Reposted with permission from Chinese Medicine Healthcare Magazine, Issue 78, pg. 68-69. Nov. 2015 (excerpted and loosely translated by Yvonne Lau, edited by Laura Stropes, L.Ac.)
Women are infertile for many reasons. Although many have significant Kidney deficiency or other etiologies, a large percentage of infertility cases are actually due to mental depression causing longstanding Liver Qi stagnation. In a medical book written by the famous Qing Dynasty doctor Fu Qingzhu, case histories were presented of women who were unable to conceive because of mental depression leading to Liver Qi stagnation and ultimately affecting the Chong and Ren Mai. Bai Shao, Xiang Fu, Dang Gui and other herbs in “Relieve Depression and Plant Jade Decoction” are known to be very effective to address this problem:
Modern women are tense. It can be difficult to find a balance between taking care of family and career. The pressures of everyday life can lead to stress and may strongly affect fertility. In traditional Chinese medicine, excessive tension, depression, anxiety, frustration, anger and other negative emotions can lead to Liver Qi stagnation. Long-term Liver Qi stagnation can lead to the inability to release pent-up emotional tension, which in turn leads to the poor circulation of Qi and Blood, and disturbance of the Chong and Ren Mai, which may result in infertility. “Relieve Depression and Plant Jade Decoction” is a foundational formula to treat women with infertility due to Liver Qi stagnation, functioning to soothe the Liver, dispel melancholy, regulate menstruation, and increase fertility.
Qing Dynasty doctor Fu Qingzhu’s treatise Fu Qingzhu on Gynecology describes “jealous infertility”, whereby women who are close-hearted and often jealous of others suffer depressed moods and infertility. According to Fu Qingzhu, the “Happiness Pulse” attributed to pregnant women means a smooth Heart pulse, a calm Spleen pulse, and a large, vigorous Kidney pulse. If the Heart, Spleen and Kidney pulses are subdued, conception is not possible. Depression of these three pulses leads to Liver Qi stagnation, which further subdues the Heart and Kidney pulses causing long-term emotional discomfort, affecting health and making pregnancy more difficult. Fu Qingzhu’s “Relieve Depression and Plant Jade Decoction” can relieve depression to create the optimal emotional and physical conditions for pregnancy .
Signs of Liver Qi stagnation caused infertility include the inability to become pregnant after a year of trying to conceive, irregular menstrual cycle, irregular menstrual flow, dark colored menstrual blood or blood clots, premenstrual swollen and tender breasts, mental depression or irritability. In “Relieve Depression and Plant Jade Decoction,” Bai Shao, Xiang Fu, Dang Gui, Bai Zhu, Mu Dan Pi, Fu Ling and Tian Hua Fen work together to soothe the Liver, dispel melancholy, nourish the Blood and harmonize the Spleen. This formula treats both Liver and Spleen, harmonizes Qi and Blood, alleviates melancholy, and thus increases fertility. For patients with very swollen breasts, remove the Bai Zhu to prevent blockage and substitute Mei Gui Hua and Qing Pi to increase the Qi regulating properties. During cycles when breast swelling causes significant pain, add Wang Bu Liu Xing and Lu Lu Tong to strongly open the meridians.