One cause of male infertility is a low sperm count. Usually inability to father a child is the only sign of a low sperm count, but if the decreased count is caused by a hormonal issue there can be other symptoms, including sexual function problems, according to the Mayo Clinic. An underlying state of poor health, stress or anxiety can contribute to low sperm count. Men seeking a boost in sperm production can try several herbs that are reputed to help.
Maca has been used for centuries in Peru to boost semen volume, according to “Natural Healing Wisdom and Know How,” by Amy Rost. This herb increases semen volume as well as sperm motility, count and quality. Black maca has the best effect on sperm production, while yellow maca produces only moderate results. Red maca does not stimulate sperm production, according to an article in the December, 2009 edition of the Swiss complementary therapy journal “Forschende Komplementärmedizin” by G.F. Gonzales. This herb also increases fertility in women, advises Rost.
Horny Goat Weed
Horny goat weed can increase sperm volume and also is reputed to raise testosterone levels and stimulate a man’s sensory nerves, thus serving as an aphrodisiac, according to Rost. This herb traditionally has been used to treat impotence. A study of the extract from horny goat weed published in the February 2010 issue of the "Journal of Sexual Medicine" did find positive effects on male sexual function on the rats tested in the study, according to lead author A.W. Shindel.
Gokshura, also called ji li or tribulus terrestris, is a Chinese herb that stimulates sperm production thanks to its steroidal saponin content, according to Rost. This herb also is reputed to improve sperm’s survival time, motility and quality. Indeed, a study published in the January, 2010, "Journal of Ethnopharmacology" found that this herb did lead to increased sperm production in rats, according to the study’s lead author, A.J. Martino-Andrade.
- “Natural Healing Wisdom and Know How;” by Amy Rost; 2009; page 90
- Pubmed.gov: “Journal of Ethnopharmacology;” Effects of Tribulus terrestris on endocrine sensitive organs in male and female Wistar rats; A.J. Martino-Andrade, et. al; January, 2010
- Pubmed.gov: “Journal of Sexual Medicine;” Erectogenic and Neurotrophic Effects of Icariin, a Purified Extract of Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium spp.) In Vitro and In Vivo; A.W. Shindel et. al.; February, 2010
Linda Tarr Kent is a reporter and editor with more than 20 years experience at Gannett Company Inc., The McClatchy Company, Sound Publishing Inc., Mach Publishing, MomFit The Movement and other companies. Her area of expertise is health and fitness. She is a Bosu fitness and stand-up paddle surfing instructor. Kent holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Washington State University.