For decades, men looking for a ‘pick-me-up’ in the bedroom have turned to Viagra, a well-known male enhancement drug, as a solution to erectile dysfunction.
However, this drug is only effective for short while, and after it wears off, the underlying issues causing the problem still remain, demanding a dose every time to achieve results. This is dangerous, as Viagra can cause serious side effects, especially if used long term. As a result, many men have been searching for natural alternatives.
Common side effects of Viagra (sildenafil citrate) include headaches, digestive problems, blurred vision, runny nose, and urinary tract infections. One publicized danger of Viagra is the risk of long erections – sometimes lasting for over 4 hours – which require a trip to the emergency room.
Risks of long-term use, according to the Ottawa Health Research Institute, include headaches, flushing, vision problems and difficulty breathing. Individuals with cardiac issues, hypertension, eye disorders or a history of strokes are especially at risk while taking Viagra, and some instances of heart attack and death have been reported.
Luckily, nature does provide alternatives, used since ancient times before Viagra was an option. The following three herbs have provided men throughout history with positive results.
Muira Puama: An ancient herb hailing from the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, muira puama has been nicknamed ‘potency wood,’ signifying its use as an aphrodisiac and sexual stimulant. The bark and roots of the muira puama plant have been shown to increase sexual desire and improve symptoms of erectile dysfunction, with no known side effects.
In 1994, Dr. Jacques Waynberg, a medical sexologist and author, conducted a study at the Institute of Sexology in Paris to test the effects of muira puama on male sexual vitality and potency. During the two week study, Waynberg and his team gave a daily dose of muira puama extract (1 to 1.5 grams) to 262 men who complained of lacking sexual desire or the inability to have or maintain an erection. After two weeks, 62 percent rated the treatment as ‘dynamic,’ and 52 percent rated it as ‘beneficial.’
Note: Research shows that muira puama is only effective as a prepared tincture in alcohol, as the active ingredients are not water-soluble. Therefore, capsules and tablets containing the powder will likely not have the desired effect.
Search for prepared alcohol tinctures in health food stores, or boil muira puama bark for 20 minutes in alcohol. Also note that it may take several weeks of daily use for full effects to manifest, although some men report significantly increased vitality after two weeks.
Ginkgo Biloba: A tree with a 1500-year history, the ginkgo biloba tree is the national tree of China, and can also be found in the forests of Japan and Korea. In these cultures, gingko nuts are eaten for aphrodisiac purposes.
The leaves are often eaten to enhance memory, but they also increase circulation in all areas of the body. For this reason, many men have seen positive results in sexual function.
In one study of impotence in men, ginkgo biloba was found to have a beneficial effect on 78 percent of the test subjects. Recent research has also found that this herb can improve sexual sensation in women, as well, due to improved blood supply to the sexual organs.
Note: The full benefit of gingko biloba may take up to three months of use to have the desired effect. No reported side effects have been associated with this herb.
Maca Root: Hailing from the high mountains of Peru, Chile, Colombia and Bolivia, there are 130 different species of maca worldwide. It is traditionally used to enhance energy, and has also been shown to increase male sexual performance.
Additionally, studies have found that maca can be beneficial for those with prostate and cognitive disorders, and can increase fertility and provide relief of menopausal symptoms in women.
Jorge Alonso, president of the Latin American Society of Phytomedicine, says, “the experiences of humans with maca have proven positive. For instance, it is very useful for diabetics who tend to have decreased sexual performance. If we compare with Viagra, the results are not as spectacular or fast. But the plant shows a prolonged effect that goes on for many days after the treatment has ended.”
Note: Maca root can be found in powder, capsule, or tincture drop form, but the tinctures have been shown to be the most potent.
Note: If you have hypertension, take extreme caution not to exceed the recommended dosage of maca root.
While herbal Viagra alternatives such as those listed above may take a little bit of extra time to take on full force, your health and long-term vitality will thank you for your patience.
Remember to consult a naturopath if you have any prior health conditions, to make sure you choose the solution that is right for you.
-The Alternative Daily