Best Ginseng for Erectile Dysfunction
Ginseng is an herbal supplement that offers a ton of health benefits. With centuries’ worth of history in Asia and North America, this small plant with fork-shaped, fleshy roots and oval-shaped leaves contains many natural active compounds that may be helpful in enhancing and restoring health and well-being.
But is it true that ginseng can also help with erectile dysfunction? Can men with problems getting and sustaining erections during sex really see an improvement in their condition by taking ginseng?
Before we look into how ginseng can help with erectile dysfunction, let us first start with the basics.
A brief introduction to ginseng
Ginseng is a popular medicinal herb that has been used in traditional medicine in various cultures over centuries. It is short and has green, oval-shaped leaves, a long stalk, and branching, forked roots. It has several different varieties, but the most well-known are Asian ginseng and American ginseng.
Asian ginseng, which is also known as Panax ginseng, is a species native to the mountains of East Asia. It grows slowly and is typically harvested once it reaches five to six years of age. On the other hand, American ginseng, also known as Panax quinquefolius, is native to the eastern part of North America and is also cultivated in China and exported to other parts of Asia.
What makes these two main ginseng types special is that both contain certain active ingredients that the others do not. Unlike other varieties of ginseng, such as Siberian ginseng and eleuthero, both the Asian and American ginseng varieties contain the two key compounds that make the medicinal capabilities possible --- ginsenosides and gintonin. They just differ in the concentration or levels of these active compounds and their effects on the human body. Asian ginseng has a more stimulating and invigorating effect, while American ginseng offers a more relaxing feeling.
Ginseng as a treatment for erectile dysfunction
Now that you have gotten to know ginseng a little bit, let us move on to what it can do to treat erectile dysfunction.
First of all, what is erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is a medical condition characterized by the inability to get and keep an erection long enough for sexual intercourse. Also called ED, it affects about 1 in 10 adult males and can be caused by a variety of factors, such as neurological disorders (stroke, multiple sclerosis, etc.), psychological issues (depression, stress, PTSD, etc.), vascular disease (narrowed, blocked, or hardened arteries), or physical injuries and trauma. It may also be a potential side effect of taking certain medications, such as diuretics, antidepressants, antiarrhythmics, chemotherapy medications, tranquilizers, and prostate cancer medications. It can be caused by taking certain recreational drugs and substances, such as alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine, too.
To diagnose it, you should see your doctor. Be ready to answer questions about your sexual and personal history. Getting asked about whether or not you get erections in the morning or at night and the duration or quality of your erections can be uncomfortable, but it is important that you answer honestly to help your doctor get a proper diagnosis. Be prepared to go through tests and exams too. Your doctor may need you to get a complete blood count (CBC), urinalysis, thyroid function test, blood hormone test, and more to help them diagnose you accurately.
And, depending on the cause of your erectile dysfunction, your doctor will provide you with the necessary treatment. Treatment options available for ED include oral medications, intraurethral medications, surgery, sex therapy, and penile injections. Your doctor may also recommend ginseng as an alternative treatment.
So, what can ginseng do about erectile dysfunction?
Over the years, studies were conducted to learn about the effectiveness of ginseng as a treatment option for ED. And, according to their findings, ginseng contains compounds that may prevent oxidative stress in the blood vessels and tissues of the penis and help improve penile health and function. Furthermore, ginseng may have the ability to regulate the body’s production of nitric oxide, which is crucial for proper blood circulation and muscle relaxation in the penis.
There was one study that compared the effects of Korean red ginseng and ED medications on men with ED. And, according to the findings, the ED symptoms of men who took Korean red ginseng improved by 60% and the ED symptoms of men who took ED medications only improved by 30%.
There was another study that had 86 male participants with ED take 1,000 milligrams of aged ginseng extract for a period of eight weeks. And, according to the findings, the men showed remarkable improvements in their erectile health and function and reported higher sexual satisfaction.
However, despite these findings, researchers say more studies must be done to get more definitive conclusions about how ginseng can help with erectile dysfunction.
Other health benefits of ginseng
Erectile dysfunction is not the only medical condition that has shown improvement with the help of ginseng. There have also been several studies that focused on finding the effectiveness of ginseng to help with the following:
Inflammation – Ginseng possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can protect against inflammation and boost the cells’ antioxidant capacity. In one study, Korean red ginseng root extract was used on skin cell samples taken from people with eczema and the results showed less inflammation and higher antioxidant activity. In another study, 2 grams of Korean red ginseng were consumed by male participants three times a day for one week and results showed reduced inflammatory markers in the test subjects.
Immunity – Certain studies have found links between ginseng and the prevention and treatment of viruses and certain illnesses. In one research study, ginseng showed potential in helping protect the epithelial cells in the human lung against the flu virus. In another, ginseng was used on cancer patients undergoing chemo or surgery and the findings showed reduced symptoms and better immune functions.
Brain – One study found that patients with Alzheimer’s disease who consumed Korean red ginseng for three months displayed improved function of their frontal lobe. In another study, participants who took Panax ginseng every day for a month experienced improved mood and overall mental health.
Fatigue – Thanks to its active compounds, ginseng has shown promising results in fighting off tiredness and exhaustion and boosting energy levels. In one study, participants who took Panax ginseng daily for four weeks had reduced oxidative stress and less mental and physical fatigue compared to those who took a placebo.
Blood sugar – Both Asian and American ginseng may help manage the blood sugar levels of people with and without diabetes. Through their antioxidant properties, they fight off free radicals and promote insulin production and pancreatic cell function.
Possible risks of ginseng
Even though ginseng is generally safe to consume, it may cause some mild side effects in some people. Among its reported side effects include headaches, stomach and digestive issues, sleep issues, increased heartbeat, and skin allergic reactions.
If taken by people with certain medical conditions (such as diabetes, cancer, and mental disorders), people who are taking certain medications (such as heart medications, antidepressants, blood pressure medications, or diabetes medications), or women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, it may also not be totally safe. It is best to consult your doctor first for your safety.