Sexual dysfunction encompasses a variety of embarrassing or unpleasant symptoms that affect the most intimate time you spend with your partner. Premature or delayed ejaculation and erectile dysfunction can be problematic for men, while women may experience vaginal dryness and waning sexual desire. The University of Maryland Medical Center says sexual dysfunction can have a physiological or psychological cause–or sometimes both. Herbal remedies may enhance your sex life, but the UMMC stresses the importance of working with your doctor to make sure your problem is diagnosed correctly before using complementary and/or alternative therapies.
The leaves of the ginkgo biloba tree have been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Although its effects haven’t been studied extensively, one of its suggested uses is for circulatory disorders, so it may be beneficial for men experiencing sexual dysfunction, says the UMMC. Ginkgo may make blood-thinning medications even stronger, so if you’re using one, talk to your doctor before trying ginkgo.
Saw Palmetto and Pygeum Africanum
A combination of saw palmetto and Pygeum africanum may be beneficial for men whose sexual dysfunction is related to prostate problems, says the UMMC. The University of Michigan Health System says from the 1870s until the 1950s, saw palmetto was recognized as a way to treat prostate problems such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) until it was no longer recognized as a medication in the United States. A limited number of clinical trials studying saw palmetto preparations showed it resulted in fewer erection problems, although it was less effective than the prescription medication finasteride. Talk with your doctor before using saw palmetto and Pygeum africanum, especially if you have BPH or a similar condition.
The active constituent in yohimbe opens up the blood vessels, and according to the University of Michigan Health System, there’s fairly good clinical evidence to support this herbal remedy for erectile dysfunction men. The UMMC says this
chemical, hydrochloride, is markedly similar to those found in prescription medications used for this purpose. Women whose sexual arousal is flagging may benefit from a combination of yohimbe and arginine, another herb. The UMMC stresses the importance of speaking to your doctor before using yohimbe; this herbal remedy interacts with numerous medications and contraindicates with many medical conditions. Taking too much can be dangerous.
The UMMC says a supplement called ArginMax may be helpful for women who’ve lost their libido. ArginMax contains a variety of herbs, such as arginine, ginseng, ginkgo and damaina, and other vitamins and minerals. The UMMC cautions that arginine can have an effect on blood sugar levels and blood pressure, so get your doctor’s consent before using it.
Cautions & Concerns
Herbal remedies are classified as dietary supplements by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They cannot purport to treat or cure any specific medical condition; also, the quality of the product you select is not guaranteed. Natural herbal remedies also can interact with medications and act to your detriment if you have a certain medical condition. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medication says several herbal remedies that purport to treat erectile dysfunction have been recalled by the FDA because of safety concerns. Speak with your doctor to make sure the herbal remedy you choose is safe for you.
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