Erectile dysfunction is a common concern. It happens to 31% of men, and the incidence increases as we age.
It is estimated that by 2025 it will affect 322 million men, especially after 70 years (1).
Such an erection problem comes with a heavy psychological burden. These men may experience a reduction in quality of life.
Some of them could display symptoms of anxiety and depression. They tend to avoid intimacy, which worsens their already established erection problem.
Sexual medicine such as Viagra can be a solution in some cases, but it is a prescription medication and can have side effects. Most men would want to try regaining their sexual function by natural means before talking about it with the doctor.
For this reason, we gathered relevant scientific information in this article to give you a list of herbs for erectile dysfunction.
What is erectile dysfunction?
We can define erectile dysfunction as a difficulty to achieve an erection or maintain erectile function. Technically, it features a penile erection that is not sufficient for sexual intercourse, either because of hardness or maintenance.
As such, it reduces sexual satisfaction and causes sexual health concerns. Moreover, erectile dysfunction negatively affects relationships and sexual desire (2).
Patients with erectile dysfunction should be evaluated to determine the cause. There are psychogenic causes and organic causes.
Psychogenic causes such as performance anxiety and depression are more common in young men. Organic causes include cardiovascular disease and neuropathy. The blood flow does not fill the penis chambers, and it stays flaccid.
Prescription medication can help recover sexual function, especially when organic causes are predominant. But these herbs for erectile dysfunction may also contribute to a faster and sustained recovery.
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5 herbs for erectile dysfunction
Many tribes and cultures worldwide have found their own type of herbal Viagra before the rise of health sciences. Their remedies were based on herbal medicine, and they passed down knowledge that now science has confirmed.
Here is a list of the top 5 herbs for erectile dysfunction according to current scientific literature:
1. Panax ginseng
You may also find Panax ginseng as Red ginseng or Korean ginseng, and it is commonly sold along with Ginkgo biloba. This natural remedy has been widely used to improve sexual performance in Chinese medicine.
There is much research about Panax ginseng, and one of them is a meta-analysis. It joins the data of five clinical trials to analyze its strengths and faults. The researchers concluded that Panax ginseng does improve erection function in a significant proportion of patients (4).
Studies show that ginseng improves erectile function by increasing penile blood flow. Thus, after using this natural remedy, couples reported improvements in sexual satisfaction (5).
The reason why Ginseng is effective has to do with a group of substances known as ginsenosides. These are saponins similar to steroids only found in the ginseng species.
People should consume them with the rest of the plant because ginsenosides work synergistically with non-saponin metabolites. They induce vasodilatation in the corpus cavernosum through an increase in nitric oxide (6). Some studies also suggest that Ginseng may increase testosterone levels (7).
2. Pinus pinaster bark
It is also known as maritime pine, and it is a tree found in Southwestern France. The bark of this plant is used as an aphrodisiac and contains substances known as procyanidins. They contain catechin and epicatechin and display strong antioxidant activity.
Moreover, Pinus pinaster bark is known to provide anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. In the field of erectile dysfunction, it is also known to increase the vascular synthesis of nitric oxide. This causes vasodilatation in the penis, which also improves erections (8).
There are various proprietary blends of Pinus pinaster bark, which can also be combined with L-citrulline, roburins, and L-arginine. Such a combination is also beneficial and may even increase testosterone levels (9).
3. Tribulus Terrestris
This medicinal plant is widely used in China and India and is popular in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. It is commonly found in men’s health dietary supplement products and contains steroidal saponins. Other plant components include amide alkaloids, beta-carboline alkaloids, spirostanol, and furostanol (10).
When these saponins are extracted and used in patients, they improve the International Index of Erectile Function. In other words, there is an evident boost in erectile function, which may also enhance sexual performance. Proprietary blends with different plants also display a pro-erectile effect.
Once again, the mechanism is related to the endothelial synthesis of nitric oxide. Some studies also suggest that this natural treatment increases testosterone levels (10). Tribulus Terrestris may also modulate blood pressure levels like other natural remedies that increase nitric oxide.
4. Lepidium meyenii (maca)
You probably have no idea what Lepidium meyenii is, but it will be easier to recognize by simply calling it Maca. It is also known as Peruvian bark.
Maca grows in the Central Andes Mountains and contains phytosterols, important alkaloids, glucosinolates, and other components (11).
In the scientific literature, we find some studies that report an improvement in sexual function. Others report no significant effect.
A systematic review of the literature concluded that the natural remedy increases sexual desire when administered for six weeks (12). Such increase is also associated with improvements in the International Index of Erectile Function (13).
In contrast to the rest of the remedies listed above, this is not considered a herbal supplement. It is an amino acid obtained from nuts, meat, and other sources. It is also produced with L-citrulline as a raw material.
In any case, L-arginine is required to produce nitric oxide. Combining this ingredient with the herbs for erectile dysfunction listed above will stimulate production and provide the material to create this substance.
The health benefits of L-arginine extend to the field of cardiovascular health. It will potentially reduce hypertension while increasing blood flow inside the penis.
Studies show that L-arginine does not need an additional herb to work correctly. The solitary treatment produces significant improvements in erectile function (14).
So, this is not precisely herbal viagra, but continued use may hold promising results and additional health benefits. In some cases, only L-arginine can be enough to maintain erections throughout sexual intercourse.
Erectile function and sexual desire are close companions, and it shouldn’t be a problem if you don’t feel stress and anxiety. But sometimes, there’s an organic cause affecting sexual function. This article reviewed a few herbs for erectile dysfunction that work as a natural remedy.
We can highlight red ginseng, Tribulus Terrestris, and maca. You also have L-arginine, an ingredient often included in a herbal supplement to make it more effective. If your sexual problem does not improve by using these natural remedies, you probably need something else.
In such a case, be sure to look for medical advice, especially if it affects your relationship. Erectile dysfunction treatment can be combined with these natural remedies, too.
Ask your doctor if you have doubts, and remember that exercise, healthy eating, and coping with stress also play an essential part in maintaining your sexual health.