It hits where it hurts the most – your member. Erectile dysfunction or ED is a spoiler in bed and can shatter your ego irreparably. ED, also called impotence, is the inability of a man to achieve and maintain an erection sufficient to permit satisfactory sexual intercourse.1 Men who cannot get or maintain an erection that lasts long enough or is rigid enough to complete sexual intercourse are considered to have erectile dysfunction.
It is way common than you would think. One in five men reports consistent and repeated problems in sustaining an erection. And this number increases with age. It has been estimated that about 30 million men in the United States are affected by ED.
While there are many forms of sexual dysfunctions, ED refers specifically to problems in achieving or maintaining an erection. Men with ED often have no issues with their libido, yet their bodies fail to respond. In most cases, there is a physical basis for ED. However, close to 70 percent do not seek medical aid.2
What Could Cause It?
To understand the physiology of erectile dysfunction, we need to know erection first. An erection occurs when impulses from the brain and genital nerves cause blood to fill the two chambers known as the corpora cavernosa in the male penis. This causes the penis to expand and stiffen. Anything that blocks these impulses or restricts blood flow to the penis can result in ED. This block may be caused by psychological, neurologic, hormonal, arterial, or cavernosal impairment or even from a combination of all these factors.3
Diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, kidney disease, obesity, multiple sclerosis, and depression, and activities like bicycling, smoking, alcohol or drug abuse can impair blood flow or nerve impulses throughout the body. Surgery, as well as certain medications, can also result in ED. However, this may be a temporary problem.4
How Would You Know If You Have ED?
Symptoms Of ED Include:
- Erections that are too soft for sexual intercourse
- Erections that are too brief for sexual intercourse
- Inability to achieve erections
Can It Be Treated?
ED is often treated with psychotherapy, behavior modification techniques, oral medications, locally injected drugs, vacuum devices, and sometimes even surgically implanted devices. In rare cases, surgery of the blood vessels may be necessary. In most cases, even when a physical cause is identified, emotional or psychological factors play a role as well.
The field of ED treatment has undergone considerable changes in recent times. New diagnostic tests, as well as treatments such as intracavernosal injection of vasoactive agents, vascular reconstructive surgery, and vacuum erection devices, have been added along with options of hormonal therapy, psychological counseling, and penile implants.5
Natural Remedies To Treat Erectile Dysfunction
Even as medical science is taking leaps and bounds in the field of ED, there are many who do not seek medical assistance to cure it. This may be due to factors like fear, stigma, the expense involved, etc. Here are some top natural remedies that can help with your ED problem.
One of the natural ED cures is garlic. Studies show that allicin, a component derived from garlic, helps improve blood flow. Consequently, this can help deal with erectile dysfunction.6 It also offers some protection against testicular oxidative damage and spermiotoxicity.7
- Chew three to four cloves of garlic daily. Do this for three to four months.
- Heat a few garlic cloves with a little bit of clarified butter on low flame. Wait for the garlic to turn golden brown. Eat these garlic cloves daily.
- Mix together one teaspoon each of garlic powder and cayenne pepper powder. Have it with water a few hours before going to bed. Repeat daily.
Like garlic, onions too help treat ED. In a study conducted on male rats, fresh onion juice was found to have improved copulatory behavior and cured medicine-induced sexual dysfunction.8 They are also believed to help treat involuntary loss of semen during sleep or other times. Studies also show that like garlic, onions too offer some protection against testicular oxidative damage and spermiotoxicity.9
- Slice one or two large white onions. Fry the slices in clarified butter on low flame until they turn brown. Eat them with one tablespoon of honey before having dinner. Repeat daily for about a month.
- Alternatively, finely chop two large onions and steep them for 10 minutes in two cups of warm water. Drink half a cup of this liquid three times daily. Do this for one month.
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
- Make a juice by blending three medium-sized carrots, three celery stalks, half of a medium-sized beetroot and one to two garlic cloves in a juicer. Drink a glass of this juice once or twice daily.
- Drink a glass of warm milk along with two tablespoons of grated carrot.
- Include raw carrots in your daily diet.
4. Pomegranate Juice
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
- Drink a glass of pomegranate juice daily.
- You can also take pomegranate supplements. Do consult your doctor before taking supplements.
5. Korean Red Ginseng
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
- Recommended dosage for Korean red ginseng is between 600 and 1000 mg three times daily.
Note: It is best to discuss with your doctor before taking Korean Red Ginseng as it can interact with other drugs and may cause allergic reactions.
Nitric oxide (NO) is believed to be a principal mediator in penile erection, acting both as a neurotransmitter released in the nerve terminals of the penis and as a vasodilator of the smooth muscle of penile arteries. NO is derived from the terminal guanidine group of l-arginine by nitric oxide synthase.13
- Take 5 grams of L-arginine daily for noticeable improvement. Consult your doctor before starting this regimen.
- Eat protein-rich foods like meat, chicken, fish, peas, and nuts and seeds that contain L-arginine in high amounts.
- You can also take L-arginine supplements after consulting your doctor.
Yet another good natural home remedy for ED is ginger. While it is widely believed to possess aphrodisiac properties that help relieve impotency and premature ejaculation, studies have revealed that ginger is effective in stimulating blood circulation.14
- Mix half teaspoon of ginger juice and one tablespoon of honey with one soft-boiled egg. Eat this mixture once a day before going to bed. Do this for a month.
