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Natural Therapies For Erectile Dysfunction

natural-therapies-for-erectile-dysfunction_300Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the most common sexual problems that affect men. Many men deal with ED on an occasional basis, but about 5 percent of men who are 40 years old or older and between 15 percent and 25 percent of men who are 65 years old or older have long-term problems with ED. No matter when it happens, it can be a source of stress for the couple experiencing it.

Causes of ED can be psychological, a side effect of medications or a result of poor lifestyle habits, fatigue, alcohol use and certain diseases. Erectile dysfunction can be associated with diabetes, heart disease, circulatory problems and nerve problems. In fact, ED can be an early warning sign of another medical problem.

Men who are interested in natural therapies to support their sexual health have several options. These therapies can be used separately or together and do not require a prescription. Plant-based herbal therapies contain antioxidants to help repair and rebuild damaged tissues. The therapies can help by increasing libido, helping to achieve a firm and long-lasting erection, relaxing the smooth muscle of the penis and helping with engorgement.

Before taking any therapies for ED, you should check with your healthcare provider to rule out a medical problem. Your doctor can help guide you in taking precautions with these supplements based on your health condition. Look for formulations made by doctors or scientists. Investigate who makes the product and check references. Watch out for claims made for products featured on infomercials.

Five Best Natural Therapies For ED

Horny goat weed: This herb with the funny name is scientifically proven to improve erectile function. Horny goat weed (Epimedium grandiflorum extract) contains icariin, which improves nitric oxide activity to stimulate an erection. The only studies on this herb are in animals, but the herb seems to have the same activity as a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor; it acts like drugs that treat ED such as Viagra and Cialis. It has also been shown to improve nerve damage in rat penises. These studies show promise in helping men with similar issues.

L-citrulline: L-citrulline is an amino acid that the kidneys transform into L-arginine, which is needed for producing nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a chemical that relaxes the smooth muscles of the penis and helps develop an erection. A study that tested the effect of L-citrulline on men with mild ED showed that half of the men improved to normal erectile after taking L-citrulline. This safe amino acid is well tolerated by patients.

Rhodiola root: Rhodiola root (Rhodiola rosea) helps the body adapt to stress, promotes cellular health, helps to maintain energy levels and helps with immune function as a strong antioxidant. Rhodiola helps reduce sexual dissatisfaction caused by ED. A randomized, double-blind study in Sweden found that rhodiola root helped people who suffered from stress-related fatigue. Results showed that this anti-fatigue root helped the individuals concentrate and lower the response of stress hormones.

Pomegranate extract: Pomegranate extract (Punica granatum L) is full of antioxidants and phytonutrients that boost nitric oxide bioavailability and promote blood flow to the penis. Studies of pomegranate supplements show that it helps men achieve firmer erections and enjoy better sexual performance.

Resveratrol: Resveratrol is a strong antioxidant from Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum). Studies on resveratrol show that it improves the circulation of nitric oxide while boosting testosterone and sperm levels. It also helps fight the accumulation of cholesterol. It can prevent changes in arteries that may lead to ED.

These five herbal therapies can be found individually but are also available in one easy and safe formulation called XY VGR (pronounced “XY vigor” or “male vigor”). Herbs such as Korean ginseng and Maca if taken in high doses of 3,000 mg or more can help improve sexual dysfunction. Please use any of the herbs or products discussed here responsibly. If you find with any of these therapies that you have an erection that lasts longer than four hours you need to seek emergency care right away to prevent permanent damage.

Other Natural Ways To Help Erectile Function

Other natural therapies for ED include exercising and eating a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, plant protein, green tea and omega-3 rich foods. Avoid saturated fats and smoking. If take action to help your heart and circulation, you also enhance your erectile function. By looking to natural therapies to treat ED, you can improve your overall health as well as helping your sexual function.

Dr. Geo Espinosa

Dr. Geo Espinosa

is the Director of the Integrative Urology Center at New York University Langone Medical Center and the Chief Science Officer at Prostate Research Labs. Before joining NYU, Dr. Espinosa was a clinician, researcher and director of clinical trials at the Center for Holistic Urology at Columbia University Medical Center. He is a licensed naturopathic doctor, licensed acupuncturist, a Certified Nutrition Specialist and a Registered Herbalist. Dr. Espinosa is an author of the naturopathic entry in 1000 Cures for 200 Ailments (Harper Collins, March, 2007) and “Prostate Cancer — Nutrients that may slow its progression,” Food and Nutrients in Disease Management (Maryland: Cadmus Publishing, 2009). Dr. Espinosa also serves on the editorial board of the Natural Medicine Journal. Dr Geo is a frequent speaker at universities, medical schools and conferences on Integrative Health, nutrition and natural treatments for prostate disease. Read more on Dr. Geo.