Erectile Dysfunction (ED)1 as the name suggests is a dysfunctional disorder that is caused by failed or impaired functioning of the penis tissue.
Going behind numbers, ED is one of the prevalent sexual health disorders that troubles nearly 70% of men upon hitting 70 years of age.
Statistics show a trend in the percentage, where chance of ED occurrence goes by a factor of age, i.e. at the age of 40, a man has a 40% chance of this disorder, while a 70-year-old man has 70% chances of getting ED.
The causes could be many, but one major reason for ED is low testosterone2 content in the body.
This becomes more severe as a male age, and the t-hormone levels start to plunge as age progresses.
From a pathological perspective, ED is the inability of penis tissue to erect fully caused due to faulty biochemical signaling, low testosterone, age or lifestyle diseases.
This would psychologically affect a male as they wouldn’t be able to engage in sexual intercourse and would plunge into a state of depression and low self-esteem.
Majority of the supplements are made from a combination of herbal ingredients, and they were extensively used in the past to treat penis disorders.
In this article, we are going to explore some of the herbal medicines used for treating ED3.
So, without further delay, let’s start.
Herbs: a natural treatment of erectile dysfunction
1. Asparagus racemosus
Though the name sounds frightening, the ingredients are a real saviour helping many men around the world to fight erectile dysfunction.
This herb is mainly found in the parts of India, Nepal, and Sri-Lanka, as they prefer a wet tropical climate.
In ancient Ayurveda, they are called as ‘Shatavari’ meaning ‘the one which could cure a hundred diseases.’
Since the ancient ayurvedic era, Asparagus racemosus4 is widely used in preparation of mixes for enhancing libido and sexual health.
Also, some studies point out towards the ability of this herb in improving the blood circulation and enhancing nerve signaling.
With improved blood circulation, the penis tissue gets a lot of blood transport, and enhanced nerve signaling would help in relaxing the penis tissue to accommodate more blood, thus improving the condition over time.
The aphrodisiac property of this herb helps in boosting the sexual desire thus aiding the sexual performance.
2. Horny Goat Weed
Wait before you go and check the urban dictionary, this is real herbal medicine and the name ain’t misleading.
Horny goat weed is a Chinese herbal plant that helps a person control the symptoms and reduce the ill effects rather than curing ED.
It is not only confined to ED patients but for most of sexual disorder horny goat weed5 is preferred to suppress the symptoms.
Even women use this herbal mix to reduce the pain during intercourse and to boost the libido.
While the actual working of this herbal extract is obscure, scientists believe that horny goat weed has certain compounds that can subsidize and enhance the hormonal activities resulting in overall sexual health enhancement.
In a study published in ‘The Journal of Sexual Medicine,’ it was observed that those rats which received a dose of this herb had enhanced blood flow and vasodilation when compared to a control without any medication.
3. Red Ginseng
Red ginseng a.k.a. Panax ginseng6
is a herbal recipe which is famously dubbed as ‘herbal Viagra.’
It is extensively used in Korean traditional medicine, and they promote the ginseng due to its unmatched ability in reducing the effects of ED.
Back in 2008, research studies were reviewed and found that a dose varying from 600 ~ 1000 mg /three times a day, was effective enough in treating ED.
The cellular level intervention of an active compound in the ginseng, called as ‘Ginsenosides,’ is the reason why this herb is still used in treating sexual health disorders.
In particular, the ginseng is very much effective in those people with high lipids content in the blood and metabolic syndrome.
Anti-inflammatory action, improved lung function, and enhanced blood circulation are actions through which ginseng suppresses ED.
4. Ginkgo bilboa
Ginkgo biloba7 is a traditional medicinal herb known to mankind for at least a thousand years.
It was used to treat conditions like dementia, anxiety, poor blood circulation to various body parts, and ED.
This herbal ingredient is focused on boosting the blood circulation, which is, in fact, the most crucial part in reversing the ED.
It works similar to nitric oxide by dilating or widening the blood vessels to increase the pressure gradient and enhance the blood flow.
