Ginkgo biloba. Known primarily as a treatment for cognitive decline, ginkgo has also been used to treat erectile dysfunction -- especially cases caused by the use of certain antidepressant medications. But the evidence isn't very convincing. One 1998 study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy found that it did work. But a more rigorous study, published in Human Pharmacology in 2002, failed to replicate this finding. "Ginkgo has come out of fashion in the past few years," says Ronald Tamler, MD, assistant professor of medicine and codirector of the men's health program at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. "That's because it doesn't do much. I can say that in my practice, I have not seen ginkgo work -- ever."
While carrots have always been touted for their benefits for the eyes, studies reveal that carotenoids, vitamins, and minerals present in carrots act as antioxidants, anticarcinogens, and immune enhancers. Carrots also boast of antihypertensive, hepatoprotective, renoprotective, and wound healing benefits as well as cardio- and hepatoprotective, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects. Studies on male rats have shown that carrots can exert an effect on fertility by elevating testosterone levels in them.10

Yohimbine is an indole alkaloid derived from the bark of the African yohimbe tree (33). Yohimbine has been noted to treat fatigue, depression, diabetes, and sexual dysfunction. A meta-analysis of seven placebo-controlled trials (34) deemed yohimbine superior to placebo for the treatment of ED with rare adverse events. The proposed mechanism of action (35) is via the inhibition of central alpha-2-adrenergic receptors, decreasing central inhibition of arousal, and increasing penile nerve stimulation resulting in increased NO. Common side effects include headache, sweating, agitation, hypertension and insomnia. Contraindications include patients on tricyclic antidepressants, anti-hypertensives and central nervous system stimulants.
It’s no secret that oily coldwater fish like wild salmon, sardines, and tuna are overflowing with omega-3 fatty acids, but here’s something you may not know: The nutrient not only benefits your heart but also raises dopamine levels in the brain. This spike in dopamine improves circulation and blood flow, triggering arousal. There’s more: “Dopamine will make you feel more relaxed and connected to your partner, which makes intercourse more fun,” says Tammy Nelson. Just make sure you’re ordering the right kind by reading this special report: 8 Mistakes You’re Making When Buying Salmon!
Research has even found possible links to frequent ejaculation and a lower risk of prostate cancer. In one study of 32,000 men published in 2016 in the journal European Urology, for example, men who ejaculated at least 21 times per month while in their 20s were less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than those who ejaculated four to seven times per month. And men who ejaculated more often in their 40s were 22 percent less likely to get a prostate cancer diagnosis.
Enlargement of the prostate gland, another condition that occurs with increasing frequency in men as they age, can also cause ED. In a 2012 Swiss study, 82 men with moderate to severe symptoms of prostate enlargement, who were also experiencing problems such as ED or loss of libido, took 320 mg of saw palmetto extract daily for 8 weeks. At the end of the study, the men’s ‘International Prostate Symptom Score’ (IPSS), a method of measuring prostate health based on a questionnaire, was reduced by an average of 51 percent. In addition, their ED, libido, and other sexual functions had also improved by an average of over 40 percent. Unlike the drug approaches used in conventional medicine, which can even cause ED as a side effect, saw palmetto is very effective in treating prostate problems and is free from side effects.

While carrots have always been touted for their benefits for the eyes, studies reveal that carotenoids, vitamins, and minerals present in carrots act as antioxidants, anticarcinogens, and immune enhancers. Carrots also boast of antihypertensive, hepatoprotective, renoprotective, and wound healing benefits as well as cardio- and hepatoprotective, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects. Studies on male rats have shown that carrots can exert an effect on fertility by elevating testosterone levels in them.10


In total, 24 RCTs, including 2080 patients with ED, were identified. Among these, 12 evaluated monopreparations (five ginseng [n = 399], three saffron [n = 397], two Tribulus terrestris [n = 202], and one each Pinus pinaster [n = 21] and Lepidium meyenii [n = 50]), seven evaluated formulations (n = 544), and five investigated dietary supplements in combination with pure compounds (n = 410). Ginseng significantly improved erectile function (International Index of Erectile Function [IIEF]-5 score: 140 ginseng, 96 placebo; standardized mean difference [SMD] 0.43; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.15-0.70; P < 0.01; I2 = 0), P. pinaster and L. meyenii showed very preliminary positive results, and saffron and T. terrestris treatment produced mixed results. Several herbal formulations were associated with a decrease of IIEF-5 or IIEF-15, although the results were preliminary. The quality of the included studies varied, with only seven having a prevalent low risk of bias. The median methodological quality Jadad score was three out of a maximum of five. Adverse events were recorded in 19 of 24 trials, with no significant differences between placebo and verum in placebo-controlled studies.


