Erectile Dysfunction

In the many consultations I have had with men over the years I have often been asked what can help erectile dysfunction (ED). It is clearly a very common problem and, whilst most men are well aware of the drug or surgical options many want to know if there are any legitimate alternatives. However, before we should even think about using a herbal ally in this area, we have to carefully consider the man's overall physical and psychological health because, if you don't treat the cause of a problem, then any remedy you bring to it will have a limited benefit at best.

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Finding a good herbalist

Much of what's written in this article is entirely suitable for a person to work through themselves but, especially if things are quite bad, or you just know that you need further help, then there may be a great deal of benefit to you to go to whatever lengths necessary to find a good herbalist or truly holistic practitioner to guide you on to a safe and strong treatment program. There's a short write-up to suggest how you might go about finding such a person here

Physical health

There are in fact some good herbal options for ED, things that have been seen to consistently improve sexual energy for millennia. Firstly, though there is a simple question to know if the machinery is in proper working order; do you wake up with an erection or get one in the morning? If the answer is yes, then you are getting adequate blood flow but if it's no then the first place you have to look at is the health of your circulation and there you have to start with your heart.


Arrhythmias &/or Palpitations

If you have irregularities in your heart rhythm and you can know that they have started or worsened when the ED became an issue, then there are some strategies that will help that are covered in detail here.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is an indication of a deeper problem within and it is not wise to only take drugs without dealing with the bigger issues as discussed here.

Poor Circulation

If you have a history of poor circulation and it has gotten worse with you getting ED, then the holistic approach to help Raynaud's syndrome will likely improve matters in general - more info here.

Varicose veins

If varicose veins have developed or obviously worsened along with ED, then your blood vessels themselves may have become weak and certain steps that are likely to help are discussed here.

Use Hawthorn!

If you have any of the above problems then there is at least one remedy that you simply must start taking on a daily basis because of how much it improves blood flow through the heart and the strength of the heart beat itself. It is Hawthorn, take it and learn more about it here.

Crataegus monogyna (Hawthorn)


Psychological health

I think that all men who have had any experience of erectile dysfunction must, by their innate nature, go on to suffer from at least some degree of 'performance anxiety' from that moment on. This is a kind of nervous tension that doesn't just go away by itself and typically goes on to cause all kinds of havoc in getting and maintaining an erection or in finishing too soon. Men often use the phrase 'the self-fulfilling prophecy' when they talk about this with me. They can clearly see for themselves that when they are worried something will go wrong that is exactly what happens. The more it happens the more you worry about it happening again and the problem just keeps getting worse...

So which came first, the chicken or the egg? The body let you down or the nerves? I think that the best answer is we don't know and we don't need to know. Aside from addressing any obvious physical health problems that may be present and connected to the issue as described above, this is a problem that requires a truly holistic approach to heal. From experience in working on this exact problem with many men I can state that if you try to lay blame, pick a side, and just work on the mind or the body then you are likely to get a poor result but if you work with the mind and the body then you have an excellent chance of success...


Herbal Approaches

Nature first
First of all, let Nature help. I say this to all my patients whatever it is they are struggling with. Don't try to go it alone but rather choose your 'allies' wisely. There are four herbs in particular that stand out for ED both for their highly regarded historical use as well as responding well to modern scientific scrutiny...


The 'Emperor tonic' of Chinese medicine, Panax Ginseng, is sure to improve energy in general and is likely to help improve sexual health at the same time - I have a detailed write up on it here.


The herb Withania is equally famous in Indian Ayurvedic medicine and, like Ginseng, it now has a very large number of clinical studies showing its diverse range of benefits to human health. Withania is a true 'tonic' meaning you don't have to be sick to benefit from it; more info on it here.


