Impotence or erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to attain or sustain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. When a man is sexually stimulated, this triggers blood vessels in the penis to open up allowing more blood flow into the organ which makes it hard. A valve mechanism near the base of the penis keeps the blood from flowing out again — at least, until sex is over. This is a complex mechanism and many factors can interfere with it.
ED affects around 1 in 10 men. There can be many causes, including physical and psychological factors, or as a side effect to some prescription medicines. For most men though, the cause is deterioration of the arteries. This leads to an inadequate blood flow to the penis. Impotence can be an early warning sign that you are at risk of heart disease.
Therefore the treatment of ED includes lifestyle changes and natural remedies that support cardiovascular health:
- Long-term smoking impacts on your cardiovascular health. Furthermore, Nicotine is known to narrow blood vessels — which is why ED is more common in smokers.
- Aerobic exercise such as walking, running and swimming strengthen the heart and improve circulation. Men who exercise 3-5 hours a week have 30% less risk of having ED (The Harvard Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) published this finding in the “Annals of Internal Medicine” August 5, 2003)
- The herb Ginkgo Biloba contains flavones which have antioxidant properties. It also contains terpene lactones- plant chemicals that reduce the tendency of blood to clot, hence improving blood flow. In an open clinical trial of 60 patients with ED, 50% of the patients regained potency and 25% showed improved arterial blood flow following 6 months of supplementation with 60mg of ginkgo per day. (J Sex Educ Ther 1991; 17: 53-61)
- Korean ginseng – According to traditional Chinese medicine, Korean Ginseng (also known as Panax or Chinese Ginseng) has “heating” properties which are good for improving circulation. It has long been used to improve libido and the ability to maintain an erection. In double-blind clinical trials, sixty per cent of men with erectile dysfunction experienced improvements after taking a ginseng extract (200mg to 500mg a day) for just eight to twelve weeks (Int J Impotence Res 1995; 7: 181-6; J Urol 2002; 168: 2070-3).
- Another traditional herb that has proved itself in clinical trials is Muira Puama, also known as Brazilian potency wood. In a study of 262 patients with erection problems, a daily dose of 1 to 1.5 grams extract for just two weeks increased libido in 62 per cent of men and improved erections for 51 per cent of men (J Urol 1989; 141(6): 1360-3).
- L-Arginine is an amino acid that the body uses to make nitric oxide, a substance that triggers blood vessels to relax and dilate which increases blood flow.
We stock the above remedies and many more that may help improve circulation and improve erectile dysfunction.