Nans and Jonathan started planning their family even before they were married. "That was something we both wanted—at least two children," says Nans. Ten years later, they’ve tried every kind of fertility treatment available, some of them painful and all of them expensive. "What seemed like such a simple desire has become an impossible quest," says Nans. They are now looking into adoption, but still wish with all their hearts to conceive.
Stories like Nans' and Jonathan's are more and more common today—much more so than they were even fifty years ago. Studies show that the average sperm count has decreased by 48 percent since 1940. Women's fertility is also on the decline. Researchers have many theories about the dropoff, but may scientists believe increased pesticides and chemical fertilizers could play a role, as well as the high levels of stress associated with modern life.
Fortunately, the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda offers helpful insights on how to increase fertility with diet, lifestyle tips, and herbal supplements, while fostering health and well-being during conception and beyond.
Conceiving Healthy, Happy Babies
What are the factors involved in natural fertility? According to Maharishi Ayurveda, conception takes place due to healthy sperm, a healthy ovum, and a healthy uterus. For both men and women, reproductive health depends on the health of the shukra dhatu, or reproductive tissue. In women the shukra tissue creates the ovum as part of the monthly cycle, and in men the semen is formed due to sexual stimulation.
The shukra tissue itself is created as part of a long chain of metabolic transformations, starting with the digestion of food and including the transformation of food to nutrient fluid, blood, muscle, fat, bone, bone marrow and finally, to shukra tissue.
Healthy shukra tissue, then, from the perspective of Ayurveda, depends on the health of all the other tissues (dhatus) in the body.
Diet and Lifestyle Tips: Natural Fertility Boosters
There are two kinds of foods and herbs that help enhance shukra dhatu and therefore help enhance fertility. One is called bringhana; these foods enhance shukra by enhancing all the seven dhatus. Vrishya foods and herbs target shukra dhatu in particular.
Because the first six dhatus are the raw material for forming the reproductive dhatu, all of the dhatus must be completely healthy in order to form healthy reproductive tissue. That's why the bringhana diet, which nourishes all the seven dhatus, is so important if you wish to conceive.
Foods to Nourish All Seven Dhatus (Bringhana)
- Fresh, organic fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Dairy proteins, including milk, lassi, and panir (a fresh cheese made of milk)
- Mung dhal
- Soaked almonds or soaked walnuts (you can grind them and add them to your vegetables)
- Sweet, juicy fruits such as mangos, peaches, plums, and pears
- Dried fruits such as dates, figs, and raisins
- Stewed apple for breakfast
- If your digestion is strong, eat urad dhal (available at Indian grocery stores) cooked with equal parts turmeric, cumin, coriander, and fennel.
- A banana cooked in ghee, cinnamon and cardamom is a tasty and wholesome dessert for people with strong digestion.
Foods that Enhance Reproductive Tissue (Vrishya)
- Date-milk shake
- Rice pudding
- Spices such as ajwain powder, cumin (which purifies the uterus in women and the genitourinary tract in men), turmeric (to improve the interaction between hormones and targeted tissues), and black cumin.
In general, it's important to eat a wide variety of foods in order to receive all your essential nutrients. Keep trying new vegetables and fruits, and rotate your menus to make sure you're not eating the same thing day after day.
A Two-Part Fertility Program
The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians recommends first purifying the genitourinary tract. Once impurities and obstructions are removed from the area, the herbs can be truly effective in reaching the targeted tissues and are, therefore, natural fertility boosters.
Phase I — Cleanse Before Conception
Phase II — Increase Fertility during Conception
The internal cleansing program should be done for three months before trying to conceive. After detoxification, the couple should discontinue the purifying herbal compounds and should start taking Vital Man or Vital Lady on a daily basis. During this time they should try to conceive. The bringhana and vrishya diet is ideal throughout both stages.
Once the couple conceives, the woman should stop taking Vital Lady and should focus on a diet and daily routine especially suited for pregnancy.
Enhancing Bliss and Devotion
Behavioral recommendations that support the shukra tissue and positive relationships include following a daily Aayurvedic routine (dinacharya) and reducing day-to-day stress by practicing the Transcendental Meditation® technique. To help allay day-to-day mental stress, take Worry Free tablets (2 morning and evening). The Worry Free Tea and Aroma Oil can also help. If you need to dissolve emotional stress, take Blissful Joy tablets (2 morning and evening) and diffuse the Blissful Heart Aroma Oil. For physical stress use Organic Kapha Tea, and follow a Kapha-pacifying diet.
Increasing Fertility Later in Life
Are there special tips for couples who want to conceive after the age of forty? The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians recommends that both partners focus more on their diet and routine—on the vrishya and bringhana diet.
Avoid stress as much as possible. Go to bed on time and try not to miss your morning massage. Take care of your protein needs, including some dairy protein in your diet, such as panir, milk, and lassi. Engage in a spiritual practice such as the Transcendental Meditation technique.
For women, it is particularly important to take care of yourself during menstruation. Follow the ayurvedic guidelines for that time: avoid traveling; avoid skipping meals; eat foods that are warm, light, and easy to digest; and try to avoid foods or aromas that are highly chemicalized. And take real rest during your menstrual cycle.
If you want to conceive when you are older, you need to be extra careful about your overall health.
If You Don't Want to Conceive
Even if you don't want to conceive, there is a value in enhancing the shukra tissue. Shukra has a dual function, not only producing the sperm and ovum but also ojas, the finest product of digestion. Ojas creates vigor, bliss, lightness, stamina, immunity, luster in the skin, sparkle in the eyes, and clarity of mind.
Ojas is vital to the health and happiness of everyone. Anyone who wants to enhance mental clarity, immunity, and spiritual well-being will find these recommendations useful, because they enhance the shukra tissue and thus enhance ojas. If you don't want to conceive, but still want to enhance ojas, you can follow the purification phase for at least 45 days, and more if there are more toxins built up. Afterwards, try the Vital Man or Vital Lady tablets.
With the help of Ayurveda, you can optimize your body’s natural ability to conceive, and to give your child the healthiest possible start in life.
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