Natural remedies for treating erectile dysfunction

By Jenna Fletcher  

Reviewed by Alana Biggers, MD, MPH

Natural remedies | Alternative
treatments | Causes of ED

Some treatments for erectile
dysfunction can include natural herbs and remedies. However, when seeking a
natural remedy, a man should be cautious and understand the possible risks
associated with certain natural cures.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is
the inability of a man to achieve an erection suitable for sexual intercourse.
The condition can be difficult for a man to deal with because it can cause
embarrassment and insecurity due to an inability to perform sexually.
Fortunately for men with ED,
there are a number of medications, treatments, and therapies that may prevent
ED from becoming a long-term condition.
Natural remedies

The most common natural
remedies for ED include those derived from plants and herbs, which some
cultures have used for many years. Although there have been very few studies
conducted on the safety of these natural remedies, some of them have been found
to have side effects that vary from mild to severe.
Some natural remedies include:

  • L-arginine: Some evidence
    suggests high doses of L-arginine improve erectile dysfunction by helping blood
    vessels to open wider, which improves blood flow to the penis. Side effects are
    generally considered mild but may include cramps, diarrhea, and nausea.
    L-arginine should not be taken with Viagra, a prescription drug that treats ED.
  • Propionyl-L-carnitine: Some
    studies show that propionyl-L-carnitine, when combined with Viagra, could
    improve erectile function better than when taking Viagra alone.
    Propionyl-L-carnitine is generally considered safe when used under supervision
    of a doctor.
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA):
    There is some evidence that suggests that DHEA increases libido in women and
    has a positive effect on men with ED. DHEA appears to be safe at low doses,
    however, it may cause acne in some cases.
  • Ginkgo: Ginkgo may increase blood
    flow to the penis, which could improve sexual desire and ED. However, this
    supplement might increase the risk of bleeding. People who are taking blood
    thinners or who have a bleeding disorder should speak to their doctor before
    taking gingko.
  • Ginseng: There are several
    types of ginseng available. Many of them have been shown to have a positive
    effect on ED. Some forms of ginseng may have negative side effects including
  • Yohimbine: The main component
    of an African tree bark, yohimbine is probably one of the most problematic of
    all natural remedies for ED. Some research suggests that yohimbine can improve
    a type of sexual dysfunction that is linked with a drug used to treat
    depression. However, studies have linked yohimbine to a number of side effects,
    which can include anxiety, increased blood pressure, and a fast, irregular
    heartbeat. Like all natural remedies, yohimbine should only be used after
    advice and under supervision from a doctor.
  • Horny goat weed (epimedium):
    Supposedly, there are substances in the leaves of this herb that improve sexual
    performance. Epimedium has not been studied in people, and there are some
    suggestions that it might affect heart function.
Lifestyle changes

Certain activities or lack of
activity can have an impact on ED, so before trying medications or natural
remedies for ED, a man could consider making some lifestyle changes.
Some lifestyle changes to
consider include:

  • Exercising regularly: Regular
    exercise has proven to be effective in improving overall health. For ED, the
    improved blood pressure, blood flow, and overall health benefits may
    drastically reduce the risk of a man having or developing ED.
  • Eating healthful food: In a
    similar way to exercise, eating nutritious food may help reduce the risk of
    heart disease, clogged arteries, and diabetes, which are known risk factors for
  • Quitting smoking and reducing
    alcohol intake:
    Both of these activities bring a number of potential health
    risks, including ED. Reducing or eliminating these activities may help stop ED
  • Reducing stress: A man can
    have issues with sexual performance if he is overly stressed. Stress can come
    from a variety of circumstances including work, finances, and relationship
    troubles. Finding ways to cope with these issues can help reduce stress and may
    improve ED.
  • Continuing to engage in sexual
    Stimulating sexual activities that lead to even partial erections
    may have a positive impact on ED. The increased blood flow to the penis may
    help to stimulate and improve function over time.
Alternative therapies and

Currently, there are few
studies available to suggest the effectiveness of complementary and alternative
therapies and medications. One study compared database samples of different
alternative therapies and medications including acupuncture, ginseng, maca, and
The study indicated that there
is some evidence to suggest that ginseng and yohimbine may offer some benefits
to ED. However, insufficient evidence exists to prove either acupuncture or
maca have a positive impact on ED.
Placebo effect?

There have been some studies
to suggest that a placebo effect that improves ED may work for some men. One
study found that men taking an oral placebo pill showed as much improvement in
ED symptoms as men who took actual medication to improve ED. Conversely, men
who were given therapeutic suggestions to improve ED did not see signs of
symptom improvement.
Medical treatments

Some of the most common
medical treatments for ED are prescription medications that target the problem
area and increase blood flow to the penis.
Commonly prescribed
medications include Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, and Vardenafil. A doctor is the
best person to talk to about possible side effects, treatment, and benefits of
the available medications. If a doctor thinks that a man’s medication is
causing the ED, they may change the medications.
Causes of ED

There are a number of
potential causes of ED for men of nearly all ages, but the chances of
developing ED increase as a man ages.
Causes of ED can include the

  • certain medications
  • chronic illness, such as
    diabetes or multiple sclerosis
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • obesity
  • poor blood flow
  • chronic stress

Like many medical conditions,
there is not necessarily only one means to cure or reduce symptoms of ED. For
men wishing to avoid the use of medication, there are a number of lifestyle
changes that can be tried first, followed by some potential natural remedies
and additional therapies.
It is important for any man
suffering from ED to consider lifestyle changes and talk to a doctor before
starting new medications, herbal remedies, or stopping a prescription
medication suspected of causing ED.
The natural remedies listed in
this article are available for purchase online:

  • Shop for L-arginine
  • Shop for Propionyl-L-carnitine
  • Shop for
    Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
  • Shop for Ginkgo
  • Shop for Ginseng
  • Shop for Yohimbine
  • Shop for Horny goat weed

Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.