- Prepare a mixture of two teaspoons each of ginger paste and honey. Have it three times a day. Do this for one or two months.
- Drink two or three cups of ginger tea every day.
There are certain vitamins that are effective remedies for erectile dysfunction because they increase the blood flow in the body. Niacin (vitamin B3)15, vitamin E 16, vitamin K, and ascorbic acid (vitamin C)17 are some such.
Another age-old therapy for ED is acupuncture. This is an ancient Chinese treatment where thin needles are inserted into specific points of the body to relieve all kinds of illnesses. Acupuncture has been used to treat ED for years. Studies show that acupuncture improves erection as well as in the treatment of erectile dysfunction with psychological cause.18
Note: Those opting for this treatment should ensure to have it done by a trained practitioner.
Your Doubts Answered
|↑1, ↑3||Lue, Tom F. “Erectile dysfunction.” New England Journal of Medicine 342, no. 24 (2000): 1802-1813.|
|↑2||Kubin, Maria, Gorm Wagner, and Axel R. Fugl-Meyer. “Epidemiology of erectile dysfunction.” International Journal of Impotence Research 15, no. 1 (2003): 63-71.|
|↑4||Kubin, Maria, Gorm Wagner, and Axel R. Fugl-Meyer. “Epidemiology of erectile dysfunction.” International Journal of Impotence Research 15, no. 1 (2003): 63-71.|
|↑5||Krane, Robert J., Irwin Goldstein, and Iñigo Saenz de Tejada. “Impotence.” New England Journal of Medicine 321, no. 24 (1989): 1648-1659.|
|↑6||Yang, Jun, Tao Wang, K. Rao, Y. Zhan, R‐B. Chen, Z. Liu, M‐C. Li et al. “S‐allyl cysteine restores erectile function through inhibition of reactive oxygen species generation in diabetic rats.” Andrology 1, no. 3 (2013): 487-494.|
|↑7||Ola-Mudathir, Kikelomo F., Stephen M. Suru, Michael A. Fafunso, Udoka E. Obioha, and Toyin Y. Faremi. “Protective roles of onion and garlic extracts on cadmium-induced changes in sperm characteristics and testicular oxidative damage in rats.” Food and chemical toxicology 46, no. 12 (2008): 3604-3611.|
|↑8||Allouh, Mohammed Z., Haytham M. Daradka, Mohammed M. Al Barbarawi, and Ayman G. Mustafa. “Fresh onion juice enhanced copulatory behavior in male rats with and without paroxetine-induced sexual dysfunction.” Experimental Biology and Medicine 239, no. 2 (2014): 177-182.|
|↑9||Ola-Mudathir, Kikelomo F., Stephen M. Suru, Michael A. Fafunso, Udoka E. Obioha, and Toyin Y. Faremi. “Protective roles of onion and garlic extracts on cadmium-induced changes in sperm characteristics and testicular oxidative damage in rats.” Food and chemical toxicology 46, no. 12 (2008): 3604-3611.|
|↑10||da Silva Dias, João Carlos. “Nutritional and health benefits of carrots and their seed extracts.” Food and Nutrition Sciences 5, no. 22 (2014): 2147.|
|↑11||Jurenka, Julie. “Therapeutic applications of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.): a review.” Alternative medicine review 13, no. 2 (2008): 128.|
|↑12||Choi, H. K., D. H. Seong, and K. H. Rha. “Clinical efficacy of Korean red ginseng for erectile dysfunction.” International journal of impotence research 7, no. 3 (1995): 181-186.|
|↑13||Chen, J., Y. Wollman, T. Chernichovsky, A. Iaina, M. Sofer, and H. Matzkin. “Effect of oral administration of high-dose nitric oxide donor L-arginine in men with organic erectile dysfunction: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study.” BJU int 83, no. 3 (1999): 269-73.|
|↑14||Baek, Seung-Hwa, Jong-Hyun Han, and Sung-Hye Park. “Effects in blood pressure and cerebral blood flow with green ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) and development of health drink by using it.” Journal of the Korean Society of Food Culture 19, no. 2 (2004): 150-157.|
|↑15||Duggal, Jasleen K., Mukesh Singh, Navneet Attri, Param P. Singh, Neyaz Ahmed, Suneet Pahwa, Janos Molnar, Sarabjeet Singh, Sandeep Khosla, and Rohit Arora. “Effect of niacin therapy on cardiovascular outcomes in patients with coronary artery disease.” Journal of cardiovascular pharmacology and therapeutics (2010).|
|↑16||Bursell, Sven-Erik, Allen C. Clermont, Lloyd Paul Aiello, Lloyd M. Aiello, Deborah K. Schlossman, Edward P. Feener, Lori Laffel, and George L. King. “High-dose vitamin E supplementation normalizes retinal blood flow and creatinine clearance in patients with type 1 diabetes.” Diabetes care 22, no. 8 (1999): 1245-1251.|
|↑17||Ting, Henry H., Farris K. Timimi, Kimberly S. Boles, Shelly J. Creager, Peter Ganz, and Mark A. Creager. “Vitamin C improves endothelium-dependent vasodilation in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.” Journal of Clinical Investigation 97, no. 1 (1996): 22.|
|↑18||Engelhardt, P. F., L. K. Daha, T. Zils, R. Simak, K. König, and H. Pflüger. “Acupuncture in the treatment of psychogenic erectile dysfunction: first results of a prospective randomized placebo-controlled study.” International journal of impotence research 15, no. 5 (2003): 343-346.|