Herbal Supplements Used for Erectile Dysfunction

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Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, is a common sexual disorder characterized by the inability to get and maintain an erection. The U.K. National Health Service’s website, NHS Choices, estimates that 50 percent of men between 40 and 70 years of age will experience erectile dysfunction one or more times. There are a number of causes of erectile dysfunction including diabetes, heart disease, stress and depression. Treatment for erectile dysfunction depends on what caused it, but drugs known as PDE-5 inhibitors, which increase blood flow to the penis, are sometimes prescribed. Some herbs may also help alleviate erectile problems. Talk to your health care provider before using…

Administration

The leaves of the ginkgo biloba tree and the bark of the yohimbe tree are used to make herbal supplements that may be taken in capsules, pills and as teas. The UMMC recommends taking 50 milligrams to 100 milligrams of ginkgo biloba daily, although this is a guideline only. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, or NCCAM, the amount of yohimbe in herbal products varies widely. As such, speak to your doctor about how much yohimbe you should take.

Efficacy

According to the NCCAM, although yohimbe is often used for erectile dysfunction, there have been no clinical studies to establish how effective it is. The results of a study published in the December 2004 issue of Human Psychopharmacology found that ginkgo biloba reduced antidepressant-related sexual dysfunction in some men who took the herb. However, David Wheatley, the study’s author, concluded that the results were not statistically significant.

Side Effects

Like all herbs, ginkgo biloba and yohimbe may cause a number of side effects. MedlinePlus notes that ginkgo biloba is likely safe for most adults but may cause headache, constipation, an upset stomach and skin rashes. Yohimbe may cause a number of side effects such as high blood pressure, tremor and insomnia. The NCCAM reported that yohimbe is dangerous if taken in large doses over long periods.

Contraindications

Do not take yohimbe if you are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors as it may increase their effects. Talk to your doctor before using this herb if you are taking drugs for high blood pressure or phenothiazines. The NCCAM states that this herb is not suitable for people with psychiatric disorders and kidney problems. Do not use ginkgo biloba if you have a bleeding disorder or diabetes. Avoid this herb if you have ever suffered a seizure.

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