Powerful Herbs in TCM for Women's Health
Updated: Mar 9
The use of herbs for women’s health in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) dates as far back as 1000 BC. TCM doctors recognized long ago that the needs for female and male health differed. Our bodies are made of five fundamental substances- spirit, qi (energy), blood, body fluids and essence. Blood is considered the root of the female body. Maintaining adequate blood levels and ensuring the smooth flow of blood is of particular importance for women's health in TCM. What herbs in TCM help support women throughout the different stages of their lives? Here are a few commonly used ones.
A powerful herb in TCM is Bai Shao, more commonly known as the White Peony Root. Bai Shao nourishes blood and regulates menstruation. As young girls enter adolescence, their nutritional needs must support their energy levels, physiological and hormonal changes and prevent poor health in adulthood. Bai shao nourishes the liver, the organ responsible in TCM for storing blood. Bai shao is commonly used in formulas to alleviate symptoms of blood deficiencies; symptoms that may include dizziness, paleness and brittle nails.
XI YANG SHEN
Xi yang shen or Canadian/American ginseng is also very popular in TCM for its healing properties. Xi yang shen gently boosts qi while nourishing body fluids and yin. It is used for a wide variety of diseases in TCM. The nutritional needs for adult women must support their reproductive and working years. Women need adequate blood and qi to maintain good health. Canadian ginseng alleviates fatigue. Although it is not as strong to boost energy as other forms of ginseng, its ability to nourish fluids and yin makes it a good herbal choice for women.
GOU QI ZI
Known as the longevity berry or the wolf berry, gou qi zi nourishes yin. In particular it nourishes the yin of the liver, kidney and lungs. In the body, yin nourishes dryness. Women are generally more susceptible to dryness than men because of their menses. Women experiencing menopause suffer from dryness and heat spells as their yin substances weaken due to aging. Yin deficiency symptoms include feelings of excessive warmth during the night, dizziness and irritability. The wolf berry is an excellent supplement for individuals who need a mild tonic that can be used for prolonged periods of time. Gou qi zi is also associated with increased immunity.
HE SHOU WU
He shou wu, fo-ti root or the fleece flower root tonifies blood and essence. Essence is one of the fundamental substances of our body that weakens as we age. In elderly women essence is exhausted. Fo-ti is a popular addition to Chinese herbal formulas because of its antiaging qualities. He shou wu translated means "black haired Mr. He". It is commonly used to improve deficiencies in both women and men that lead to early graying. He shou wu also helps reduce cholesterol and increase immunity. It is an excellent choice for females over 60 as it has the ability to increase life expectancy.
Chinese herbal medicine has much to offer women in today's world. TCM herbs can support women’s health throughout their entire lives. For best results herbs are normally combined in TCM. It is a must to consult with your DTCM and general health care practitioner before supplementing with these powerful herbs. Have a Happy Women’s International Day!