BMC complementary and alternative medicine

Possible mechanism underlying the effect of Heshouwuyin, a tonifying kidney herb, on sperm quality in aging rats.

PMID 25034094


Herb mixtures are used as alternatives to hormone therapy in China for the treatment of partial androgen deficiency in aging men. However, the compositions of these herb mixtures are complex and their mechanisms are often unknown. This study investigates the effect of Heshouwuyin, a Chinese herbal compound for invigorating the kidney, on the control of testosterone secretion and sperm function. Aged Wistar rats were administered with Heshouwuyin. A Shouwu pill group and young group were used as controls. Morphology, chemiluminescence, fluorescence immunohistochemistry, and western blot showed that the epididymal sperm of naturally aged rats had intact plasma membranes. They also had abnormal mitochondrial function and DNA integrity, a significant decline in serum testosterone levels, and significant pathological changes in the structure of testicular tissues. Heshouwuyin significantly improved sperm function and serum testosterone levels, and improved testicular morphology. Moreover, the curative efficacy of Heshouwuyin after 60 days was better than that of Heshouwuyin after 30 days and the Shouwu pill group. Heshouwuyin exerts an important role in controlling testosterone secretion and sperm function.