The natural world is replete with natural treatments for erectile dysfunction. Hailing from the misty mountaintops of China and Korea, Panax ginseng has been used for thousands of years as an invigorating restorative.
However, you may have heard of Panax ginseng because of its supposed ability to treat erectile dysfunction. In this article, we dig up this ancient root, hold it up to the light, and assess its efficacy as a natural treatment for ED.
What is Panax ginseng?
Panax ginseng (also known as Korean ginseng or red ginseng) is a plant whose roots are reported to improve erectile function. Indigenous to China and Korea, the root has been used for 2000 years as a tonic to boost health and longevity.
How does Panax ginseng help treat erectile dysfunction?
Panax ginseng’s legendary success as a restorative tonic may be down to its adaptogenic activity. It’s believed to enhance physical performance, thereby increasing sexual stamina.
How adaptogens work is not fully understood, but they have been found to increase resistance to stress, though this lacks strong scientific backing. Alongside their stress-busting capability, they are also believed to help reduce chronic inflammation and atherosclerosis - both of which can cause erectile dysfunction.
Panax ginseng may also have antioxidant and organ-protective properties that are thought to increase the production of nitric oxide (NO) in the blood vessels of the penis.
NO is an important molecule for getting erections because it widens the blood vessels in the penis - allowing blood to flow into the penis and generate an erection.
Panax ginseng’s primary active compounds - known as ginsenosides - have also been demonstrated to enhance NO production in rabbits (as if rabbits needed any more of a boost to their already infamous libidos).
The triple-action of Panax ginseng’s adaptogenic, antioxidant, and ginsenoside activity makes it a strong contender in the list of natural erectile dysfunction remedies mother nature has to offer.
How effective is Panax ginseng?
One small study showed Panax ginseng is successful in increasing the hardness and duration of erections in men experiencing erectile dysfunction. The study also found that Panax ginseng improved patients’ libido and overall satisfaction.
Another small trial found men treated with Panax ginseng reported being able to have penetrative sex as well as maintain their erections.
However, these studies are relatively small. Only 90 and 45 patients took part in these trials respectively, so it’s difficult to conclude whether Panax ginseng is a truly effective treatment for erectile dysfunction. More trials with bigger sample sizes would be ideal to fully understand Panax ginseng’s efficacy as an erectile dysfunction treatment.
How safe is Panax ginseng?
Reported side effects include headache, insomnia, and gastrointestinal disorders. And as with all ‘natural’ remedies, it’s important to inform your doctor before taking them, as they may interact with other medications you are already taking.
The bottom line
There is a small amount of evidence to suggest Panax ginseng is a relatively effective natural treatment for erectile dysfunction. It’s adaptogenic, antioxidant, and ginsenoside activity has been shown to promote strong erections in men experiencing erectile. It’s important to note though, that the trials studying Panax ginseng have been small, and few.
However, compared to sildenafil, which has a lot of high-quality evidence supporting its ability to treat erectile dysfunction, it is difficult to conclude whether Panax ginseng is a truly effective treatment for erectile dysfunction.