Throughout the history of mankind, natural remedies for erectile dysfunction have existed. There are so many different herbal remedies available for ED, but do they really work? And more importantly, are they safe? Here we explore the world of herbal ED treatments, so you can make the best decision for your health.


What are herbal remedies for ED?

There are several herbal remedies for erectile dysfunction on the market. These treatments generally claim to be derived from herbs, rather than manufactured in a pharmaceutical lab.  Examples of herbal remedies include: horny goat weed, maca, Panax ginseng, Rhodiola rosea, DHEA, L-arginine, Yohimbe and others. These herbal remedies are available from a range of sources, including high street stores such as Holland and Barrett, as well as various websites and independent shops.

How do they work?

There are several means by which herbal remedies for ED could work, however, they are rarely tested to confirm the mechanisms by which they work. Herbal remedies are not subjected to the same trials as pharmaceutical products. Some remedies may work in a similar way to ED medications. This would be by relaxing the blood vessels, to improve blood flow to the penis. However, rather than having localised effects on the penis, they are more likely to have wider effects upon the whole body.

Some herbal treatments, from less reputable sources, may actually be combined with small amounts of ED medication, such as Sildenafil etc. If this is the case, they will work in the same way as other ED medication, but at a much lower dose.

As the mechanisms and effectiveness of herbal remedies are not often properly tested, it is possible that the effects of some herbal remedies are due to the placebo effect. The placebo effect can be described as the effects of a treatment that are not caused by the active ingredients. The placebo effect is generally considered to be a psychological effect produced by the belief that a treatment will work. But the placebo effect can cause physical changes, such as producing an erection, if that is the effect that you expect from the treatment.


What are the risks of herbal remedies for ED?

Herbal remedies are not subject to the same rigorous testing and regulations as medications. Therefore, any side effects and risks are not properly recorded. In addition, the actual ingredients of the treatment may not be consistent. Researchers found that herbal remedies often contained ingredients that were not listed on the packaging. As herbal medications are not subject to the same trials as standard medications, they may also interact with any medications you are taking. But as there is little or no patient information included with herbal remedies, you would not be likely to become aware of these interactions until you experience them.

As the ingredients of the treatments can vary, and as the side effects, interactions and risks are not well defined, herbal remedies can be riskier than conventional medications. In addition, some less-reputable companies may supply treatments that contain dangerous ingredients or ingredients that are not fit for human consumption. As these products are often not properly regulated, it can be difficult to tell if your product is a genuine herbal remedy or not.

As the exact ingredients and mechanisms of action may be unknown, it is possible that what is marketed as a herbal remedy is totally ineffective. It may induce the placebo effect, but no more.

For herbal remedies that do have an effect, they may work in a similar way to existing erectile dysfunction medications. Most ED medications relax your blood vessels to improve blood flow to the penis, but some herbal remedies may instead have less localised effects, widening the blood vessels throughout your body. This could cause a sudden drop in blood pressure, resulting in fainting, and/or a lack of oxygen in your brain or heart.


Where can you buy herbal ED treatments?

If you still want to take herbal treatments rather than conventional medications, they are ways you can help to keep yourself safe. The best method is to only buy your products from a reputable high street retailer such as Holland and Barrett. Larger organisations with a reputation to uphold are more easily accountable for the products they sell. As they are more accountable, the quality and safety of their products tend to be higher. If you want to buy your products elsewhere, try to get some products that are approved by a professional body associated with alternative therapies or herbal treatments. If a professional body is willing to put their seal of approval on a product, it is likely to be better quality and a safer product to use. If you are concerned about the reliability of legitimacy of an organisation, you can look them up online to check out their activities and where they are based.

Another option is to make use of other natural treatments, that are not herbal remedies. Some foods and drinks such as pomegranate juice have been found to benefit people with ED. But also making lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and regular exercise, may also help you overcome your ED.


How do herbal remedies compare to ED medications?

Conventional ED medications, such as Viagra (Sildenafil), Levitra (Vardenafil), Cialis (Tadalafil) and Spedra (Avanafil) are rigorously tested before they are released on the public. In addition, they undergo strict quality control and must meet regulations set out by authorities such as the FDA. Levitra, Cialis and Spedra are also only available on prescription, so they will only be prescribed by a reputable doctor, after they have assessed your suitability for the medication, and the risks involved. Viagra is now available in the UK over the counter as Viagra Connect. This decision was made by the UK government after an increasing number of medical admissions resulting from people buying dangerous fake Viagra and ED products online.

Herbal remedies are not subject to the same regulation and testing as pharmaceutical medications. That is because the effects and side effects of herbal remedies are considered to be much smaller than conventional medications. Generally, if a product is more potent, it will have more severe potential side effects. Less effective products generally have fewer side effects. Therefore, you should not expect herbal remedies to have the same effects as medications such as Viagra.

As herbal remedies are not heavily regulated, this has enabled several unreliable and dangerous herbal products to enter the market. These products generally come from abroad or online, where there are even fewer regulations governing the manufacture and sale of such products. These products can contain dangerous ingredients and may not be what they claim to be. If you do wish to use herbal remedies, it is best to avoid buying these products online and from less-reputable companies.

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