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Erectile Dysfunction Treatment: Herbs


A number of herbs are indicated for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Korean red ginseng and maca have the most research evidence supporting their potential effectiveness in treating erectile dysfunction.

Numerous case reports and uncontrolled studies have indicated that Ginkgo biloba offers dramatic benefits for male (and female) sexual problems caused by antidepressants1-6. However, ginkgo was often as effective as the placebo7,8, so the power of suggestion was probably at play.

The herb Butea superba has shown some promise for erectile dysfunction, according to a 3-month randomized, double-blind study performed in Thailand9.

The following herbs are believed to be helpful, based on anecdotal evidence and/or tradition: Ashwagandha, Avena sativa (oat straw), catuaba, cordyceps, damiana, diindolylmethane (DIM), eleutherococcus (Siberian ginseng), L-citrulline, Macuna pruriens, molybdenum, muira puama (potency wood), pygeum, Polypodium vulgare, Rhodiola rosea, saw palmetto, schisandra, suma, traditional Chinese herbal medicine, and Tribulus terrestris.

It may be wise to avoid licorice because licorice can reduce testosterone levels.10


Effect of Korean Red Ginseng on Erectile Dysfunction

Read more about Erectile Dysfunction and Korean Red Ginseng.

Effect of Maca (Lepidium meyenii) on Erectile Dysfunction

Read more about Erectile Dysfunction and Maca (Lepidium meyenii).


  1. Sikora R, Sohn M, Deutz FJ, et al. Ginkgo biloba extract in the therapy of erectile dysfunction. J Urol. 1989;142:188A.
  2. Cohen AJ, Bartlik B. Ginkgo biloba for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. J Sex Marital Ther. 1998;24:139-143.
  3. McCann B. Botanical could improve sex lives of patients on SSRIs. Drug Topics. 1997;141:33.
  4. Cohen A. Treatment of antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction with Ginkgo biloba extract [abstract #716]. Presented at: Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, 1996.
  5. Cohen A, Bartlik B. Treatment of sexual dysfunction with Ginkgo biloba extract [scientific reports]. Paper session from: American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting, 1997.
  6. Cohen A. Long-term safety and efficacy of Ginkgo biloba extract in the treatment of antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. Priory Medical Journals website. Available at: Accessed 1997.
  7. Kang BH, Lee SJ, Kim MD, et al. A placebo-controlled, double-blind trial of Ginkgo bilboa for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. Hum Psychopharmacol Clin Exp. 2002;17:279-284.
  8. Wheatley D. Triple-blind, placebo-controlled trial of Ginkgo biloba in sexual dysfunction due to antidepressant drugs. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2004 Sep 20. [Epub ahead of print]
  9. Cherdshewasart W, Nimsakul N. Clinical trial of Butea superba, an alternative herbal treatment for erectile dysfunction. Asian J Androl. 2003;5:243-246.
  10. Armanini D, Palermo M. Reduction of serum testosterone in men by licorice. N Engl J Med. 1999;341:1158.

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