Thought the action is rock solid, the scientific understanding about ginkgo is unclear and needs more studies to prove its action and impact on the body.
One study from Columbia University observed that gingko might be an effective agent in treating sexual dysfunction caused by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
However, this herbal compound can elevate the risk of bleeding, and people who use blood thinners should avoid gingko.
5. Cassia cinnamon
It is an all-time favorite member in the Indian Ayurveda medicine list and grows well in the tropical climate of India.
They are extracted from the bark of a tree, dried and grounded before using as a medicinal recipe.
Studies have shown the ability of Cassia cinnamon in improving sexual abilities and its aphrodisiac properties.
They are little different from the usual cinnamon which is a popular spice used in many of Indian curries.
Often people are tricked by selling low-quality cinnamon powder labeled as Cassia cinnamon.
Unlike other herbal products, Cassia cinnamon isn’t very easy to procure and use due to its rarity and deep knowledge required in processing.
It has been long used in traditional Asian medicine to treat ED, and the dose-dependent treatment has been reported to be a success; however, lacks conclusive shreds of evidence.
They are mainly used in tandem with other herbal mixtures to form a supplement of herbal extracts to combat ED.
6. Safed Musli
Chlorophytum borivilianum8 is a popular Ayurvedic herbal plant with strong aphrodisiac properties.
Through a lot of studies and clinical trials, scientists have optimized the daily dose for maximum efficiency to be 2gm.
They are often sold in powder or capsule form; however, the never declining demand had channeled a road for lot of fake Musli products also.
In general, Musli is used to improve sexual health and to boost the libido in both males as well as females.
They have a lot of benefits and one among which is its immunostimulatory ability which enhances the immune system of the user to help in fighting diseases and pathogens.
Safed Musli is extremely effective in treating ED caused due to diabetes or high blood glucose.
Also, it is found to improve the sperm quality and sperm count, with the faster restoration of sexual energy.
In Ayurveda, this herbal medicine is used to help male control the ejaculation to avoid premature ejaculation.
Natural ED remedies: conclusion
The list is never-ending, and day by day, new medicinal plants are being added into the list from around the world.
One of the best reservoir to look for herbal remedies to ED are Indian Ayurveda. They update and do research extensively on new medicinal plants and their impacts on the human body.
And it is a fact that many of these medicinal plants are not accessible to the majority and the only resort is to depend on supplements to exploit the benefit.
- Lue, Tom F. “Erectile dysfunction.” New England journal of medicine 342.24 (2000): 1802-1813. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM200006153422407
- Shores, Molly M., et al. “Low serum testosterone and mortality in male veterans.” Archives of internal medicine 166.15 (2006): 1660-1665. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/410768
- Ho, Christopher CK, and Hui Meng Tan. “Rise of herbal and traditional medicine in erectile dysfunction management.” Current urology reports 12.6 (2011): 470-478. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11934-011-0217-x
- Wani, Javeed Ahmed, Rajeshwara N. Achur, and R. K. Nema. “Phytochemical screening and aphrodisiac activity of Asparagus racemosus.” International journal of Pharmaceutical sciences and Drug research 3.2 (2011): 112-115. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/e59f/01c3abf6cd157834b00e1c187d2f1a9a32a9.pdf
- Shindel, Alan W., et al. “Erectogenic and neurotrophic effects of icariin, a purified extract of horny goat weed (Epimedium spp.) in vitro and in vivo.” The journal of sexual medicine 7.4pt1 (2010): 1518-1528. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01699.x
- Jang, Dai‐Ja, et al. “Red ginseng for treating erectile dysfunction: a systematic review.” British journal of clinical pharmacology 66.4 (2008): 444-450. https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2125.2008.03236.x
- Cohen, Alan J., and Barbara Bartlik. “Ginkgo biloba for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction.” Journal of sex & marital therapy 24.2 (1998): 139-143. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00926239808404927
- Kenjale, Rakesh, Riddhi Shah, and Sadhana Sathaye. “Effects of Chlorophytum borivilianum on sexual behaviour and sperm count in male rats.” Phytotherapy Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives 22.6 (2008): 796-801. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.2369