Top 10 Male Enhancement Herbs
Last time I was at a local Walgreens I noticed that they carry hundreds of different herbs that claim to do amazing things. If I was to take all of them, not only would I be super smart, but I would also have sexy skin, a six pack stomach, great hair, be an amazing lover, and all of the women would want me just by smelling my “pheromones.” I doubt that I can have all of that just by taking some pills, but as amazing and unrealistic as the claims are, there are definite benefits to certain herbs. We all know that Ginkgo is for mental alertness and Echinacea is for immunity strength, but what herbs are best for male sexual performance? We will discuss the top ten male enhancement herbs here and finish with a few to avoid.
1. GINKGO BILOBA LEAF – I wanted to start with ginkgo because it is commonly thought of as an herb to help with memory and brain function. This is in fact correct, however only covers one scope of the herb's benefits. Ginkgo works by expanding the capacity of blood flow through your veins and arteries therefore that effect benefits many parts of the body from the increased oxygen supply to the brain, which allows better brain function, to fuller and harder erections as more blood is supplied to the penis.
A few concerns with ginkgo are, because of the increased blood flow, those with bleeding disorders, especially those whose blood fails to coagulate on a wound, should take more precaution as more blood flow will slow the coagulation process. The second concern is for those who prefer ginkgo biloba seeds over the leaf. Uncooked ginkgo biloba seeds have shown some small levels of toxins, so if you prefer the seeds it is advised to cook them prior to ingestion. Finally, as with any new addition to your diet, some people have claimed a minor upset stomach and diarrhea.
The recommended concentration is 24% flavones and 6% terpene lactones. The usual dosage is 120mg to 160mg per day.
2. EPIMEDIUM LEAF EXTRACT – The next herb is epimedium leaf or commonly known as horny goat weed. The origins of epimedium is from goat herders who noticed that when their flock ate the weed their sexual activity was noticeably increased, thus the name. Discovery Channel did a study on horny goat weed. They found that it is the number one most prescribed solution to sexual dysfunction by professional doctors in China. Although little is known about how horny goat weed actually works, it has shown significant increases in libido and vitality in both men and women, restore sexual function in men, and help with discomfort during menopause in women.
To this day there have not been any known side effects with horny goat weed, other than the typical minor upset stomach and diarrhea when something new is added to your diet.
It is recommended that your intake of horny goat weed is concentrated enough to have at least 10% icariin. Generally 1000MG to 2000MG is a sufficient daily dosage.
3. HAWTHORN BERRY – The hawthorn berry is another herb that is generally used to treat one concern, yet its benefits extend further. The hawthorn berry is primarily used to treat heart problems. It strengthens the heart allowing it to pump more blood. This, of course, translates into more blood flowing into your penis. Thus allowing for harder, fuller erections and increased pleasure from orgasm.
A few concerns with the hawthorn berry are that studies show that it does lower blood pressure a little bit so if you have very low blood pressure you may need to consult with a physician. And as usual some have reported a minor upset stomach and diarrhea.
The daily recommended dosage for the hawthorn berry is 160mg to 900mg concentrated to 2% to 3% flavonoids or 18% to 20% oligomeric procyanidins.
4. SAW PALMETTO BERRY – The saw palmetto berry is a berry that is commonly used for urological problems. The most common use for it is to bring an enlarged prostate back to regular size. However most studies indicate that long term use (12 months or more) of saw palmetto also eased urination and increased sexual function significantly.
One of the few things about saw palmetto berries is that although there have been many studies done on saw palmetto, there have not been any reported side effects, none even complained about upset stomach or diarrhea.
320mg per day standardized to not less than 85% fatty acids is the recommended dosage for saw palmetto berries.
5. CATUABA BARK EXTRACT – The catuaba is a Brazilian, primarily in the Amazon rainforest, tree whose bark has been used for thousands of years as an all around nervous system revitalizer. It restores your nervous system function bringing about increased brain function, reduced nervousness, better sleep and improved sexual function. This is the herb that has helped the 60, 70, 80 even 90 year olds in Brazil have a healthy sex life naturally.
