Ayurvedic medicine is a type of alternative and complementary medicine (CAM) that may be useful in the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED).
People with ED tend to have difficulty getting or maintaining an erection for satisfactory sexual performance, and Ayurvedic doctors have been using plants for more than 3 millennia to treat the condition.
But few clinical trials support the use of Ayurvedic ED treatments.
Keep on reading to learn more about the various Ayurvedic ED treatments and whether they can be successful.
Ayurvedic medicine is a form of CAM sometimes called by people as Ayurveda. It developed thousands of years ago in India, and is one of the oldest medical systems in the world. Ayurveda remains an important part of the health-care system in India.
Among other methods, Ayurvedic practitioners use food, herbal medicines, exercise, meditation, respiratory exercises and physical therapy. Ayurvedic treatments aim at healing and restoring peace to the mind, body, and spirit.
The history of Ayurvedic medicine has been passed down orally by practitioners, but a few written documents are available today.
According to the Ayurvedic literature, each individual is made up of a unique combination of space, air, fire, water and earth. Such three energies form the fundamental elements:
- Vata dosha
- Pitta dosha
- Kapha dosha
When a person becomes unwell, they are unbalanced in their energies or doses, and Ayurvedic practitioners may treat the disorder by rebalancing doshas.
ED has many causes, and various factors may lead to the symptoms of a person’s ED. When treating ED, doctors and traditional healers may use treatments that work on different causative factors of sexual dysfunction.
Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera or Indian ginseng, is used by Ayurvedic practitioners to treat psychogenic DE.
Individuals with psychogenic male erectile dysfunction have difficulty getting an erectile or keeping it up due to:
- sexual anxiety
- fear of failure
- concerns about sexual performance
- decreased subjective sense of sexual excitement and pleasure
In a clinical trial in 2011, 86 males took either root powder or placebo from Ashwagandha for 60 days. The researchers opted to test Ashwagandha because it is used by practitioners in managing other psychosomatic conditions.
The investigators found no significant difference between Ashwagandha’s efficacy and placebo’s.
3 years later, the same research team conducted another study to study Ashwagandha’s effects on other ED interventions. Once again, Ashwagandha has done nothing more to improve sexual function than placebo.
Practitioners believe Vajikarana therapy revitalizes the body elements and restores balance and wellness. Ayurvedic medicine followers believe that such medicines improve the reproductive system and enhance sexual function by operating on the brain’s hypothalamus and limbic system.
Some people claim that Vajikarana therapy can even reduce anxiety about sexual desire and results, and may even increase some hormones of reproduction. Studies on the effectiveness of such therapies, however, are limited, and lack scientific accuracy.
Vajikarana therapy uses hundreds of different formulae, each with various ingredients. Many provisions for ED on Vajikarana include:
- vrihani gutika
- vrishya gutika
- vajikaranam ghritam
- upatyakari shashtikadi gutika
- medadi yog
- Chlorophytum borivilianum, Asparagus racemosus, and Curculigo orchioides
Scientists in India have been studying the impact of three ayurvedic therapies on ED.
Rats receiving extracts of Chlorophytum borivilianum, Asparagus racemosus, and Curculigo orchioides displayed improved erections as compared with untreated control rats. He also showed less concern about encountering female rats.
In another study on rats, scientists studied the effects of a formulation of Vajikarana called Pedalium murex Linn. The rats were given either this herbal extract, sildenafil (Viagra) or placebo, and their sexual behavior was then examined by the researchers.
The rats that received the herbal extract had improved their sexual behavior and erection compared to the placebo. While these findings may seem promising, further studies in rats and humans are needed to confirm the effectiveness of Pedalium murex Linn. On sexual intercourse.
Researchers have not yet confirmed how effective these herbs are to treat ED in humans.
A group of Turkish researchers carried out laboratory testing of essential oil Cinnamomum cassia (cinnamon) on samples of human and rat erectile tissue.
The study showed that both human and rat erectile tissue was relaxed by cinnamon essential oil and its primary component, cinnamaldehyde. If this impact happened in a real-life scenario, then an erection would probably result.
However, further studies are needed in rats and humans before doctors can recommend the use of this spice.
People should note that essential oils are never to be swallowed. Instead, a person may inhale or dilute the oil in a carrier oil in aromatherapy, and apply it to the skin.
Ayurvedic medicine requires the practice of yoga too. Practitioners claim people who practice daily yoga will feel less stressed and improve overall reproductive health. People often have the potential to improve their sex life by increasing their stress levels. Yoga can help to treat moderate ED in this way.
An article on male reproductive health and yoga practice in the International Journal of Yoga reviewed the evidence. Kundalini yoga may stimulate sexual energy according to the authors.
They also note that other types of yoga, such as moola bandha, employ unique stretches and movements that increase blood flow to the pelvis. Such yoga forms can be of interest to those with ED.
Researchers have yet to confirm the effects of yoga on ED in clinical trials, and further research is needed to understand the effects of this practice.
Reports also disproved the operation of some herbs commonly used for ED. Indian researchers studied 30 Indian medicinal plants which have been identified as aphrodisiacs by Ayurveda or modern scientific literature. The study aimed to check if Rho-kinase 2 was inhibited by these plants.
Rho-kinase 2 is a chemical that plays a part in the development of an erection in the body. Rho-kinase 2 blocking causes erectile tissue to relax, and blood to cover the penis to produce an erection.
Of the 30 plants picked, half triggered varying degrees of Rho-kinase 2 blockage. Terminalia chebula caused the most potent relaxation of the erectile tissue in isolated rats.
The researchers maintain that Rho-kinase 2 may also be inhibited by the following plants:
- Butea frondosa
- Syzygium aromaticum
- Butea superba
- Chlorophytum borivilianum
- Mucuna pruriens
Ayurvedic medicine has been around for thousands of years, but researchers have yet to prove its effectiveness in treating erectile dysfunction.
People with ED should consult a doctor before experimenting with Ayurvedic treatments to ensure their safety.
Further clinical studies are needed to validate both the safety and efficacy of Ayurvedic ED treatments. The mechanism of Ayurvedic therapies for action, dosage, and drug or food reactions is largely unknown.