There are many herbal medications for erectile dysfunction (ED) available. However, no treatments should be undertaken without a doctor's examination to pinpoint the cause of ED. Certain health issues or medications may cause ED and if these are not considered, any herbs you take could cause more problems. Once you understand the cause, your doctor and herbalist can together create a proper treatment plan.
Five Herbal Medications for Erectile Dysfunction
After discussing your erectile dysfunction with your doctor, you may find that herbal medications for erectile dysfunction are not necessary. Your problem may be easily solved with a change in your medications or lifestyle changes. However, if your doctor agrees that your ED needs specific treatment, and you don't want to take prescription medications, consider the following herbs that may help you.
While there is little scientific evidence to prove effectiveness, ashwagandha is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine to improve sexual function in men. This may be due to its ability to improve circulation.
Ashwagandha can be taken as a standardized capsule as directed on the label. Because it has the ability to cause abortion, pregnant women should never take ashwagandha.
Epimedium is also known as Horny Goat Weed. It is an herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat various conditions, including erectile dysfunction. Again, there are few studies to support this purpose, but it is believed that epimedium increases blood flow to the penis and also may increase semen production. This may be due to a compound in epimedium called icariin. Icariin inhibits the production of the enzyme phosphodiesterase-5 which controls the blood flow to the penis. The effect of epimedium is thought to be similar to that of Viagra.
While in most cases it is safe to take epimedium under the advice of an herbalist, if you have any prostate problems or hormone-sensitive cancers, you should not take this herb. Epimedium can also lower blood pressure and thin the blood so caution should be exercised.
Panx ginseng, or Asian ginseng, is another herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is believed to heal the sex organs and improve symptoms or erectile dysfunction. This is supported by animal studies that show an increase in sexual activity and performance as well as an increase in sperm production. Human studies show similar results with increase in sperm production and increased sex drive.
Ginseng can lower blood sugar so should be taken with food. It may also cause anxiety and insomnia. If you suffer from high or low blood pressure do not use ginseng without the supervision of your doctor. The University of Maryland Medical Center also offers a list of medications that may interact with ginseng.
Yohimbe is well known as an herb that increases male potency. It may be helpful in treating erectile dysfunction caused by psychological problems but may not be as effective if the cause is physical. While it increases blood flow, it can also increase blood pressure so it should be used with caution. Other possible side effects may include anxiety and irregular heart beat.
Yohimbe's ability to treat ED may be due to an alkaloid called yohimbine. This alkaloid is sold as a prescription medication for treating ED. Yohimbine increases blood flow to the penis and may even increase sexual desire. If, after discussion with your doctor, you have decided to supplement with yohimbe, you should take it as a tincture. Many tablets sold as yohimbe do not actually contain any yohimbe at all.
Using Herbal Supplements
If you are considering herbal medications for erectile dysfunction, be sure to take them according to the directions you are given. Discuss your medical problems with your doctor as well as your herbalist for the proper doses for you. If you notice any unusual reactions, discontinue use and call your doctor right away. Erectile dysfunction can be treated but it is important to first know the cause before you treat yourself.