Can’t bear downing any more bitter TCM potions to improve your conception chances? Ask your doc about natural tonics instead.

For any couple, running into fertility problems can put a real damper on your baby-making efforts. Besides having to put up with multiple rounds of fertility treatment, the mounting bills can also take a toll on your relationship.

You and your spouse may want to consider alternative treatments like Traditional Chinese Medicine. However, some couples may find it a pain to have to keep preparing and consuming bitter herbal soups. If so, you may wish to consider taking Western herbs.

That said, be warned that National University Hospital senior pharmacist Ng Pit Wei has this advice. “If you have any doubt, you may want to consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal supplements.” Make sure to also consume the product as directed by your doctor or follow the instructions on the bottle.


Make sure to also consume the product as directed by your doctor or follow the instructions on the bottle.

Ng suggests that you check important information on the herbal supplements before purchasing. These include:

* The amount of active ingredients the product contains. And whether these are within the acceptable range of trusted medical sources.
* Can you still take the herb although you have a pre-existing health condition?
* Will consuming it cause any harmful interactions with the meds you’re currently taking?
* The production and expiry dates of the supplement.

You may want to ask your doc if the following herbal remedies are suitable for you, even if you are buying them from a reputable source…

For women

1) Black cohosh A member of the buttercup family, this is used to treat menstrual issues such as painful periods, as well as control menopause symptoms. The chemicals seem to produce the same effects as female hormone oestrogen, which is crucial for a healthy pregnancy.

2) Chasteberry The fruit extract stimulates the functions of the pituitary gland, which produces and regulates progesterone levels in your body. Low levels of progesterone in the body usually means a higher risk of miscarriage.

3) Evening primrose oil A well-known health supplement for women, the oil extracted from the evening primrose plant is rich in essential fatty acids said to enhance your well-being. The oil can lower your risk of high cholesterol, heart disease and obesity, which have a negative impact on your fertility. However, stop taking the supplement once you are pregnant as it may trigger premature labour.

4) Motherwort An over-active thyroid or hyperthyroidism can compromise your chances of conceiving by causing infrequent periods — a condition that can be treated by consuming motherwort. This herb has been observed to cause blood thinning, so stop taking it once you’ve conceived as you may harm your foetus.

12 fertility boosting herbs to try2

5) False unicorn It is said to be able to stimulate the uterus, treat ovarian cysts and menstrual problems. Others take the herb to balance their hormones after stopping their birth control. (Photo: Phyzome/Wikipedia)

6) Red clover Great for cancer prevention, treating high cholesterol and even sexually transmitted diseases. Some women also use this supplement to cope with terrible premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms.

7) Red raspberry leaf If you’re experiencing painful and heavy periods, these leaves are known to be effective in providing relief. Some pregnant mums-to-be continue to consume it as it helps them manage morning sickness, prevent miscarriage and ease labour and delivery.

For men

8) Saw palmetto It helps to manage symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate, such as difficulty in passing urine or frequent urination. It’s also effective in treating certain kinds of prostate infections including prostate cancer.

9) Stinging nettle Besides treating enlarged prostate issues, it’s also used for curing urinary tract infections. Some parts of the plant are also believed to boost your body’s poor circulation as well as treat diabetes, which can affect your fertility.

For both men and women

12 fertility boosting herbs to try3

10) Ashwagandha Often described in Indian and Ayurvedic medicine as “Indian ginseng”, it has aphrodisiac properties. The herb is also widely used as a general health tonic to improve the mental faculties and fight the signs of ageing. (Photo: wowbobwow12/Wikipedia)

11) Milk thistle It treats issues related to an enlarged prostate in men and uterine and menstrual issues in women. The plant also seems to have antioxidant effects ― it’s great for general well-being as it helps the body fight inflammation.

12) Wild yam It contains the chemical, disogenin, which is processed in labs to make oestrogen. For this reason, this root is often touted as the natural alternative to oestrogen therapy. Wild or Chinese yam extracts are also used to treat vaginal dryness in older women, PMS and menstrual cramps. It can also be taken to enhance your sex drive and boost energy levels.

Main photo: iStock

Like us on Facebook and check SmartParents regularly for the latest reads!

Elsewhere on…

6 shocking IVF mix-ups from around the world [Photo Gallery]

MUM SAYS If I could turn back time, I wouldn’t have had kids

Can’t conceive? 4 other ways to become a parent