Dr. John Chen, practicer of traditional chinese medicine and lecturer at USC on the use of Chinese herbs as an alternative treatment for sexual dysfunction:

There are actually many things that we can offer. In this case, herbs probably will work wonders for the patient. And I say that because if you look at how many Chinese there are (one-fifth of the world population) they must be doing something right.

There are a lot of herbs that are commonly used to either facilitate the growth or maturity of the reproductive system. There are ones that will increase the secretion of sex hormones. And there are ones that will enhance sexual desire. And all these in a way do go hand in hand.

And once again, all we do is, when the patient comes in, we try to find out exactly what the problem is. Because let's say if a patient has impotence, there are many reasons why this could be. It could be psychological. It could be physical. It could be a complication of a disease, or it could be a side effect of a drug. So we try to identify exactly what is the cause. Then, we will address both the cause and the symptom simultaneously.

Is acupuncture appropriate?

Acupuncture is appropriate, too, but perhaps not as effective. One of the biggest differences in treatment of impotence between Western medicine and Chinese medicine is Chinese medicine really tries to build up the person from the foundations, while Western medicine is usually looking for a quick fix.

So things like surgical devices or things like Viagra (are) really looking to fix the patient for that specific time. Chinese medicine is exactly the opposite. There is nothing that will really work that fast. So if you take a Chinese herb pill half an hour before sexual activity, it's probably not going to work. But instead, what it does is, it gradually strengthens your body. It builds up your body's natural hormone system. So the person regains normal sexual functions. So in this case it may take anywhere between two weeks to one month before this person feels better. But once this person feels better, they're going to feel better for a much longer period of time.

See more alternative therapies for sexual dysfunction.