There are no known side effects with catuaba except the occasional upset stomach and diarrhea when it is first introduced to the diet. The main concern is that you are actually purchasing real catuaba bark, as there are several exporters who export the bark as catuaba, but it is in fact from the wrong tree. There are 2 forms of catuaba tree that supplies the actual bark that is medicinally known for its benefits and the scientific names for these two is Erythroxylum catuaba and Trichilia catigua.
The standard daily dose is 1000mg to 2000mg. There has not been any standardization of the extract’s concentration.
6. MUIRA PAUMA BARK EXTRACT – The muira pauma is another rainforest tree found in South America and Africa. This plant’s benefits also focus on the nervous system to treat various ailments such as paralysis, beri-beri, rheumatism, grippe, and cardiac and gastrointestinal weakness, baldness and sexual dysfunction, such as impotence, infertility and menstrual disturbances.
There are no reported side effects from muira pauma except the occasional upset stomach and diarrhea when it is first introduced to the diet. It is also commonly exported as muira pauma bark extract from a similar tree whose bark does not have the same medical benefits, the scientific name for it is Liriosma ovate, so be sure that before you purchase muira pauma that it does not come from this tree.
The recommended dosage is 1500mg daily and there are no concentration standards for the muira pauma bark extract.
7. CUSCUTA SEED EXTRACT – The cuscata is commonly known as dodder plant and it is commonly used to increase sperm production and its fertility. New research has shown that it helps with treating impotence.
There are rumors that cuscuta seed extract, when ingested in high quantities, caused lack of sleep. There are no case studies showing this effect as the studies done use standard dosages when administering it. There have also never been any claims of upset stomach or diarrhea with cuscuta seed extract.
The recommended dosage is 10g to 15g boiled in 3 cups of water for 20 minutes, some have said to increase that dosage up to 25 grams of cuscuta seed extract in 3 cups of water each day. It is standardized to 2.5% flavonoids.
8. ASIAN GINSENG – There are several kinds of ginseng available on the market today, but the one that shows the most sexual function benefit is the asian ginseng. It is commonly used to restore energy both physically and mentally and in sexual function it has a significant benefit in preventing premature ejaculation.
Asian ginseng has similar side effects as other forms of ginseng which include difficulty falling asleep when taken in large quantities and an upset stomach when it is first introduced to the diet.
A daily dosage is 200mg to 600mg, standardized to contain 4% to 5% ginsenosides.
9. TRIBULUS TERRESTRIS – The tribulus terrestris is a plant native to the warm climates of southern Europe and Asia, throughout Africa and in northern Australia, although it is found in North and South America as well now. Its primary use is for the purpose of increased sex drive by restoring hormone levels to normal range, primarily testosterone.
There are no reported side effects from tribulus terrestris except the occasional upset stomach when it is first introduced to your diet.
750mg per day is the recommended dosage of tribulus terrestris, standardized for at least 30% to 45% steroidal saponins (furostanol).
10. DAMIANA – Damiana is found primarily in Central and South America. It is recorded being used as early back as the ancient Mayan civilization to prepare for lovemaking. Today it is used to relieve headaches, control bed wetting, better control of the muscles in the urinary tract, as an aphrodisiac and to enhance orgasms.
There are no known side effects of damiana even the upset stomach that is common to new ingredients being added to your diet is unheard of.
The recommended dosage is 750mg to 1000mg per day. There is no standardization for damiana.
All of the above herbs have been listed as Class 1 safe on the US government website when taken in recommended dosages. However I wanted to make you aware of an herb that is very popular for male enhancement, but it has a serious side effect. The bark of the Yohimbe (aka Yohimbine) tree is known for its potency in increasing sexual function however it can and very often does cause very serious damage to the liver. In fact it is banned for import in several different countries. Please use caution when taking this herb, especially if already have liver problems.
You will find that all of the above herbs when taken alone will improve your sexual functionality, but when they are combined the effects are compounded. So next time you walk into Walgreens, or who ever your supplier is, you will be able to better distinguish between at least a small section of the natural supplements isle and enhance your love life considerably.
National Institute of Health
University of Maryland Medical Center
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