The European tonic Damiana has a rich folk-history as an aphrodisiac. It is a safe and pleasant herb that is likely to have a general tonic action as well as helping with ED, more here


Lastly the rather infamous Epimedium (also called Horny Goat Weed, Randy Beef-Grass etc.) does actually have some genuine science supporting its reputation as a kind of natural Viagra. I have used it extensively with men in my practice and I do think it delivers on its reputation but there are some key issues of quality and dosage that must be taken into account before using it with confidence; more info on it here.

Strength in numbers

In practice I commonly use all of these herbs in a combined formula at the same time. Herbs work well together and, just as you get a much safer and generalised benefit from using a whole herb than taking out and concentrating one of its active constituents (the origin of pharmaceutical drugs) so you typically get more from using a remedy in combination with other herbs than you do by taking them by itself.

Epimedium grandiflorum


Building back confidence

Lastly I want to talk about the way I approach the psychological aspect to ED and I can tell you that my male patients have consistently said that this has worked extremely well to help them resolve the performance anxiety that can sabotage the best of intentions to help improve things by physical means.

Firstly (if you haven't already done this) you have to find a way to tell your partner how you are truly feeling about the matter and secondly you both have to completely drop the expectation that great sex must equal prolonged penetration.

The first part of this (talking about it) can be incredibly hard and, although I do occasionally meet men who just take it in their stride, for most this whole subject is something that they have not felt able to talk about with anyone, including their closest friends. Erectile dysfunction is, for most men, the one thing that simply cannot talk about and so of course it becomes the one thing that needs talking about more than anything! Getting things 'out' rather than 'in' is usually hard at first but it is always better in the long run...

Once you can talk about it with your partner then it becomes a simple matter of agreeing on a solution to the problem and then just working on that solution. The first step is to shift the goal posts; so long as the expectation of prolonged penetration etc. is dropped out of the picture (for the time being) then everyone can relax and in fact, if you get the right mind-set going with this, the new approach of just 'fooling around' can be just the tonic for the love-life that the relationship itself most needs!

Whilst I am on this subject I want to also share an old understanding that has been lost from modern knowledge which is that, after the teens and twenties, the average amount of time for a man to build sperm and sexual energy to 'go again' after having an orgasm is approximately equal to days per decades. In other words, a man in his 40s might expect to be naturally ready to have sex every 3 or 4 days, a man in his 50s every 4 or 5 days, a man in his 60s every 5 or 6 days and so on.

A man who suffers from premature ejaculation should certainly practice plenty of non-penetrative sex in any case so he can get accustomed to maintaining an erection without feeling an overwhelming urge to finish. Men who have trouble maintaining an erection will also do well to find plenty of ways to 'fool around' and then they can just start to naturally lose the obsession about how 'hard' they are because the focus goes on making love rather than having sex.

You will see a lot of literature out in the public domain on this subject that supports these ideas so do keep an open mind and whatever else you do keep this subject out rather than in. It may take only one bad experience to lose confidence but every time you have a positive sexual experience you are rebuilding crucial self-esteem and so working towards the cure...

Constitutional Health Note:

You also might want to learn about your constitution to know what kind of foods and herbs will work especially well for you as well as many other interesting matters. Constitutional health is an old and fascinating way of understanding our differences and to demonstrate how it works in this area if you are a hot and dry constitution (an Eagle), then your mental health can take a particularly hard hit from any kind of ED and what makes things worse is you are someone who is most likely to keep the whole matter entirely to yourself! If you are a hot and damp constitution (a Tiger) then your sexual health is extremely important to you remaining happy at heart and you can get irritable and 'prickly' if you remain untouched too long. If you are a cool and dry constitution (an Elephant/butterfly) then you may need emotional intimacy before you can get physical but that doesn't make it any less important and lastly if you are a cool and damp constitution (a Bear) then, if ED has entered the picture, you must carefully look after your physical health and it is vital for you to get what is happening out in the open or you will brood over it terribly and so make it a thousand times worse! There is a brief introduction to this subject here and a more detailed section on working out which constitution you are here.

Please understand that I cannot personally advise you without seeing you in my clinic.
This living 'book' is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!



© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd