December 15, 2019
The Best Herbs & Foods For Supporting Men's Health

The Best Herbs & Foods For Supporting Men’s Health

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There are a number of evidence-based herbs and foods which have been shown to support various aspects of male sexual function and reproductive health.

When it comes to addressing the likes of erectile dysfunction, this is an area where I believe herbal medicine and evidence-based nutrition to be significantly superior to western style approaches to treating the underlying pathophysiological disease processes which drive these health problems in the first place.

With herbs and foods you can address virtually most of the known common underlying causes of erectile dysfunction such as those of cardiovascular origin for example endothelial dysfunction or other causes such as endocrine, hormonal, hpa-axis and psychogenic causes of ED such as anxiety and depression, which of course are also leading risk factors.

Again this is another area where herbal medicine is significantly superior to western medications and you can utilize many different herbs/foods in a single herbal remedy to address multiple different causes of sexual dysfunction simultaneously.

Whereas with western pharmaceutical style approaches to treating the likes of ED, not only do they rarely ever address the underlying pathophysiological processes such as inflammation or endothelial dysfunction adequately which drive these conditions in the first place, but they only ever tend to address one mechanism at the one time, if at all….

Chinese tonic herbs and adaptogens such as Ginseng, Cordyceps, Cistanche, Maca etc have a long traditional history of being recommended to improve sexual function and to support male reproductive health, many of these herbs are included in our list.

I have also included several evidence-based foods such as garlic, pomegranate and dark chocolate(cacao flavanols) which have either been shown to have a direct effect on supporting erectile function in studies or help to improve  cardiovascular health through a variety of different mechanisms.

Here are twenty of my favorite herbs and foods for supporting men’s health.

1. Oatstraw (Avena Sativa)

oatstrawavenasativamenshealthherbsOatstraw(Avena Sativa) is a gentle nourishing “nervine” herb that is traditionally recommended for its aphrodisiac properties and to increase sex drive.

In traditional medicine, avena sativa is used to treat nervous debility, insomnia and nerve weakness.

Oatstraw is a great choice of medicinal herb for sexual dysfunction associated with poor nervous system function, stress and anxiety.  Nervine herbs such as avena sativa help to strengthen and tone the nervous system, especially the parasympathetic branch.

A study in 1986 by the Institute for Advanced Study of Sexuality in San Francisco reported effects like heightened sexual awareness, increased sexual thoughts, more orgasms (36% in men and 29% in women) and some male subjects showed increased levels of testosterone attributed to unbinding of testosterone from TBG. Oats supply steroidal saponins which modulate hormonal balance. [1]

2. Pine Pollen

Pine Pollen Powder Superfood Men's HealthPine Pollen Powder is one of my favorite nutritive “superfoods” for supporting men’s health and I notice drastic improvements in libido, sex drive and erectile function with pine pollen.

Pine pollen powder is often referred to in studies as a “natural micronutrient storeroom,” rich in over 200 nutrients including body-demanding amino acids, minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and flavonoids.

Pine Pollen is also said to contain small trace quantities of phyto-androgens and given its potent effect on increasing sex drive and libido, I could definitely believe that.

“Testosterone, epi-testosterone and androstenedione were found in the pollen of Scotch pine P. silvestrisL. (Saden-Krehulaet al., 1971)”

3. Cistanche Deserticola

Cistanche Deserticola Chinese Herbs Men's HealthCistanche Deserticola or “Rou Cong Rong” is one of the leading medicinal herbs in traditional Chinese medicine used as a tonic herb for improving men’s health and restoring sexual function.

Cistanche is commonly referred to as “Desert Ginseng” due to its broad spectrum ginseng-esque tonic properties and is famously referred to as “the stalk enlarger” due to its purported ability to increase penis size and improve erectile function.

In traditional Chinese medicine Cistanche is recommended to help restore “kidney yang” and to tonify jing.

