An Overview of the Causes and Symptoms of Male Infertility from the Perspective of Traditional Persian Medicine

Document Type : Review Article


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Traditional Medicine, School of Traditional Medicine, Tehran Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 M.Sc. Student of Midwifery, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Traditional Medicine, School of Traditional Medicine, Tehran Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

4 Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Infertility Research Center, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

5 Specialist of Traditional Medicine, Research Center for Traditional Medicine and History of Medicine, School of Traditional Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

6 Assistant Professor, Department of Traditional Medicine, Research Center for Traditional Medicine and History of Medicine, Department of Traditional Persian Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.


Introduction: Despite significant medical advances, infertility, particularly male infertility, remains a health care problem. Review of this issue from a perspective other than conventional medicine may shed light on the remaining unknown causes of infertility. Hence, this study aimed to investigate the causes and symptoms of male infertility in the traditional Iranian medical texts.
Methods: The causes of male infertility were gathered from reliable sources of Traditional Persian Medicine (TPM), including Canon of Medicine, Zakhireye Kharazmshahi, Sharhe asbab va Alamat, Tebb-e-Akbari, Moalejat-e-Aghili, and Eksir-e-Aazam. Then in order to find recent scientific evidence for male infertility we performed an extensive search in scientific databases such as Medline, Scopus, and Google Scholar.
Results: Various causes, symptoms, and treatments for male infertility have been suggested by Iranian physicians. These causes can be categorized into five classes of general disorders, reproductive system disorders, and causes outside the reproductive system including brain damage, digestive and renal causes, mental and psychological disorders, and unknown causes. In addition to structural problems, reproductive system disorders are presented in the form of hot, cold, wet, or dry reproductive system dystemperaments with different semen indexes.
Conclusion: Various causes with various treatments are discussed for male infertility in TPM sources. Exploration of this diagnostic-therapeutic approach may lead to new research avenues in the field of male infertility.


  1. Aghamohammdian Sharbaf HR, Zarezade Kheibari S, Horouf Ghanad M, Hokm Abadi ME. The relationship between perfectionism and sexual function in infertile women. Iran J Obstet Gynecol Infertil 2014; 17(97):9-17.
  2. Lentz GM. Comprehensive gynecology. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2012.
  3. Speroff L, Fritz MA. Clinical gynaecologic endocrinology and infertility. New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005.
  4. James R, Scott RS, Gibbs BY, Karlan AF. Danforth's obstetrics and gynecology. New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008.
  5. Vahidi S, Ardalan A, Mohammad K. Prevalence of primary infertility in the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2004-2005. Asia Pac J Public Health 2009; 21(3):287-93.
  6. Zare Z, Golmakani N, Shareh H, Khadem N. Factors related to marital satisfaction in primiparous women during postpartum period. J Midwifery Reprod Health 2014; 2(2):120-7.
  7. Baker VL, Luke B, Brown MB, Alvero R, Frattarelli JL, Usadi R, et al. Multivariate analysis of factors affecting probability of pregnancy and live birth with in vitro fertilization: an analysis of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology Clinic Outcomes Reporting System. Fertil Steril 2010; 94(4):1410-6.
  8. Troude P, Ancelet S, Guibert J, Pouly JL, Bouyer J, de La Rochebrochard E. Joint modeling of success and treatment discontinuation in in vitro fertilization programs: a retrospective cohort study. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2012; 12(1):77.
  9. de La Rochebrochard E, Quelen C, Peikrishvili R, Guibert J, Bouyer J. Long-term outcome of parenthood project during in vitro fertilization and after discontinuation of unsuccessful in vitro fertilization. Fertil Steril 2009; 92(1):149-56.
  10. Akhtari E, Bioos S, Sohrabvand F. Infertility in Iranian traditional medicine from Hakim Mohammad Azam Khan point of view. Iran J Obstet Gynecol Infertil 2015; 18(148):18-23.
  11. Ibn-e-An-Nafis. Sharh Tashreeh Al-Qanun. 3th ed. Egypt: Islamic Golden Age; 2013. P. 266.
  12. Avicenna. Qanun dar teb. 6th ed. Tehran: Surush; 1989. P. 219-50.
  13. Nejatbakhsh F, Nazem E, Goushegir A, Isfahani MM, Nasrabadi AN, Siahpoosh MB. Recommended foods for male infertility in Iranian traditional medicine. Iran J Reprod Med 2012; 10(6):511.
  14. Ibn Sina H. Kitab al Qanoun fi Al Toubb (The Book of the Canon of Medicine). Beirut: American University of Beirut; 2007.
  15. Razi B. Kholasato-tajarob. Tehran: The School of Traditional Iranian Medicine; 2007. (Persian).
  16. Azam Kan M. Exir-e-Azam. 2nd ed. Tehran: Islamic and Complementary Medicine; 2009. (Persian).
  17. Arzani MA. Tibb al-Akbar (Akbar's Medicine). 1st ed. Qom: Jalaledin; 2009. P. 944. (Persian).
  18. Sohrabvand F, Nazem E, Tansaz M, Keshavarz M, Hashem Dabbaghian F, Gooshehgir S. The causes of female infertility from the viewpoint of traditional Iranian medicine. J Islamic Iran Trad Med 2011; 2(2):107-16.
  19. Kermani NI. Sharh-ol-asbab va Alamat. 1st ed. Qom: Jalaledin; 2009. P. 225-35. (Persian).
  20. Aghili Khorasani Shirazi MH. Moalejat-e-Aghili. Qom: Esmaeilian; 2008. P. 789-90, 908. (Persian).
  21. Jaladat AM, Tonsaz M, Attarzadeh Z, Attarzadeh F. Sexual ethics in Iranian medicine. Islamic Lifestyle Center Health 2013; 1(3):43-7.
  22. Tanagho EA, McAninch JW. Smith's general urology. 16th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical; 2008.
  23. Saez Lancellotti TE, Boarelli PV, Romero AA, Funes AK, Cid-Barria M, Cabrillana ME, et al. Semen quality and sperm function loss by hypercholesterolemic diet was recovered by addition of olive oil to diet in rabbit. PloS One 2013; 8(1):e52386.
  24. Maqdasy S, Baptissart M, Vega A, Baron S, Lobaccaro JM, Volle DH. Cholesterol and male fertility: what about orphans and adopted? Mol Cell Endocrinol 2013; 368(1-2):30-46.
  25. Shaum KM, Polotsky AJ. Nutrition and reproduction: is there evidence to support a “Fertility Diet” to improve mitochondrial function? Maturitas 2013; 74(4):309-12.
  26. Van Saun RJ. Effect of nutrition on reproduction in llamas and alpacas. Theriogenology 2008; 70(3):508-14.
  27. Maretti C. Obesity and male infertility. In: Cavallini G, Beretta G, editors. Clinical management of male infertility. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing; 2015. P. 89-97.
  28. Ko EY, Sabanegh ES. The role of over-the-counter supplements for the treatment of male infertility--fact or fiction? J Androl 2012; 33(3):292-308.