Erectile Dysfunction Treatments Alternative Methods

A number of herbs, amino acids, and supplements are available as erectile dysfunction remedies. A market for such products has always existed, but with the success of Viagra, herbal companies offering some form of ‘natural’ aphrodisiac seem to be springing up everywhere.

Before you consider using alternative ‘natural’ erectile dysfunction remedies, be aware that very few of these products have undergone rigorous scientific examination. Some may even be harmful to your health. Consult with your doctor or other health care professional before trying any alternative product. The following list is meant only for informational purposes. Remember that no firm guidelines exist for the manufacturing or administering of such products.

Damiana: A liquor made from the leaves of the damiana plant has traditionally been used as an aphrodisiac in Mexico. This is the basis for its use as an alternative impotence treatment. No testing has been done on humans.

DHEA: DHEA is a chemical produced by the adrenal glands, and is essential for the production of both testosterone and estrogen. Some believe that increasing DHEA levels may help men with low testosterone. Some minor clinical trials have shown promising results. However, as testosterone levels do not cause most cases of erectile dysfunction, DHEA is of limited use as an impotence fighter.

Ginkgo: While ginkgo is often recommended as an impotence treatment, no hard evidence exists that it has any effect on erectile dysfunction. Ginkgo can affect blood clotting, and people taking prescription blood thinners should avoid taking any supplement containing ginkgo.

Ginseng: Traditionally used asan aphrodisiac in Eastern Countries, ginseng does have certain energy-raising properties. Whether it has a direct effect on impotence or not has yet to be determined.

L Arginine: L arginine is an amino acid that increases the levels of nitric oxide in the bloodstream. Nitrous oxide increases blood flow, which is necessary for an erection. In theory, at least, L arginine should help treat impotence, but little real research has been done. The amino acid is often mixed in supplements with ginseng and ginkgo.

Maca Root: The root of a Peruvian vegetable, maca root has improved erectile function in male lab rats, and seemed to have an effect on the rats’ libido. It has not been tested on humans.

Muira Puama: Muira puama is an extract from a Brazilian bush. The extract has been used as an aphrodisiac in Brazil for many years. Few studies have been conducted on muira puama, and those that have been done did not include placebo test subjects. Any claims that the extract aids in maintaining erections are, therefore, unreliable.

Resources

Center for Urological Care. (nd). Penile injection therapy. Retrieved September 15, 2002, from www.erectiledysfunction.org/injection.html.

Kreutz, S. (2002). Prostaglandins: Hormone-like substances with great potential. Retrieved September 26, 2002, from www.prostaglandin.net.

Mayo Clinic. (2002). Testosterone replacement therapy: Effective treatments are available. Retrieved September 25, 2002, from www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?id=MC00004.

Mirkin, G. (1999). DHEA to treat impotence. Retrieved September 25, 2002, from www.drmirkin.com/men/7782.html.

National Library of Medicine. (updated 2001). Testosterone transdermal system. Retrieved September 25, 2002, from www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/medmaster/a601118.html.

Schardt, D. (2000). Peddling potency. Nutrition Action Healthletter. Retrieved September 25, 2002, from www.findarticles.com/cf_0/m0813/6_27/63771740/p1/article.jhtml?term=muira puama.