Erectile dysfunction is defined as struggling to get and maintain an erection.
It is a common condition, affecting as many as 30 million men a year.
Yet, many men ignore their ED symptoms for years, because they are too embarrassed to see a healthcare professional.
This article will discuss what erectile dysfunction is, some of the most common causes of it, as well as how you can naturally treat it.
What Causes Erectile dysfunction?
Blood circulation plays a vital role in erectile function. When sexually stimulated, the brain signals the muscles at the base of the penis to relax and allow blood to flow. As blood enters the penis, it starts to swell up, resulting in an erection.
One of the most common reasons is reduced blood flow to the penis.
Some common causes include erectile dysfunction include:
- High cholesterol
- Lack of exercise
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- Treatment for prostate cancer, e.g., radical prostatectomy
- Alcohol/ substance abuse
- Certain medications such as Diuretics, Alpha-blockers, and Antidepressants
ED can sometimes be an early warning sign of underlying health conditions. Thus, if you are experiencing ed, it is important to consult your doctor.
Standard treatments for erectile dysfunction include medications, penile implants, testosterone therapy, and at times surgery. Yet, these methods can result in unwanted side effects, which is why some men prefer to seek natural remedies for ED.
10 Natural Remedies For Erectile Dysfunction
1) Tribulus Terrestris
Tribulus Terrestris is an herb from Ayurveda that is mostly recommended for improving potency and sexual desire in men. The properties of this powerful ingredient have also been associated with an increase in sperm production, sexual endurance, and testosterone levels.
Researchers found that when men with low sex drives consumed 750- 1500mg of Tribulus Terrestris daily for a period of two months, their sexual desire increased by 79%.
A further study compared the efficacy of extracts of Tribulus Terrestris for the treatment of men with erectile dysfunction and Hypoactive sexual disorder (HSDD). After 12 weeks, men administered Tribulus Terrestris extract improved in sexual function. It was also found to be well tolerated.
2) Panax Ginseng Root
Ginseng is another herb that has been hailed for its ability to improve erectile function in men. Reputed as an aphrodisiac, it has been traditionally used to treat sexual dysfunction in Chinese medicine.
A study published in the Asian Journal of Andrology investigated the effects of ginseng extract on men with erectile dysfunction. Over 8 weeks, one group was administered 1000 mg of ginseng twice a day while the other took a placebo.
The authors of the study found that erectile function in patients taking ginseng improved significantly, indicating that ginseng could be used effectively to improve symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
Studies in both rodents and humans have also shown that ginseng can increase sperm count and help preserve sperms.
3) Gingko leaf
Ginkgo is one of the oldest living tree species and has been revered throughout the centuries for its medicinal properties. Containing two important antioxidants, flavonoids and terpenoids, it is thought to protect cells from oxidative stress and support blood circulation.
Concentrated extracts from Ginkgo biloba leaves (GBE) have been primarily used for treating peripheral vascular disease and for enhancing cerebral blood flow.
As a result, ginkgo may also be useful for treating sexual dysfunction by improving blood flow to those areas of the body.
4) Horny goat weed
Horny goat weed, as the name suggests, has been found to improve erectile function and libido in men. Part of the reason for this is that it contains icariin chemicals.
When ingested in the human body, icariin chemicals cause blood flow to increase. This, in turn, could help combat erectile dysfunction. The icariin content not only helps to boost blood flow in the body but also blocks an enzyme known as PDE5.
One study did describe that icariin content used in a test was able to block Phosphodiesterase-5 in human samples effectively.
Horny goat weed can also boost levels of testosterone, and that way enhance sex drive, powerful ejaculations, improve sperm production, and increase sperm count.
Yohimbine originates from the bark of a tree native to Central Africa. It has been commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction in men and aid weight loss.
A double-blind study, published in the Journal of Urology, reviewed the effects of yohimbine on men with erectile dysfunction. The results conveyed that 34% of men experienced at least a partial improvement after a month of daily treatment with yohimbine.
A further meta-analysis demonstrated that yohimbine is superior to placebo in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. The researchers concluded that yohimbine is believed to be a reasonable therapeutic option for erectile dysfunction.
Concerning weight loss, yohimbine was also studied in elite soccer players. Overall, it was found to decrease body fat by 1.8 percentage over three weeks.
6) Tiger Nuts
Traditionally used in the Middle East to enhance sexual performance and raise arousal, Tiger nut is a popular treatment for erectile dysfunction.
One study on rats found that 2 of raw tiger nut powder improved sexual performance and significantly increased testosterone levels.
The researchers hypothesized that this increase in testosterone level could be related to the presence of quercetin, vitamins, and zinc in tiger nut, all of which have been shown to boost testosterone production.
