July 1, 2009 -- Question: Are there any beneficial herbal products or supplements for erectile dysfunction?
Answer: Erectile dysfunction is a problem that has really, obviously taken a lot of attention because of the advent of Viagra and other similar medications. So, a lot of men come in asking for herbal alternatives to help with erectile dysfunction and interestingly there is a handful that seem to be very helpful.
One is Panax ginseng taken at about 500 milligrams three times a day, which may be helpful. There's some evidence that that's useful. You have to be careful if you have high blood pressure. Another one is L-arginine and this helps generate nitric oxide, which is the molecule responsible for increasing blood flow to the corpus cavernosum in the penis. And this needs to be taken at a higher dose at one to five grams a day. And this can be found in walnuts, pecans, peanuts and sunflower seeds. And finally, one of the more interestingly named herbs is called horny goat weed, which is called epimedium, and it has an active molecule called icariin, which Italian researchers have been working on in the last year which seems to work potentially even better than Viagra. This needs to be taken at about 2,000 milligrams sixty minutes before sexual activity or about 200 milligrams of the icariin.
And all of these should be followed with input from your medical provider.