Korean red ginseng, also known as Asian ginseng or Chinese ginseng, is believed to be a highly effective natural remedy for treating ED. It is a traditional Asian remedy for sexual dysfunction and is widely used in the United States. Studies have shown that red ginseng can have significant therapeutic effects on penile rigidity and girth, libido, and patient satisfaction. It also has a reassuring safety profile, making it one of the most popular and proven natural remedy for ED.12

For centuries, men have tried all sorts of natural remedies for erectile dysfunction (ED) -- the repeated inability to get or maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. But do they really work? It is simply not scientifically known at this point. Furthermore, you take these remedies at your own risk, because their safety profiles have not been established. What follows are commentaries by experts and reviews in the field of alternative treatments that are available over the counter for erectile dysfunction and impotence.


Pomegranate juice. Drinking antioxidant-rich pomegranate juice has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including a reduced risk for heart disease and high blood pressure. Does pomegranate juice also protect against ED? No proof exists, but results of a study published in 2007 were promising. The authors of this small-scale pilot study called for additional research, saying that larger-scale studies might prove pomegranate juice's effectiveness against erectile dysfunction. "I tell my patients to drink it," says Espinosa. "It could help ED, and even if it doesn't, it has other health benefits."
A cold slice of watermelon can do more than just satisfy thirst and hunger during the warm summer months; it can help with bedroom satisfaction. Citrulline, the amino acid found in high concentrations of watermelon, is found to improve blood flow to the penis. A 2011 study revealed men who suffered from mild to moderate ED and took L-citrulline supplementation showed an improvement with their erectile function and were very satisfied. Natural watermelon juice, or “nature’s Viagra,” can also be easier on the stomach, since taking pills like Viagra can cause nausea and diarrhea.
To achieve and maintain an erection, healthy blood vessels and an optimum blood flow are essential. Significantly, therefore, Dr. Rath’s research has proven that specific micronutrients play key roles in maintaining the structural integrity of blood vessels and optimizing blood flow. Such micronutrients include vitamins C and E, the amino acids lysine and proline, and the mineral copper.

The diagnosis of erectile dysfunction requires a comprehensive sexual and medical history that include a validated questionnaire, the Sexual Health Inventory for Men (SHIM), and asking if they experience a rigid erection at night, in the morning, or during masturbatory approaches. The presence of rigid morning or night erections, or rigid erections at any sexual thought suggests a mainly psychogenic cause. Conversely, erectile dysfunction with a gradual onset, progressive course, or long duration suggests a predominantly organic cause.


A 2011 study of 160 men with moderate or severe erectile dysfunction divided the group in two—80 men were given niacin supplements, and 80 a placebo. The group given niacin reported improved ability to “maintain an erection versus the control group.” It’s not exhaustive research, but still promising. The best part about niacin is that it’s naturally found in foods like turkey, avocado, and peanuts (yum). If you’re not a turkey sandwich fan, you can supplement with a vitamin B complex.

The polyphenol- and antioxidant-rich pomegranate is said to aid blood circulation, help reduce stress, reduce oxidative stress in diabetics, is anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and much more. It is also believed to effectively protect men against erectile dysfunction and even male infertility. A study using a rabbit model of ED measured the effect of pomegranate juice concentrate on intracavernous blood flow and penile erection. The study found that consuming 3.87 mL pomegranate juice concentrate daily for eight weeks significantly increased intracavernous blood flow and smooth muscle relaxation, probably because of its antioxidant effect. No wonder then that pomegranate juice is yet another popular natural remedy for ED.11
Shindel, A. W., Xin, Z.-C., Lin, G., Fandel, T. M., Huang, Y.-C., Banie, L., … Lue, T. F. (2010, February 5). Erectogenic and neurotrophic effects of icariin, a purified extract of horny goat weed (Epimedium spp.) in vitro and in vivo. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 7(4), 1518-1528. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01699.x/full
27. Haahr MK, Jensen CH, Toyserkani NM, et al. Safety and Potential Effect of a Single Intracavernous Injection of Autologous Adipose-Derived Regenerative Cells in Patients with Erectile Dysfunction Following Radical Prostatectomy: An Open-Label Phase I Clinical Trial. EBioMedicine 2016;5:204-10. 10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.01.024 [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef]
There have been some studies to suggest that a placebo effect that improves ED may work for some men. One study found that men taking an oral placebo pill showed as much improvement in ED symptoms as men who took actual medication to improve ED. Conversely, men who were given therapeutic suggestions to improve ED did not see signs of symptom improvement.
Ginseng, specifically “red ginseng,” is known as the “herbal Viagra” that helps puts to rest men’s bedroom woes. Red ginseng is when the root has been steamed and then dried. The ginseng root is the part of the plant that is mostly used as a natural remedy when in its supplement form. However, the plant must be grown for a minimum of five years before it can be used. In a 2008 review, seven studies on red ginseng and ED, ranging in dosages from 600 to 1,000 milligrams three times a day, were found to provide evidence for the effectiveness of the herb in ED treatment.

