicine’s medications suppress the body’s symptoms which, at least until you die, are what your inherited genes have designed it to produce, many drugs are needed indefinitely and often in increasing quantities as time goes by.
Very broadly, Western medication aims to stop symptoms getting worse, while Chinese medicine aims to get your system working better so it needs less (Western) medication.
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Note: concerning the amount to take, read the directions on the packet!
When designing a herbal prescription in Chinese medicine, practitioners rely on their knowledge of the inherited knowhow about a herb and its energetic actions, how it works with other herbs and how to manage it for best effect. Treating any side-effects is part of the prescription.
Put simply, herbs and acupuncture reset your system, while supplements nourish it.
And don’t forget to drink plenty of water (warm, not chilled) outside meal times. Blood is 80% water, so without it, your erections will lack lustre.
Water is yin, so helps reduce yin deficiency. However, too much is counter-productive as it can overstrain your Kidney Yang.
Drink enough to keep your urine either clear or just slightly yellow. (Which, I admit, is hard to judge if taking lots of colourful vitamins, including B vitamins.)
But water is an important form of your erection difficulty treatment.
Foods traditionally recommended by Chinese medicine for erectile deficiency from Liver Blood deficiency include beets, many kinds of highly-coloured fruit (for example blackberry, cherry, grape, mulberry), lobster, cuttlefish and crayfish (but preferably don’t go for these somewhat endangered species), plus spinach!
Here your problems are, first, cold or a lack of warmth, and secondly lack of energy and thirdly lack of moisture.
Kidney yang energy also assists your digestion, so how and what you eat is important.
For erection difficulty treatment, which foods and supplements help and which don’t? Here’s advice from Chinese medicine.
Heart and Kidney not harmonised with qi deficiency described a syndrome usually of our own making. Which means, we can do something about it!