The Three Main Evils Affecting Erectile Dysfunction

Dr Sharon Elizabeth Allison LAc DAOM


The cold evil, being yin in nature, has the ability to bind and congeal qi and blood. It may enter through the yin channels of the feet and travel up the leg to the genitals and towards the umbilicus, or it may enter the body when eating cold foods. This excess cold may damage the yang‘s dynamic ability in the viscera to transform, and thus the function of the organs can become obstructed.13

According to the Ling Shu:

“The foot reverting yin sinew…..follows up the inner thigh and binds at the yin organ and connects with the sinews…. Damage by cold entering leads to yin (region) retraction.”13


As the Liver channel starts at the foot and travels to the genitals, and is also connected with the sinews, the contraction of cold in this channel will bind the qi, blood and fluids on the anterior yin region, leading to andrological diseases.

Although in America, with availability to central heating and warm southern climates, it seems unlikely that an excess of cold will enter the body, still, many men may work outside in the winter or engage in swimming, boating or snow skiing as recreational activities. Occupations such as being a butcher or cook walking in and out of the freezer, a swimming coach being submerged in water for extended periods of time, medical staff or patients in a frigid surgery room, a construction worker in a cold climate, are examples of ways cold can be contracted in the body.



Like cold, dampness is a yin evil, and in excess it will inhibit the dynamic nature of qi. Because of the heavy and sticky nature of dampness it has a tendency to “pour downwards” – xia zhu, and “brew and bind” – yun jie, in the liver channel and the lower burner.13

Dampness mainly originates in the middle burner, due to the impaired ability of the Spleen to raise the clear essence of post-heaven qi from water and grain. This deficiency of Spleen qi results in a failure to move and transform, inhibiting the Small Intestine’s performance as it attempts to sort the pure from the impure. Thus, from the middle burner it works its heavy way down. Once lodged and stagnated in the lower burner, the brewing of the depressed damp can transform into toxic heat. Kidney yang deficiency can also hinder the raising of clear yang qi, and when the gate of fire is low the Kidney water will change to dampness, which then sinks and congeals in the lower burner, leading to the accumulation of water damp in the anterior yin region.13



Heat is a yang evil and has the inherent nature to flare upwards, consume fluids and damage qi. Heat can be caused by prolonged emotional angst and anger. Hot spicy foods can also contribute to damp heat turning into fire. Heat will burn off the yin fluids that nourish the flow of qi to the anterior yin region, thus drying the penile tissues13. Heat also obstructs the Liver’s free flow of qi. As qi is the yang energy it is essential in obtaining and maintaining an erection, and because the Liver channel encircles the genitals, lack of Liver qi flow will result in ED. Liver qi stagnation also creates blood stasis, which will worsen the symptoms.