Dr. Buğra Buyrukçu

Phytotherapy in Male Infertility

In male infertility, the number, motility and morphological appearance of the sperm should be within normal limits, disorder of any of these will make the conception difficult. Sperm number should be over 20 million/ml in semen analysis. Mobility is divided into 4 groups and rapid motile sperms (+4 progressive motile group) should be above 25%. The morphological appearance is evaluated according to the Kruger morphological analysis and should be above 8%. If a couple fail to have conception despite their effort for 1 year and the sperm analysis reveal values ​​below these, male infertility is in question.

Causes may be congenital (e.g.: undescended testes), hormonal, structural, secondary to acquired diseases or drugs, might be very advanced, with total lack of sperm (azoospermia).

Medical treatment

Depending on the underlying cause, surgery or drug treatment may be needed.


Foods which include hormones and chemicals in the production stages should be avoided. All foods should be consumed seasonably and the contents should be verified. Frozen foods, foods with a long shelf life and exposure to heavy metals and toxins should be avoided.

It is important to regularly consume nutrients with high antioxidant and high vitamin content. Cauliflower, brussel sprouts, dark green-leaved vegetables (spinach, silverbeet, pepperweed, rocket), cabbage, broccoli will be the right choice.

Smoking should be quit and exposure to smoke should be avoided.

Alcohol consumption should be reduced or discontinued.

Carob is rich of minerals and vitamins, a perfect antioxidant with significant positive effects on sperm count and motility. Three to five medium-sized carob intake will also help with the problem of constipation.

Eating a handful of black raisins with its seed will also positively affect sperm parameters.

Pomegranate will increase the quality and vitality of sperm with its rich antioxidant content.

Weight should be under control.

If the workplace is too stressful, the individual should be kept away from such environment, if not, natural methods should be used to cope with stress.

Vitamin and mineral supplements:

Vitamin B encourages sperm motility and increases sperm count. Studies of Isoyama and Kumamoto both reported a significant improvement in sperm count and motility in patients who used vitamin B12 for 6-12 months.

Vitamin C is an important vitamin with antioxidant properties. Sperm production and all parameters are highly affected by oxidant substances. Dawson et al. published a study in the journal Fertil Steril, proving that 1000 mg daily vitamin C intake increases the quality of the sperms. Vitamin C is especially important for smokers.

 Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and is an intense antioxidant. A study by Bayer et al. shows that the use of 100 IU of vitamin E increases the quality of sperm. However, it is necessary to use it carefully because overdosing can be toxic.

 Vitamin A affects the germ cells that produce sperms and contributes to sperm structure. Regular amounts of vitamin A intake is recommended.

Coenzyme Q10 positively affects sperm parameters due to its antioxidant properties. 60-80 mg daily amount should be used for 3 months.

Zinc deficiency has negative effects on many body features, including sperm count and morphology. Prasad et al. and Omu et al. have demonstrated that 30-57 mg zinc supplementation twice a day promotes sperm parameters. However, long-term zinc use causes lack of copper, so it may be necessary to use daily 1-2 mg of copper after a while.

Selenium is very effective in increasing sperm motility, especially the rapid motile sperms. According to Scott and his colleagues, 80-100 micrograms of daily selenium use for 3 months have positive outcomes.

L-Carnitine is effective in increasing sperm motility, libido and the amount of semen. According to different studies of Costa et al and Vitali et al, it is recommended to use 3-4 gr per day for 3-4 months.

Herbal treatment

Ferula: It contains plenty of saponin, tannen, alkoloid, resin and starch. It helps development of germ cells and Leydig cells that produce sperm cells in the testicles. Thus, it increases sperm count and mobility and increases libido (sexual desire) by augmentation of testosterone secretion.               

Fireweed: It contains beta-cytosterol, kaempferol, galic acid and flavonoids. It interferes with bladder, urinary tract and reproductive systems. It is very effective in resistant prostate infections and increasing the sperm count with its high anti-oxidant properties. In a study of the University of Pretoria, its effects on sperm producing cells are shown in detail.               

Lepidium root extract: It is known as maca plant. The alkaloid content increase the secretion of gonadal hormones in the hypothalamus - pituitary line. Thus, it has very serious increasing effects on sperm production and sexual desire. Gloria Chacon conducted a study with this plant and found that it significantly regulates the function of pituitary gland, thus it affects sperm development. In a study with men aged 22-44 years, with a daily use of 3 grams of lepidium root extract, sperm motility and count significantly increased.