“Modern pharmacology studies have since demonstrated that C. deserticola possesses broad medicinal functions, especially for use in hormone regulation, aperient, immunomodulatory, neuroprotective, antioxidative, anti-apoptotic, anti-nociceptive, anti-inflammatory, anti-fatigue activities and the promotion of bone formation” [2]

4. Pomegranate

Pomegranate Fruit Erectile DysfunctionPomegranate is one of the oldest known edible fruits and is a great source of some very potent antioxidant phyto-nutrients such as (polyphenolic flavonoids, tannins and anthocyanins) which are considered to be also potent anti-atherogenic agents.

Some small pilot studies have even found that pomegranate juice may help improve erectile function in ED patients.

Pomegranate is one of the top fruits for supporting cardiovascular health and research has found pomegranate to exert antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic properties, regulating blood pressure, positively influencing macrophage, endothelial cell and platelet function, lowering lipid oxidation, reducing blood glucose levels.

Pomegranate is the perfect choice of “superfood” to add to one’s diet for individuals suffering from erectile dysfunction due to poor cardiovascular function and atherosclerosis.

5. Korean Red Ginseng

Korean Red Ginseng Erectile Dysfunction StudyKorean Red Ginseng(Panax Ginseng) is one of the most popular traditional adaptogen herbs for increasing vitality and virility.

Korean Red Ginseng is one of the medicinal herbs with the most evidence-base for its ability to treat erectile dysfunction(ED).

Ginseng and ginsenosides promote endothelial nitric oxide (NO) release, which exerts a direct effect on ED through triggering erection mediated by relaxation of the smooth muscles of the corpus cavernosum (Choi 1998; Choi 1999; De Andrade 2007). [3]

Several systematic reviews have now evaluated the current RCT’s and have demonstrated positive effects of red ginseng on erectile dysfunction.

6. Flavonoid Rich Foods(Dark Chocolate, Berries, Tea)

Dietary Flavonoid Intake & Erectile Dysfunction StudyStudies have found that men who consume higher intake of flavonoid rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, tea, dark chocolate, red wine etc is associated with a lower risk of erectile dysfunction(ED).

Foods rich in flavonoids include fruits such as apples, berries, grapes, vegetables such as onions, kale, broccoli, soybeans and legumes, dark chocolate(cocoa flavonols) and beverages such as tea(camellia sinensis) and red wine.

A prospective study among 25,096 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study was published in 2016 examined associations between flavonoid intake and erectile function.

The study concluded:

These data suggest that a higher habitual intake of specific flavonoid-rich foods is associated with reduced ED incidence. [4]

7. Pistachios

Pistachio Erectile Dysfunction StudyA study published in 2011 found that a Pistachio enriched diet improved erectile function parameters and serum lipid profiles in patients with erectile dysfunction.

Tree nuts such as Pistachios, Walnuts, Almonds and Cashews are amongst some of the best plant-based foods for supporting cardiovascular health.  Robust cardiovascular function is obviously a huge component to optimal erectile function.

The study demonstrated that a pistachio diet improved International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) scores and penile color Doppler ultrasound (PCDU) parameters without any associated side effects in patients with ED.  Furthermore, the lipid parameters showed statistically significant improvements after this diet. [6]

8. Maca

Maca Superfood For Men's HealthMaca(Lepidium meyenii) is a prized Peruvian superfood which is traditionally recommended to boost libido, stamina and vigor.

Maca commonly referred to as “Peruvian Ginseng” is a popular adaptogenic herb, which increases the bodies resistance to stress and modulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

Studies have found that Maca has high effectiveness in improving sexual function, increasing libido and improving erectile dysfunction; also helps reproductive health, increasing sperm count and sperm motility, enhances the anticancer action and improves inflammatory responses. [7]

9. Damania

Damiana(Turnera diffusa) is a wild plant that grows in Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies and is traditionally recommended by herbalists as an aphrodisiac to increase sexual desire.

Damiana is a great choice of herb for sexual dysfunction conditions where there is an anxiety or nervous related component.

Studies now also confirm that damiana has aphrodisiac and anxiolytic effects.

10. Cordyceps Sinensis

Cordyceps Sinensis Sexual Dysfunction StudyCordyceps Sinensis is a fungal parasite on the larvae of Lepidoptera and has a long traditional history of being recommended as a tonic to enhance sexual function and improve reproductive health.

Cordyceps is a great choice of medicinal mushroom for sexual dysfunction conditions which are caused due to low energy and chronic fatigue.

Cordyceps can help to enhance ATP production and animal studies have also found that cordyceps can stimulate testosterone biosynthesis.

Cordyceps is regarded as a tonifying herb with both ‘Yin-nourishing’ and ‘Yang-invigorating’ actions. [8]

A recent study review published 2016 evaluated on the literature on cordyceps sinensis in sexual dysfunction stating:

This review has focused on illustrating that O. sinensis can enhance libido and sexual performance, and can restore impaired reproductive functions, such as impotency or infertility, in both sexes.

This review shows that O. sinensis supplementation increased the total sperm number, the percentage of motile sperm cells, and serum testosterone. [9]

11. Tongkat Ali (Malaysian Ginseng)

Tongkat Ali Erectile Dysfunction HerbsEurycoma Longifolia Jack also commonly known as Tongkat Ali, “Longjack” and “Malaysian Ginseng” is another very popular medicinal herb for supporting men’s health, increasing testosterone levels and improving sexual function.

Tongkat Ali is one of the most popular ingredients in common penis enlargement and erectile dysfunction herbal supplement formulas and for good reason too, it is one of the medicinal herbs with the most evidence-base for its ability to boost male sexual health and performance.

A systematic review published 2017 in the Chinese journal of natural medicines analyzed and summarized the literature on human clinical trials which revealed the clinical significance and therapeutic feasibility of Eurycoma longifolia in improving male sexual health.

Out of 150 articles, 11 met the inclusion criteria. The majority of articles included were randomized placebo-controlled trials, multiple cohort studies, or pilot trials.

All these studies demonstrated considerable effects of EL on male sexual health disorders.

Among them, 7 studies revealed remarkable association between the use of EL and the efficacy in the treatment of male sexual disorders, and remaining 4 studies failed to demonstrate sufficient effects on male sexual health.

In summary, there is convincing evidence for the prominence of EL in improving the male sexual health. [10]

A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials published in 2015 concluded:

Based on current evidence, the herbal extract of Tongkat Ali may have clinical effect on erectile function. [11]

References

[1] Asian herbals and aphrodisiacs used for managing ED

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5422695/

[2] Cistanche deserticola Y. C. Ma, “Desert Ginseng”: A Review

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233890342_Cistanche_deserticola_Y_C_Ma_Desert_Ginseng_A_Review

[3] Ginseng for erectile dysfunction

https://www.cochranelibrary.com/es/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD012654/full/es

[4] Dietary flavonoid intake and incidence of erectile dysfunction.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26762373

[5] The role of dietary polyphenols in the management of erectile dysfunction-Mechanisms of action

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28142121

[6] Pistachio diet improves erectile function parameters and serum lipid profiles in patients with erectile dysfunction.

https://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2716

[7] Systematic Review On The Use Of Maca (Lepidium Meyenii) In Sexual Dysfunction

http://pjpub.org/Abstract/abstract_pmms_250.htm

[8] Enhancement of ATP generation capacity, antioxidant activity and immunomodulatory activities by Chinese Yang and Yin tonifying herbs

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1847515/

[9] Review of Naturopathy of Medical Mushroom, Ophiocordyceps Sinensis, in Sexual Dysfunction

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4791983/

[10] Eurycoma Longifolia as a potential adaptogen of male sexual health: a systematic review on clinical studies.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28259255

[11] Efficacy of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) on erectile function improvement: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26365449

The information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, cure or treat any disease, implied or otherwise.

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