Is there a natural Viagra? - Does it work?

Herbal alternatives to Viagra and why they may not work for everyone.

Sildenafil sold as Viagra (or generic brands) is a prescription drug used to treat erectile dysfunction. It works by promoting blood flow to the penis.

Although herbal remedies such as Horny Goat Weed, Yohume or red ginseng have been promoted for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, the evidence of their effectiveness is weak at best.

 

Horny Goat Weed

One study found the active ingredient in Horny Goat Weed, icariin, to be effective for treating erectile dysfunction in rats by inhibiting phosphodiesterase 5 – the enzyme that degrades an erection. Another study noted that icariin was a potent inhibitor of phosphodiesterase 5 and was not cytotoxic to human cells. However, potential side effects of Horny Goat Weed include dizziness, nosebleed, and an elevated heartbeat.

 

Yohimbe

Yohimbe is derived from the bark of the Pausinystalia johimbe tree. In a four-week trial, yohimbe was found to be safe and potentially effective for patients with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction. Whilst doses of 5 mg to 15 mg appear to be safe, overdoses are fatal.

 

Red Ginseng

Ginseng is used for a wide range of conditions from cardiovascular disease to the cold and flu. Ginseng may increase the release of endothelial nitric oxide which relaxes the smooth muscles of the penis causing an erection. However, a review of multiple clinical trials for red ginseng was unable to conclusively confirm that the compound is effective in treating erectile dysfunction.

 

Are herbal alternatives to Viagra effective? 

Herbal alternatives to Viagra may be effective for some men suffering erectile function but additional studies are needed. It’s worth remembering that Viagra does have side effects too. These include headaches, dizziness, muscle aches and changes to vision. If you suffer certain health conditions, you should not take herbal or pharmaceutical Viagra.

 

Speak to your doctor before taking any herbal or pharmaceutical Viagra.

 

References

  1. Shindel, A, Z Xin, G Lin, T Fandel, Y Huang, & L Banie et al., "Erectogenic and Neurotrophic Effects of Icariin, a Purified Extract of Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium spp.) In Vitro and In Vivo.". in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 7, 2010, 1518-1528.
  2. Dell’Agli, M, G Galli, E Dal Cero, F Belluti, R Matera, & E Zironi et al., "Potent Inhibition of Human Phosphodiesterase-5 by Icariin Derivatives.". in Journal of Natural Products, 71, 2008, 1513-1517.
  3. Akhondzadeh, S., Amiri, A., & Bagheri, A. H. (2010). Efficacy and Safety of Oral Combination of Yohimbine and L-arginine (SX) for the Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction: a multicenter, randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Iranian journal of psychiatry, 5(1), 1–3.
  4. Anderson, C, D Anderson, N Harre, & N Wade, "Case Study: Two Fatal Case Reports of Acute Yohimbine Intoxication.". in Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 37, 2013, 611-614.
  5. Lee, H. W., Lee, M. S., Kim, T. H., Alraek, T., Zaslawski, C., Kim, J. W., & Moon, D. G. (2017). Ginseng for erectile dysfunction. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2017(5), CD012654. https//doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD012654
  6. Jang, D. J., Lee, M. S., Shin, B. C., Lee, Y. C., & Ernst, E. (2008). Red ginseng for treating erectile dysfunction: a systematic review. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 66(4), 444–450. https//doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2125.2008.03236.x
  7. "Buy Sildenafil (Generic Viagra) Online - US Pharmacy | Medzino". in , , 2019, <https://www.medzino.com/us/erectile-dysfunction/sildenafil-generic-viagra/> [accessed 2 October 2019].

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