Panax ginseng, a Chinese and Korean herb
Panax ginseng has a 2,000-year history in Chinese and Korean medicine as a tonic for health and longevity. People take the roots of this ginseng, also called Korean red ginseng, for ED as well as:
- overall well-being
Clinical studies show significant improvement in:
- penile rigidity
- duration of erection
- improved libido
- overall satisfaction
P. ginseng works as an antioxidant, releasing nitric oxide (NO) that helps erectile functions. Some people use a P. ginseng cream for premature ejaculation.
Maca, the root vegetable from Peru
For overall health benefits, maca is a great addition to your diet. Maca, or Lepidium meyenii, is rich in:
- amino acids
There are three types of maca: red, black, and yellow. Black maca also appears to alleviate stress and improve memory. And stress can cause ED.
In animal trials, maca extract significantly improved sexual performance in rats. But this Peruvian root has minimal evidence for its direct ability to improve erectile function. Studies show that eating this root may have a placebo effect. The same researchers also found that maca has no effect on hormone levels.
Yohimbine, a West African tree bark
Yohimbine comes from the bark of a West African evergreen tree. For the last 70 years, people have used yohimbine as a treatment for ED because it’s believed to:
activate the penile nerves to release more NO
widen the blood vessels to increase blood flow in the penis
stimulate the pelvic nerve and boost adrenaline supply
increase sexual desire
One study found that 14 percent of the group that was treated with yohimbine had full-stimulated erections, 20 percent had some response, and 65 percent had no improvement. Another study found that 16 out of 29 men were able to reach orgasm and ejaculate after completing their treatment.
A combination of yohimbine and L-arginine is shown to significantly improve erectile function in people with ED. L-arginine is an amino acid that helps expand blood vessels. It’s regarded as safe and effective for ED but can cause side effects like nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Avoid taking L-arginine with Viagra, nitrates, or any high blood pressure medications.
Mondia whitei, roots of an African plant
Mondia whitei, also known as White’s ginger, is particularly popular in Uganda, where medicinal plants are more common than medication. It’s used to increase libido and manage low sperm count.
Studies suggest that M. whitei may be similar to Viagra in that in increases the following:
- sexual desire
- human sperm motility
- testosterone levels
- NO production and erections
In fact, there’s even a drink called “Mulondo Wine” that uses M. whitei as an ingredient. M. whitei is considered an aphrodisiac because of evidence that it increases libido, potency, and sexual pleasure. Studies in mice suggest that M. whitei is also fairly low in toxicity.
Ginkgo biloba, herb from a Chinese tree
Ginkgo biloba may increase blood flow to the penis. Researchers discovered the effect of gingko on ED when male participants in a memory enhancement study reported improved erections. Another trial saw improvement in sexual function in 76 percent of the men who were on antidepressant medication. This is why researchers believe that ginkgo may be effective for men who are experiencing ED due to medication.
But some studies also report no improvement or differences after taking ginkgo. This may mean that gingko is better for ED management than as a treatment or cure.
Other herbs reported to treat ED
These herbs have shown a pro-erectile effect in animals such as rabbits and rats:
- horny goat weed, or epimedium
- musli, or Chlorophytum borivilianum
- saffron, or Crocus sativus
- Tribulus terrestris
Always talk to your doctor before trying a new herbal supplement. These herbs in particular have little scientific evidence of their effect on people. They may also interact with your medications or cause unintended side effects.