The Aztecs referred to avocados as testicles because of their scrotum-like appearance. They were onto something. The green fruit is rich in potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin E, nutrients that have been associated with increased libido. Plus, avocados’ good monounsaturated fats protect your heart and boost circulation, while their abundant minerals and carotenoids supply energy and stamina. For some creative ways to consume the fruit, check out our 10 avocado recipes for weight loss.
Ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo is an herb that is used in Chinese medicine that’s thought to improve blood flow. "Any ED treatment that improves blood flow may help," explains Dr. Harris. "An erection is just blood in and blood out." However, the evidence that ginkgo can improve blood flow in ED is limited, and most experts say the jury is still out. In addition, ginkgo can increase the risk for bleeding problems if combined with certain medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin).
I developed joint and muscle pain, periods of extreme fatigue, skin reactions, sun sensitivity, my blood pressure became above normal for the first time in my life, I have developed metabolic syndrome, high blood sugar (as in pre-diabetes), erectile dysfunction, recurring welt-like mouth and cheek sores, lots of gum loss, and bone thinning! I struggle with energy and motivation issues, and I often feel like my lungs burn when I workout or do aerobic exercise.
Ginkgo Biloba is promoted to treat conditions ranging from hypertension to Alzheimer’s dementia. There is evidence that shows improvement of memory enhancements in the geriatric population (47), improvement in terms of cognitive function via effect on cerebral vasculature (48), improvement of claudication distance and cutaneous ulcers in patients with peripheral vascular disease (49). Ginkgo Biloba extract is proposed to induce NO in endothelial cells and thus causing relaxation of vascular smooth muscles. Animal studies have reported relaxation of rabbit corpus cavernosal smooth muscle cells with the use of Ginkgo Biloba (50). Adverse effects include headaches, major bleeding (in patient who are taking warfarin concurrently) and seizures with reported fatality (36).

Despite the name, horny goat weed actually helps improve your erection, not libido.  Botanically known as epimedium, this herb has been used by the Chinese for centuries to treat, among other things, low libido and erectile dysfunction. “A growing body of research shows that isolated icariin—the extract of epimedium—inhibits the enzyme phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) and significantly increases nitric oxide synthase, helping to improve erectile function,” says Fisch. In fact, this is the same mechanism that Viagra works through (but the herb comes with a way better name).
Erectile problems can sometimes be linked to cardiovascular issues. If your heart isn't in full health, your sex life maybe suffering as result. Men who suffer with moderate to severe erection problems have significantly lower levels of folic acid than guys without the issue. The B vitamin has been shown to work with nitric oxide which would explain why an absence of it would lead to problems in the manhood. This seems to help with erectile dysfunction more than some medications. Treatment with folic acid resulted in men having an increase in their erectile strength.
Despite the name, horny goat weed actually helps improve your erection, not libido.  Botanically known as epimedium, this herb has been used by the Chinese for centuries to treat, among other things, low libido and erectile dysfunction. “A growing body of research shows that isolated icariin—the extract of epimedium—inhibits the enzyme phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) and significantly increases nitric oxide synthase, helping to improve erectile function,” says Fisch. In fact, this is the same mechanism that Viagra works through (but the herb comes with a way better name).
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A daily dose of niacin improves erectile function, particularly in men with high cholesterol, according to a 2011 study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. The vitamin helps increase blood flow and reduce inflammation—one of the underlying causes of both high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction. “Vitamin B3 is also used to make sex hormones and other important chemical-signal molecules,” says Fisch. Like many of the others on our list, this tablet is most powerful when taken in conjunction with others: A cocktail of propionyl, L-carnitine, L-arginine, and niacin taken for three months improved 40% of erections in a study from researchers at Sapienza University of Rome in Italy.
Another natural treatment for erectile dysfunction to consider would be vitamin E. This is a vitamin that has been linked to chronic diseases in the past due to the antioxidant effects of this vitamin. Considering ED could be a manifestation of another chronic condition, it makes sense that vitamin E may have a role in reducing the symptoms of the disease. As a person ages, it is natural for the body to undergo more oxidative stress and damage as cells do not function as well as they once did. Rats who were given supplemental vitamin E were found to have reduced levels of oxidative damage to their tissues and had levels of NO and other factors that help induce an erection more similar to younger rats compared to rats without vitamin E supplementation. If patients incorporate vitamin E into their vitamins and dietary supplements for ED, their ED should improve. [9]

With drug therapy, there’s a risk of side effects such as headaches, back pain or an upset stomach. Before taking any medication for erectile dysfunction it is important to ensure your doctor is ok with that decision. Medication may not work for all men, for instance, if you have diabetes or have previously had prostate surgery. ED medication might also have serious risks if you’re currently taking nitrates (commonly prescribed for chest pain), have heart disease or have low blood pressure.22
By far the most common cause of ED is vascular dysfunction. When the arteries that supply the penis with blood to achieve and maintain an erection are blocked or hardened, or the lining of these arteries are damaged, blood flow is reduced. Vascular dysfunction not only affects the small arteries of the penis, but the larger coronary arteries of the heart too. Astute doctors now recognize that ED may actually be an early warning sign of impending cardiovascular disease, showing up several years before a cardiovascular event like a heart attack or stroke.2 To maintain healthy vascular function, and in turn, normal erectile function, consider these supplements:
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as the persistent inability to attain and maintain an erection that is sufficient to permit satisfactory sexual performance (1). The current pharmaco-therapeutic research in ED focuses on underlying endothelial dysfunction as the root cause for ED and introduction of phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors to potentiate nitric oxide (NO) action and cavernosal smooth muscle vasodilation, has revolutionized modern ED treatment over the past two decades (2). In contrast to Western Medicine, the traditional and complementary medicine (TCM) aims at restoration and better overall bodily regulation with medicine to invigorate qi (energy) in vital organs such as kidney, spleen and liver; to enhance physical fitness, increase sexual drive, stabilize the mind and improve the overall situation resulting in natural and harmonious sexual life (3).
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]
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