A more recent study evaluated the membrane-stabilizing and aphrodisiac properties of Tiger nuts in male rats. The results showed that the rats experienced improvements on the testes-body weight ratio, quality and of sperm cells and testicular concentrations of proteins, cholesterol, glycogen, testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone.
The researchers concluded that: “The data presented in this study have justified Cyperus esculentus is a rich source that could be potentially useful for the development of aphrodisiac drugs and also lent credence to its significance in the traditional system of medicine.”
So far, the Tiger nuts have been shown in studies to improve sexual libido and increase testosterone. However, at present, this is limited to animal studies, and more human studies need to be conducted.
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a Peruvian plant revered for its libido-boosting properties. Sacred to the Incans, maca root, was believed to be so potent that it was restricted to royal use only. Several clinical trials showed the efficacy of maca on sexual dysfunctions, as well as increasing sperm count and motility.
A 12-week double-blind placebo-controlled, randomized trial administered maca in one of two doses: 1,500 mg or 3,000 mg or placebo. The researchers found that an improvement in sexual desire was observed with maca for 8 weeks of treatment.
A more recent study sought to evaluate the effects of maca on semen parameters and serum hormone levels in healthy adult men. A group of 20 volunteers aged was supplied by milled hypocotyl of maca or placebo (1.75 g/day) for 12 weeks.
The results showed that sperm concentration and motility showed rising trends compared to placebo, indicating that maca possesses fertility-enhancing properties in men.
8) Ashwagandha (Root)
Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, is a popular Ayurveda herb, commonly used as an aphrodisiac. It has been found to offer many benefits, including regulating stress levels, improving fertility, and increasing muscle mass in men.
Stress and erectile dysfunction can often go hand in hand, resulting in a vicious cycle of dismay. Therefore, for men whose erectile dysfunction is rooted by stress, ashwagandha may be of significant benefit. One study reviewed the effects of ashwagandha supplements on men experiencing stress-related male infertility.
The results showed that men who received ashwagandha for stress experienced higher antioxidant levels and better sperm quality. After 3 months of treatment, 14% of the men’s partners had become pregnant.
L-arginine is an amino acid that helps that body to build protein and increase the production of nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide is a molecule necessary for blood vessel health, which works to dilate blood vessels, thereby increasing blood flow to the penis, resulting in an erection.
A recent meta-analysis reviewed 14 human subject trials of either l-arginine alone or l-arginine in combination with other molecules for the treatment of EDs. Although the number of studies was limited, the review found positive evidence for the efficacy of l-arginine and its various combinations.
For men with diabetes, erectile dysfunction can be a common complication, with research showing that men with diabetes are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop ED. As a result, a double-blind controlled trial looked at the effect of L-arginine supplements in men with Type 2 diabetes.
The results showed that daily consumption of 5 g L-arginine over four weeks in T2D men with mild-to-moderate sexual dysfunction improved erectile function, sexual satisfaction, sexual desire, pleasure from sexual intercourse, and testosterone levels.
Testosterone is an essential hormone for the male reproduction system and sexual function. In fact, low levels of testosterone have been linked to causing erectile dysfunction. DHEA is a natural hormone that is produced by your adrenal glands.
The body converts DHEA into both estrogen and testosterone, thereby increasing testosterone and supporting erectile function. The Massachusetts Male Aging Study investigated 17 hormones, and DHEAS was the only one inversely correlated to ED prevalence.
A study published in the journal Urology divided 40 men with erectile dysfunction into two groups.
The first group was given a DHEA supplement daily for six months while the second group was given a placebo. The results showed that those who have received the DHEA supplement experienced a significant improvement in their ability to achieve an erection.
When To See a Doctor
If you have symptoms of erectile dysfunction it is essential to see your doctor, ED can be a sign of other health problems. For instance conditions such as heart disease and high cholesterol can result in ED symptoms. With a diagnosis, your doctor could recommend a number of steps that would likely improve both your heart health and your ED.
If other health issues aren’t found to be the cause of your ED, your doctor will likely prescribe some common treatments. However, you may also choose natural options — just be sure to discuss them with your doctor first.
Erectile dysfunction is a prevalent problem for men, and while at times embarrassing, it can be effectively treated. Many popular prescription medications are often prescribed for erection problems, such as Viagra Cialis and staxyn.
These can help to alleviate symptoms, but it is important to be aware that they can have side effects. As such, some men may prefer to travel the natural route, seeking herbal remedies to improve their sexual health and boost their libido.
Whether you decide to use prescription drugs or try natural remedies for ed, remember that erectile dysfunction is a common and very treatable condition.