Erectile dysfunction (formerly commonly called impotence) is defined as the inability to develop and maintain an erection for satisfactory sexual intercourse or activity. It is considered to be a separate concern from premature ejaculation. There is no universally agreed upon criteria for how consistent the problem has to be and for what duration it needs to be present to fulfill the definition, although three months is often used as a guideline.
In most studies we read, erectile dysfunction will be defined based on a subject’s response to a question related to their own perception of their erections (not the reports of partners). In other words, when he sees it as a problem, it’s a problem! Recent studies have suggested that the prevalence of erectile dysfunction is as high as 1 in 5 men.
It can be caused by stress, diabetes, high blood pressure, medications (side effects) , and numerous other conditions and situations. It can be psychological or physical.
Of course, there are the popular pharmacological aids like Viagra. however, there are also some natural remedies (most of these can be easily found as liquid, tablet, or powder supplements at your local health store or online):
L-arginine is an amino acid that the body uses to make nitric oxide, a substance signals smooth muscle surrounding blood vessels to relax, which dilates the blood vessels and increases blood flow. Relaxation of smooth muscle in the penis allows for enhanced blood flow, leading to an erection.
L-arginine is found naturally in foods such as meat, dairy, poultry and fish. It is also available as oral L-arginine supplements, which some product manufacturers market as a “natural Viagra”).
There have only been two studies to date, however, evaluating the effectiveness of L-arginine for erectile dysfunction.
The herb ginkgo is used for erectile dysfunction, particularly in people who experience sexual dysfunction as a side effect of antidepressant drugs. It appears to relax smooth muscle and enhance blood flow in the penis.
In one study of 60 men with erectile dysfunction, there was a 50 percent success rate after six months of ginkgo treatment. Two additional studies, however, found that ginkgo was no better than a placebo.
Significant depletion of the mineral zinc, associated with long-term use of diuretics, diabetes, digestive disorders, and certain kidney and liver diseases, has been shown to lead to erectile dysfunction. Boosting zinc levels may be beneficial.
The plant maca has a radish-like root that is used as a food and for medicinal purposes.
Although it is unrelated to the ginseng family, maca has been dubbed “Peruvian ginseng” because it is used to increase stamina, energy, and sexual function.
Horny goat weed is a leafy plant that is native to Asia and the Mediterranean region.
Horny goat weed has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine. Horny goat weed also appears to act by inhibiting the PDE-5 enzyme, which is the same way that the popular drug Viagra works.
It has been used in Malaysia for many years by men to increase sexual desire, libido, sexual performance and to treat erectile dysfunction.
Tongkat ali appears to work by increasing levels of the hormone testosterone. Testosterone is primarily responsible for the growth and development of male reproductive organs, including the penis, testicles, scrotum, prostate, and seminal vesicles. Normal testosterone levels maintain energy level, mood, fertility, and sexual desire.
A physician should be consulted before using any of these remedies as some of these have serious side effects or may complicate existing illnesses. We are not experts and this is information to help you have informed discussions with your medical professional.