Yin Deficiency to Vitality: The Role of Maca, Epimedium, Tribulus, & Goji Berry
One of the most fundamental aspects of Traditional Medicine is the concept of yin and yang. They are opposite but complementary forces that are essential in balance for optimal health. Too much or too little of either one can create problems in the body.
The literal translation of yin is “the shady side of the hill.” It is the cooling, moistening, restful, and feminine aspect of health. It is also too often neglected, though, in modern life.
What is Yin Deficiency?
Most people live hectic, high-stress lifestyles. However, a lack of rest can starve the yin side of life. To compensate, a deficiency in yin can develop. The body tried to make up for a busy lifestyle with fake energy. It is referred to as an “empty heat” by TCM practitioners because it lacks the cooling aspects of yin. A yin deficiency can cause a wide variety of issues, including:
- Heart palpitations
- Hormonal imbalance
- Poor memory
- Dry cough
- Lack of desire
Although a yin deficiency can strike at any time during life, it becomes even more likely as we age. It can also affect both men and women.
How Herbs Can Help
It is not always possible to live a balanced life to keep yin deficiency at bay. Between demanding jobs, family responsibilities, bills, health issues, and all of the demands of modern life, most people do not have time for the rest they need to strengthen their yin.
That is where herbs can help. Herbs can help strengthen the yin and bring the body back into balance. In TCM, they are used to provide yin energy in the form of an adaptogenic system. This means that it brings our bodies back into balance, either by raising or lowering yin, depending on our needs.
Yin herbs will cool, moisten, and relax the body, which allows us to maintain balance and help to lessen the symptoms of yin deficiency. Here are some herbs to help bring harmony back to our everyday lives and provide overall wellbeing.
Yin Synergy for Overall Health
Each herb on our list has a proven record, both through traditional use and scientific study, of improving health. On their own, they can have a positive effect. However, when combined, we can harness their combined effects for greater health.
That’s why we created Yin Synergy. We combined some of the top yin herbs in one convenient supplement to help strengthen the body and bring it back into balance. Using only the purest ingredients, Yin Synergy can provide a needed boost to overall wellbeing and health.
Maca, a traditional yin herb in TCM, is a root vegetable related to radishes and turnips from South America. It has taken the health world by storm over the past few years because of its numerous health benefits. However, practitioners have long known about its ability to balance hormones, increase desire, and enhance energy. It has been used for centuries as a health tonic.
Yin deficiency often shows up as anxiety and an increase in anger. However, maca can help support mental health and improve mood. Research shows that maca root can help stabilize mood and lower anxiety.
Researchers believe that its anxiety-busting benefits might have to do with the flavonoids in maca. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of postmenopausal women found that it helped to reduce feelings of anxiety and enhanced feelings of wellbeing. Another study also found that it helped relieve both anxiety and depression in postmenopausal women.
As the body struggles to keep with the fake energy of yin deficiency, the heart can often struggle. Heart palpitations and rapid pulse are common side effects. Maca can help benefit the heart. In the study above, researchers also found that patients who supplemented with maca experienced reduced diastolic blood pressure.
Hot flashes and night sweats can also be the result of a yin deficiency. Maca can also help by the cooling yin effect of the root. A 2017 study found that it helped reduce hot flashes and night sweats.
Lastly, studies have found that maca increases desire as well as improves satisfaction for postmenopausal women. It also enhances desire and performance for men.
One 12-week double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found that it increased desire in men. In another study, men with mild performance issues found that maca was associated with an improvement.
Yin deficiency can steal away desire and performance. The calming effects of maca can help bring the body back into balance, which boosts desire, performance, and satisfaction.
Likewise, damiana’s cooling and calming yin effects can have a positive impact on health. Also known as Turnera diffusa, the flowering plant grows in subtropical climates, such as southern Texas, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
Indigenous cultures have long used damiana as a health tonic. Modern research is starting to catch up and discover how everyone can benefit from damiana.
Researchers have found that damiana can help improve performance and desire in both men and women. One study on male rats found that it improves nitric oxide pathways, leading to an increase in performance.
