Impotence Investigation: Do Herbal Sex Supplements Work?

Both men and women experience sexual health problems, which can have a knock-on effect on the rest of your wellness. Your sex life plays an important role in your relationship, not to mention your overall sense of wellbeing, which is why many people turn to all kinds of methods to get their arousal and performance back on track. Herbal supplements are a prime favourite with those wanting to boost their sexual experience without going the medical Viagra route, but do they actually work, and are they safe?


According to Marc Bonnard, MD, a psychiatrist specializing in sex therapy and the author of The Viagra Alternative, certain herbs may actually have an advantage over pharmaceutical alternatives. He writes, ‘Herbs work in a more leisurely fashion,’ replacing the balance between your mind and body that is ‘so important for a positive sexual experience.’ Certain physiological functions – such as hormonal imbalances and poor circulation – contribute to sexual dysfunction, and alternative treatments aim to fix these faulty functions. However, even though this supplements are marketed as “all-natural” and you don’t need a prescription, Bonnard, like other experts, warns that these products are potentially potent and can have toxic side effects. That said, let’s take a closer look at some of the herbal ingredients you’ll find in popular sexual supplements:


1. Damiana: The leaves and stems of the damiana plant are used as an aphrodisiac in Mexico, but here in the UK you can get the sex-boosting plant in tablet form. You can also prepare the dry leaves in a tea, but the Mayo Clinic does warn that the product has not been tested in humans – so tread with caution.


2. DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone): Your adrenal glands produce this hormone naturally, which aids in the production of sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen. In men with low testosterone levels, some small studies have shown promise in helping these participants improve their sexual function. However, you can only blame a small number of impotence problems on low testosterone.


3. Ginkgo: Bonnard points out that ginkgo seeds and leaves can help men with erectile dysfunction by getting ‘the blood flowing to the right spots.’ Yet the Mayo Clinic counters that there is not solid evidence to show that ginkgo works effectively against impotence. Moreover, both Bonnard and the Mayo Clinic agree that the plant can be dangerous, especially if you are on prescription blood-thinning medication. This is because gingko can affect the clotting of your blood.


4. Ginseng: Used as an aphrodisiac in Asia, this aromatic root is used as and has been shown to have some energy-boosting properties, albeit without any evidence to prove that ginseng has a direct impact on impotence. However, we could all use a little more energy in the bedroom, so use this dried root in powder or liquid form, or prepared as a tea to be sipped slowly.


5. Kava: While Bonnard admits that kava probably won’t do the trick for cases of ‘true ED,’ the root has a positive effect on your mood, which may help to resolve your sexual troubles – such as low libido – that are affected by stress and your emotions.


6. L-Arginine: This is an amino acid found naturally in fish, peanuts and beans. L-arginine works to increase the amounts of nitric oxide in your bloodstream, which, in turn, increases your blood flow. While little scientific research into this amino acid has been undertaken, L-arginine should work against impotence, theoretically speaking, as an erection requires blood flow to the penis.


7. Maca Root. This Peruvian herb has been shown to improve the penis functon in male lab rats, and anecdotal reports from men assert that it can jump-start your sexual systems. However, it is yet to be tested in humans.

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