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 Herbal Medicine: Herbs for Male Impotence  

Herbal Programs
I would organize herbal treatments and programs under the following categories, depending on the needs of the individual.

  • Relaxing herbs (when anxiety, tension and poor sleep is a root cause)
  • Aphrodisiacs (to increase sexual desire)
  • Testosterone enhancers (where testosterone levels are low)
  • Circulatory stimulants (when circulation is poor, a person is often cold)
  • Adaptogens (when a person is under a lot of stress)
  • Tonics (blood, vital energy and vital essence, when a person is deficient or weak)

Relaxing Herbs
Because nervousness, tension and even anxiety may play a major role in impotence, relaxing herbs can be of benefit. Herbs such as valerian, passion flower (I like the name), California poppy, lavendar and wild oats can relax without lowering sexual desire. The relaxing herb hops should be avoided, however. Modern studies show that it is estrogenic, and has a long history of use as an anaphrodisiac (lowers sexual desire).

Valerian should be used as a fresh plant liquid extract (1-2 droppers/3 times daily, or as needed). Passion flower is mild, but effective, and is usually combined with other relaxing herbs to enhance their activity. California poppy is one of the best muscle relaxers and scientifici studies show that it can help relieve mild anxiety. In my experience, valerian and California poppy are very effective together. Wild oats is well-known as a mild sexual enhancer and relaxing herb. Use it in liquid extract form (2-3 droppers, made from the fresh spikelets) or as a powdered extract.

Since time immemorial, people have been looking for that magic herb that can strongly increase sexual desire and potency. Unfortunately, there is no one herb that can do miracles, rather there are several that can help build up sexual energy and vitality. Ginseng is probably the best-known aphrodisiac. Although there are many types of ginseng, look for either "red Korean," or "red Chinese" (Kirin) ginsengs. In my experience, these are stronger than white, unprocessed types. Ginseng is especially effective for people over 40 who have weak digestive systems, are not getting enough nourishment and are deficient, and have little or no sexual desire. It should be taken daily (10-15 grams), in combination with some ginger as a tea, liquid extract or powdered extract. To my knowledge, ginseng is one of the only herbs known to stimulate the production or testosterone in the body. In my experience, the following herbs are also worth trying for their aphrodisiacal (is it a word?) properties.

  • Turmeric (powdered extract, liquid extract--1 ddropper 2-3 x daily)
  • Damiana (won't work unless it's very fresh--liquid extract only, 40 drops 3 x daily)
  • Mira puama (German researchers have found some activity, popular in Europe)
  • Ginger (warming, stimulating to the circulation and is mildly aphrodisiac--use it on a regular basis as a tea or liquid extract in a little water)
  • Chocolate (contains the alkaloids theobromine, and small amounts of caffeine)--use the liquid extract, or the unsweetened powder.

Testosterone Enhancers
After a thorough search of the available literature, and from personal experience, I feel that herbs such as sarsaparilla and wild yam, which are often sold in body-building formulas as a testosterone source are highly overrated. Both herbs contain plant sterols, but there is no solid evidence that they either stimulate or supply testosterone in the body. However there is one Mexican study, which I can't confirm, that suggests that sarsaparilla extracts can have this activity. It may be fun to experiment--it isn't bad-tasting, but I'm not giving the story much creedence.

Red Panax ginsengs may be the best bet in this category, and there is one animal study that shows that ginseng extracts can increase blood testosterone levels.

Other herbs that may be helpful in a total herbal program can include circulatory stimulants (ginger, prickly ash bark, turmeric, motherwort), and adaptogens, which also can help support adrenal function (eleuthero, American ginseng, ashwaganda, schisandra).
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 About The Author
Christopher Hobbs LAc, AHG Christopher Hobbs is a fourth generation herbalist and botanist with over 30 years experience with herbs. Founder of Native Herb Custom Extracts (now Rainbow Light Custom Extracts) and the Institute for Natural Products......more
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