Generally speaking, research studies have been demonstrating that Chinese herbs can effectively treat erectile dysfunction (Xiong, Li, Wang, & Li, 2014). The greatest issue is that erectile dysfunction is a complex condition and has many possible causes. The causes may include low hormonal levels, diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, hypertension, prostate and heart issues, to name a few, as well as many psychological causes, such as stress, depression, and other social and/or psychological elements (Goel & Maurya, 2020). Pharmacological treatments of erectile dysfunction have been successful, but they are accompanied by significant side effects. Many patients, therefore, look for alternative treatment methods, particularly those with few side effects, either temporarily or permanently, when it may be possible. And oftentimes, it may (Ciocanel, Power, & Eriksen, 2019).
Combining Therapies for Erectile Dysfunction
Research has increasingly more been showing that combining different treatment methods can be more effective than each individual therapeutic approach alone, and it is also true about using Chinese herbs to treat erectile dysfunction. One review of research studies therefore declares that “When acupuncture plus herbal medicine compared with herbal medicine alone, the combination therapy showed significant better improvement in erectile function” (Lai et al., 2019). Certain herbs have appeared to be effective for erectile dysfunction caused by a specific underlying condition. For example, “fermentation can increase the composition of main active ingredients in Gynochthodes officinalis and enhance its role in diabetic erectile dysfunction” (Liu et al., 2023). While single Chinese herbs almost never used for treatment—herbs are traditionally used in strategic combinations, so they would enhance each other’s therapeutic effects and reduce side effects—it may be important to know how to increase an individual herb’s potency.
Using Herbs for Erectile Dysfunction
Oftentimes, people consider herbs as harmless and take them in varying doses, which can lead to adverse side effects. Another big problem is combining herbs with medications. Fortunately, incorrect combinations rarely cause life-threatening side effects, but they can cause significant damage. More specifically, because herbs, unlike medications, vary in purity and potency, “drugs with narrow therapeutic index and plants which can affect drug metabolizing enzymes when used together, may lead to unpredictable adverse reactions” (Başaran, Paslı, & Başaran, 2022).
- Başaran, N., Paslı, D., & Başaran, A. A. (2022). Unpredictable adverse effects of herbal products. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 159, 112762.
- Ciocanel, O., Power, K., & Eriksen, A. (2019). Interventions to treat erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation: an overview of systematic reviews. Sexual medicine, 7(3), 251-269.
- Goel, B., & Maurya, N. K. (2020). Aphrodisiac Herbal therapy for Erectile Dysfunction. Archives of Pharmacy Practice, 11(1).
- Lai, B. Y., Cao, H. J., Yang, G. Y., Jia, L. Y., Grant, S., Fei, Y. T., … & Liu, J. P. (2019). Acupuncture for treatment of erectile dysfunction: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The World Journal of Men’s Health, 37(3), 322.
- Liu, S., Li, K., Zhao, Y., Wang, W., Bao, J., Wang, X., … & Fu, Q. (2023). Fermented Gynochthodes officinalis (FC How) Razafim. & B. Bremer alleviates diabetic erectile dysfunction by attenuating oxidative stress and regulating PI3K/Akt/eNOS pathway. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 307, 116249.
- Xiong, G., Li, B., Wang, K., & Li, H. (2014). Chinese herb formulae for treatment of erectile dysfunction: a systematic review of randomised controlled clinical trials. Andrologia, 46(3), 201-223.