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Ginger: Potential treatment for erectile dysfunction

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By Prof Raphael Nyarkotey Obu

Erectile dysfunction medication may not be the only way for men to enjoy a more satisfying sex life. These conventional drugs work by relaxing the smooth muscles lining the arteries, that increases blood flow to the penis. They also come with some side effects. A ginger-like root known as Kaempferia parviflora not only supports erectile function but also encourages libido and sex drive. In this article, I explore the holistic impact of ginger on sexual health and why you should include it in your diet.

Ginger,  erectile dysfunction

Ghayur et al.(2005) study found that ginger might similarly reduce blood pressure, (and possibly as effectively), as certain prescription medications used to treat erectile dysfunction. Not only does the natural benefit of ginger to reduce blood pressure improve heart and vein health but it also impacts sexual performance and the ability to reach sexual climax.

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Lim et al.(2017) study found that the use of ginger as a circulatory supplement highlighted the spice’s potential as a treatment for ED.  It isn’t complete proof but it certainly lends legitimacy to the claim that ginger may have a positive effect on sexual function. Unfortunately, there is no data good available on how or how much ginger is required to give men a sexual boost.

Another study by Hasani et al. (2019) found ginger lower blood pressure. A previous study also found ginger to increase blood flow(Prasad and Tyagi, 2015).  Liao et al.(2012) in-vitro study (a study done in a test tube but not on humans or animals) showedthat ginger can prevent blood clots and help widen blood vessels — the latter of which is a crucial component of getting an erection.

The process of getting an erection involves a series of events involving blood vessels, erectile tissues, nerves, gasses, and other moving parts.

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A more recent study by Sooriyamoorthy and Leslie(2023) explained that due to an encounter that results in sexual arousal, the body releases nitric oxide, which helps relax the smooth muscles in the penis. This relaxation allows for increased blood flow into the penis, which is necessary for an erection.

Hernández-Cerda et al.(2020) found a connection between higher blood pressure and a higher risk of sexual dysfunction in men. If ginger helps lower blood pressure and widen blood vessels, it could increase sexual arousal and libido.

A previous study by Lim PHC(2017) reasoned that ginger has also long been used as a natural stimulant in many forms of traditional medicine to increase sexual arousal and libido naturally.

Also study by Ferrini et al.(2015) shows that an oral combination of ginger, L-citrulline, guarana plant, and Muira puama seems to be efficient at offering daily PDE5 inhibitor therapy. This can help delay or reverse the onset of functional factors of aging-related ED.

A more specific ginger extract human study conducted by Stein et al.(2018) shows the impact of Kaempferia parviflora. In this human study, the researchers involved  14 healthy, sexually active men aged 50-68 who had self-reported, mild erectile dysfunction. None were using any prescription treatments for this condition.

Each volunteer took one capsule containing 100 mg of Kaempferia extract once daily for 30 days. The extract was standardized to 5% of the active compound, 5,7-dimethoxyflavone (5,7-DMF). Temkitthawon et al.(2011) lab study found that the active 5,7-DMF compound is instrumental in how this extract works.

The investigators used the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) questionnaire, a validated 15-item survey used to assess the severity of erectile dysfunction.

According to the IIEF questionnaire, improved erections were reported by 61.5% of participants. The average score for the question, “When you attempted intercourse, how often were you able to penetrate your partner?” increased by an average of 12.5%( Stein et al. 2018).

There was another convincing result that went beyond erectile function. Participants also reported a mean increase of 13% in sex satisfaction. And they reported improvements in their overall sexual health.

There were no meaningful changes in blood pressure or an array of other measures, ranging from cholesterol and blood glucose to testosterone and body weight. The ginger extract was well tolerated and exhibited an excellent safety profile.

A previous clinical trial done by Wannanon et al.(2012)  in aging men found that Kaempferia parviflora increases the overall male sexual experience.  This study used   45 men, with an average age of 65, in one of three groups. One group took a placebo, one took 25 mg of Kaempferia extract, and the third took 90 mg of this extract for eight weeks.

Compared to the placebo group, those who took the 90 mg dose had a faster erectile response to visual erotic stimuli. Elapsed time between stimulus and full erection was cut by 50%, from 10 minutes to just five. Those taking 25 mg of the extract did not experience a statistically significant reduction in response times, meaning that the dose was not sufficient.

Another significant thing is that the study found no significant changes in testosterone or other hormones or any other indicators of safety problems.

These clinical studies showed evidence that Kaempferia extract can safely improve erectile dysfunction and boost overall sexual health and interest over a sustained period.

How it works

Laboratory and animal studies have identified two main mechanisms through which Kaempferia parviflora improves sexual health in men.

Three studies(Wattanathorn et al. 2012; Chaturapanich et al. 2008; Chaturapanich et al. 2012) provide some leeway on its work. The studies demonstrate that the extract involves the activation of brain responses to sexual stimuli. Studies on rats showed that in addition to enhancing blood flow to the genitals, Kaempferia extract improved sexual motivation and increased sexual behavior.

 In other words, this extract appears to fight low libido and increase the overall desire to engage in sex, once presented with sensory stimulation. This is an action unique to Kaempferia that is not a feature of erectile dysfunction drugs.

Two other studies (Temkitthawon et al. 2011; Weerateerangkul et al. 2012) show the other mechanism: It improves arterial and endothelial (blood vessel lining) function throughout the body. These improvements have a significant effect on the penis, a highly sensitive receiver of blood flow. This is what produces the clinical effects of improved erectile response times and increased size of the penis(Stein et al. 2018; Wannanon et al. 2012).

Comparable to erectile dysfunction drugs, this extract was also shown to inhibit the enzyme PDE5 (Temkitthawon et al. 2011) which normally sends a signal to reduce blood flow through the arteries in the penis, causing an erection to diminish(Weerateerangkul et al. 2012).

Take home

Nitric Oxide (NO) has a vasodilating effect, which helps dilate blood vessels and improve the blood volume circulating throughout the body. NO also activates smooth muscle tissue relaxation in the penis, particularly in the corpus cavernosum.

This erectile tissue is vital for facilitating erections and ejaculations in males. This increased efficiency results in increased blood flow to the penis and a higher rate of sexual satisfaction.

Even if conventional meds can help, they can cause side effects, which is why many men prefer natural alternatives like ginger. Studies indicate that ginger has numerous perks sexually. It can improve the flow of blood, and fertility, and curb oxidative stress.

A more specific ginger root extract, called Kaempferia parviflora leads to improvements in erectile function and boosts response time and intercourse satisfaction. Studies show enhanced overall sexual health in men within 30 days.

The added advantage of using ginger as compared to conventional medication for erectile dysfunction is that it goes beyond an aphrodisiac, and demonstrates promise beyond sexual health. By relaxing arteries throughout the body, this extract can help maintain systemic vascular health. Consider using ginger, a natural herb, to enhance your sexual performance without supplying the body with a ridiculous amount of chemicals. Remember, natural remedies take time to work. It has to be taken daily to see the significant effect.

NB: Prof. Nyarkotey has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations to justify his write-ups.  My articles are for educational purposes and do not serve as Medical advice for Treatment. I aim to educate the public about evidence-based scientific Naturopathic Therapies.

Prof. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu is a professor of Naturopathic Healthcare. E-mail: [email protected].  Visit-profnyarkotey.com

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