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Chinese Herbs For Erectile Dysfunction

Chinese Herbs For Erectile Dysfunction

Chinese herbal treatment for ED

A great number of traditional Chinese herbs have been used to treat ED, applied singly or in the form of compound formulas. Most of the herbal remedies are used empirically and thereby are not convincing. In this condition, many studies are being conducted to investigate the underlying mechanism of those Chinese herbs using modern biotechnology.

Single Chinese herb or herbal extracts

It was revealed that the mechanisms of Chinese herbs for treating ED might involve changes in nitric oxide synthase (NOS)-NO-cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) pathway, cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), testosterone level, transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1)/Smad2 pathway, oxidative stress as well as intracellular Ca2+ concentration. Some Chinese herbs ameliorate ED through one pathway, others involve several pathways (Table 1).

The Top Chinese Herbs for ED

 Below are some of the most effective and scientifically proven herbs for ED.

  • Tribulus Terrestris is the fruit of the Zygophyllaceae plant and it grows primarily in North China. It is a well-known aphrodisiac with records that trace back to ancient times. There are plenty of animal experiments that verify the effectiveness of Tribulus for improving erectile function. These effects are mostly due to its androgen enhancing ability, namely increasing testosterone levels. Though testosterone doesn’t directly cause an erection, it does play a role. Erection is made possible by many factors, but mostly it's through receptors on cells lining our arteries that stimulate a chain reaction that relaxes the blood vessels that go to the penis, allowing blood flow to get in. Low testosterone is often associated with overall poor metabolic and cardiovascular health. When the test is low, estrogen is usually high, leading to oxidative stress and calcification of the arteries, including the penis, restricting blood flow to the penis. So, improving testosterone levels, and improving overall metabolic function, while reducing oxidative stress is a good plan for improving overall sexual function and erection.
  • Cistanche is usually consumed in stem form, which grows in an extremely arid area with intensive sunshine. It contains various chemical constituents that have some bio-activities such as antioxidation, neuroprotection and overall antiaging. It is shown in a study to shorten erectile latency and prolong erectile duration in castrated rats. Cistanche extract also improves sex hormone levels, improving overall sexual health. The constituent known as echinacoside, promotes relaxation of aortic rings through the NO-cGMP pathway, in other words, it relaxes blood vessels in the penis and improves Nitric Oxide flow. 
  • Semen Cuscutae comes from the dried ripe seeds of Cuscuta Chinensis Lam. It has been traditionally used to treat impotence and ED for thousands of years in China. It contains flavones that reverse kidney-yang deficiency, raises testosterone levels and androgen receptor expression in the kidney and testicle. 
  • Ginseng is the root of some Araliaceae plants, which grows in northeast China. Ginseng is the number one herb in TCM that is used to maintain the balance of the body and enhance the vital Qi energy. ED is said to be caused by Qi deficiencies in the Kidney and Liver and Ginseng helps to improve Qi flow to these organs, especially when used with acupuncture. It has been confirmed clinically to enhance erectile function. The ginsenosides are the main active components in ginseng that give it anti-inflammation, anti-tumor, antioxidant, as well as apoptosis inhibition and preventing the degeneration of neurons in dorsal penile nerves while reducing the oxidative stress in the corpus cavernosum. 

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