For women, two studies on ArginMax, an herbal supplement that includes damiana, showed that there was an improvement in desire. One was on postmenopausal women, while the other studied women at various stages of life.
Damiana also has a reputation for its ability to help relieve stress. In fact, Mexicans will even put it in their tequilas and mix it into margaritas for its mood-boosting properties. In the studies on women above, part of the reason that researchers pinpointed for the increase in desire is its anxiety-reducing effects.
In yin deficiency, constipation is common. Damiana has compounds that can help relieve constipation with its laxative effect.
Many TCM practitioners have found that many who have cancer also suffer from yin deficiency. Damiana contains anti-cancer properties that can help give the body a boost. It is toxic to cancer cells, particularly breast cancer, nasopharynx cancer, and human hepatoma. Considering that cancer is one of the leading causes of death around the world, damiana could provide a powerful boost for most people.
Also known as Wild Asparagus, the tuberous root is most often used in Ayurveda medical traditions. However, Ayurveda practitioners define Shatavari as having a cooling energy, which makes it ideal for strengthening the yin and helping fight yin deficiency. Shatavari is translated as “100 spouses” because of its ability to increase vitality in women.
Shatavari’s cooling and moistening properties make it ideal for bringing back into balance the hot and dry qualities of yin deficiency. Researchers have found that it helps to increase otherwise falling estrogen levels.
One meta-analysis found that it helps to reduce hot flashes. Another study discovered Shatavari’s ability to help with female dryness, as well as increasing desire and fertility. A third study on rats found that supplementing with Shatavari resulted in reduced hesitation time, which indicates an increase in desire.
Shatavari also helps calm the anxiety often associated with yin deficiency. A study that explored a stress test on mice found that it was effective in lowering stress and anxiety levels. Researchers discovered anti-stress properties in Shatavari in another study.
A dry cough is also a common symptom of yin deficiency. Researchers have discovered that Shatavari has properties that help soothe coughs. A study on mice found that Shatavari juice worked as a natural cough remedy. In fact, it worked as well as codeine in relieving their cough.
Although the studies are limited, based on TCM and initial research, it is promising.
The small leafy plant goes by many names: punctured vine, caltrop, Gokshura, and goats head, to name a few. It is grown throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Mexico, and the Middle East. It has traditional roots in folk medicine around the world, including China, India, Sudan, and Pakistan.
Ancient practitioners traditionally used it for the health and wellbeing of their patients. Today, it is popular for its health-promoting qualities. Researchers attribute its many benefits are due to flavonoids and steroidal saponins.
Studies have shown that Tribulus is effective in helping to protect the heart, which can be vulnerable when yin-yang is out of balance in the body. One study on rabbits showed that it helped to reduce the chances of damage to the heart, even when they were subjected to a poor diet.
Another study on mice found that the active ingredient in Tribulus, saponin, helped decrease cholesterol in both healthy and diabetic mice.
In addition, Tribulus helps reduce the sometimes-severe symptoms in menopause that is common with a yin deficiency. One 2017 randomized and placebo-controlled trial showed that it helped reduce the symptoms of menopause. Another 2017 study found that it helped relieve menopause symptoms when patients took a capsule that also contained ginger, saffron, and Cinnamomum.
It also can help increase desire. A 2016 study of 45 postmenopausal women found that it helped increase their passion, as well as improve lubrication.
When it comes to supporting health and balancing yin, Tribulus can be a powerful aid.
Also known as horny goat weed, epimedium has a reputation for increasing desire for both men and women. However, the benefits of the herb do not stop there. The traditional uses of it are extensive and help support overall health and wellbeing.
Research on epimedium is limited but promising. As a result, researchers are starting to turn their attention to the herb, and more studies are underway on it. Most of the studies focus on the active ingredient in epimedium, icariin.
Research on icariin reveals that it could help protect the heart from the effects of yin deficiency. One 2019 study found that rats who supplemented with icariin had an improved response to heart injury. Another preliminary 2019 study found that it helped improve cholesterol by suppressing HDL modification.
It can also help protect the lungs, which can also suffer when yin and yang are out of balance. A recent 2019 study found that icariin improved pulmonary function in asthma-induced mice. Although preliminary, researchers wrote that they were hopeful that it could eventually provide a replacement therapy for asthma.
Studies also show that epimedium helps benefit and balance hormones for both men and women. In addition to enhancing desire for men, research shows that it helps with both menopause and PMS for women. In fact, one trial of postmenopausal women showed that it helped increase estrogen levels and improve lipid profiles without significant side effects.
Epimedium can help balance yin-yang levels. It goes far beyond its reputation as a desire and performance boost to help support other aspects of health, as well.
Although it originated in Brazil, Muira puama has exciting implications in Traditional Medicine, as well. It’s traditional, and research-backed benefits can help strengthen someone who struggles with yin deficiency.
Muira puama was traditionally used to help relieve stress, and science has so far backed up this claim. Multiple studies showed that Muira puama is helpful for its anti-stress properties.
One study showed that Muira puama works as an adaptogen and helps bring stress levels back into balance. As opposed to depressants (such as alcohol), which could potentially bring the body down to unhealthy lows, an adaptogen encourages a healthy balance in the body.
Another study on rats showed that an herbal product, which contained Muira puama as one of its active ingredients, had an anti-stress effect on rats. A third study also showed that it helped fight stress and depression.
Although these studies are on animals and still needs to be researched on humans, the results are promising.
Muira puama also helps support cognitive health. A common side effect of stress and anxiety is brain fog and memory loss. In fact, poor memory is one potential symptom of yin deficiency. Muira puama can help sharpen the mind, even with significant memory loss.
One study found that it helped fight the age-related cognitive decline in rats. Researchers discovered in a study on Alzheimer’s Disease found that it helped support cognitive health. In another study, researchers found that it even helped reverse amnesia. Research on the Muira puama’s cognitive support qualities is still limited to animals, but it does prove promising.
Muira puama has a long history of improving desire for women. One study sought to find if these claims are valid. Researchers had 202 women supplement with Muira puama and ginkgo bilboa for one month. Participants reported an increase in both desire and satisfaction after taking the supplement.
The initial research into Muira puama does warrant studies to find out about this fascinating herb. It could also provide needed support for those who need a boost in balancing yin levels.
One of the more popular supplements from Traditional Medicine, goji berry has an impressive reputation both in historical practice and modern research. Ancient practitioners have long used goji berry as a tonic for yin deficiency. It’s ability to bring balance back to the body make it popular around the world.
Anxiety is incredibly common in modern life: it affects 40 million adults a year in the United States alone. Goji berry can help provide support in times of stress.
One study found that participants that took goji berry juice for 14 days reported an increase in clam, focus, energy, and overall wellbeing. It also improved digestion, which is a common problem when yin levels are low. Another 2016 study found that it helped relieve anxiety-like behavior in rats.
Liver yin deficiency can strike at any age, but it does become increasingly common with aging. Goji berry can help support the liver from the stress of modern life. One study found that it had protective effects on the liver in rats with fatty alcohol disease.
Kidney yin deficiency is also a common problem that can cause poor health. Goji berry is often used to help support the body and fight against kidney yin deficiency. Currently, it lacks specific studies to back up these claims. However, the 18 identified amino acids and high vitamin C content point to its ability to support kidney health.
Balance Yin for Better Health
The best way to support overall health is by paying attention to balance within the body. Yin and yang in TCM support the concept of complementing work and rest, light and dark, male and female to achieve optimal health.
Unfortunately, modern life does not support that. Although most people use yang, or energy and heat, there is less room for yin, or rest and renewal. Most people are rundown and tired, which often leads to yin deficiency.
Herbs can help to correct an imbalance. Along with creating rest and downtime in their daily lives, most people could benefit from yin herbs to achieve optimal health.
Yin Synergy can help to provide the needed support for better health. With each ingredient supported by research and traditional use, Yin Synergy can provide needed balance in the overworked everyday life. Using only the highest quality ingredient, most people can benefit from the best herbs to give their bodies a needed boost and support.
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