For obvious reasons, ED can be a sensitive subject, one that until relatively recently men were more likely to try to hide than to deal with. Fortunately, a deeper understanding of the variety of causes of erectile dysfunction has led to medications, therapies, and other treatments that can be more individualized and more likely to be effective—and more open discussion about addressing the concern.
The article discusses erectile dysfunction (ED) with the special emphasis on epidemiology, as well as the currently available medical treatments. Describing treatment methods authors paid special attention to natural therapies (as Panax ginseng, Tribulus terrestris, Vaccinium macrocarpon), because taking into consideration their safety profile, they appear to be an important alternative to therapies with synthetic molecules. From substances of natural origin, extract from the fruit of Tribulus terrestris ranks itself high on in collation at the end. The results of most clinical trials and experiments clearly demonstrate its effectiveness in improving sexual function in men.
On any matter relating to your health or well-being, please check with an appropriate health professional. No statement herein is to be construed as a diagnosis, treatment, preventative, or cure for any disease, disorder or abnormal physical state. The statements herein have not been evaluated by the Foods and Drugs Administration or Health Canada. Dr. Marchione and the doctors on the Bel Marra Health Editorial Team are compensated by Bel Marra Health for their work in creating content, consulting along with formulating and endorsing products.

The development of PDE5-inhibitors is a clear example of how Western medicine approached the problem of ED differently from Eastern medicine. The erectogenic effect of sildenafil (Viagra®) was discovered by accident when patients undergoing heart clinical trials reported better erections as a side effect after taking sildenafil. This observation led to further elucidation of the NO/cGMP signalling pathway and development of PDE5-inhibitors as a first-line therapy in ED (5).
A 2000 study conducted at the Institute of Sexology in (where else?) Paris found that muira puama, a Brazilian shrub traditionally used in South African folk medicine as an aphrodisiac, increased libido in a majority of men who complained of impotence and a lack of desire. Other studies show this happy-making herb also counteracts chronic stress, depression and nervous exhaustion.
Selenium is a trace mineral found in Brazil nuts that plays an important role in hormone health. You only need a tiny bit for healthy sperm, but a tiny deficiency can be catastrophic for reproductive health. In one study, men who had lower testosterone and were infertile also had significantly lower selenium levels than the fertile group. Supplementing with the mineral improved chances of successful conception by 56 percent. And a second study that included 69 infertile men with low levels of the mineral, found selenium supplementation could significantly improve sub-par sperm motility associated with testosterone deficiency. Moreover, 11 percent of the men successfully impregnated their partners during the trial!
While these side effects mainly create discomfort, some individuals are at risk for more serious, even life-threatening reactions to these drugs. Some men have reported fainting after taking impotence medications, and priapism (a painful condition involving an erection that does not subside after more than four hours) has also occurred as an effect of impotence drugs. This condition can lead to permanent nerve damage; injectable drugs may also cause irreversible damage to the penis if used incorrectly.

Erectile dysfunction can occur for various reasons. A health condition, an emotional or relationship problem, a certain medication, smoking, drugs, and alcohol all have the potential to cause ED. Some people want a quick fix, so they rush to their doctor hoping to get medication, not knowing that there are natural home remedies for erectile dysfunction.
While these side effects mainly create discomfort, some individuals are at risk for more serious, even life-threatening reactions to these drugs. Some men have reported fainting after taking impotence medications, and priapism (a painful condition involving an erection that does not subside after more than four hours) has also occurred as an effect of impotence drugs. This condition can lead to permanent nerve damage; injectable drugs may also cause irreversible damage to the penis if used incorrectly.
These drugs facilitate erection by inhibiting the PDE5 enzyme, by blocking the degradation of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) in the cavernous smooth muscles. This inhibition results in the prolonged activity of cGMP, which further decreases intracellular calcium concentrations, maintains smooth muscle relaxation and, hence, results in rigid penile erections. 

Dietary supplements are another avenue that patients can explore when it comes to treating their ED. Many products exist on the market but be warned that they may not have the scientific proof that can support claims of better erections. In one study done on multiple supplements that were proven to not work, it was found that patients found improvement in their ED 25 percent of the time. This suggests that supplements that do not work have a "placebo effect." This means that if a patient believes the medication truly works, he will notice improvements in his symptoms. This is a psychological phenomenon and can also be considered a root of why ED can occur. Depression or anxiety are two common reasons for ED and if patients take supplements that they believe will help them, they may have more confidence in sustaining an erection. [10]
Penile prosthesis implant remains the most effective and permanent treatment for ED. Penile prosthesis implants can be broadly divided into malleable and inflatable prostheses (20). Malleable penile prosthesis, also known as semi-rigid prosthesis, does not allow for (physiological) flaccid state of the penis. The patient can bend the prosthesis upwards for sexual intercourse and downwards for concealment. Although the angle of prosthesis concealment has improved with recent devices, however due to the constant rigid state of the penis, they are still less comfortable compared to their inflatable counterparts, are more likely to cause social embarrassment and associated with higher risk of implant erosions (21). However, malleable prosthesis still has its place for the treatment of ED as these implants are easier to handle, easier to place and would benefit patients with impaired manual dexterity.
A study published in May 2014 in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that some men can reverse erectile dysfunction with healthy lifestyle changes, such as exercise, weight loss, a varied diet, and good sleep. The Australian researchers also showed that even if erectile dysfunction medication is required, it's likely to be more effective if you implement these healthy lifestyle changes.
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