In the finding of a whole food and herb, comparing to the presently pharmaceutical medicine in use with little or no adverse effect(4), scientific communities have been looking into herbal ginseng which has been used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine for treatment of sexual dysfunction in both sexes.
According to statistic, in US alone, more than18 Million Men over 20 of ages are affected by Erectile Dysfunction and approximately 5% of 40-year-old men and between 15% and 25% of 65-year-old men experience ED on a long-term basis (National Institutes of Health). Astonishingly, lifetime use of ED medications was reported by 24% of men. Almost 69% of ED medication users reported obtaining ED medications from a physician. Fifty-nine percent of ED medication users reported taking the medications to enhance their sexual experience rather than to treat ED, which was marginally associated with stimulant use. according to Department of Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle(1).
The comparison of the effect of erectile dysfunction with diabetes and men with erectile dysfunction due to other causes study indicated that the diseases not only affect Sexual Experience-Psychological Impact domains but also Emotional Life-Psychological Impact domain(2).
Ginseng, the King of Chinese herb, according to the literature in Chinese medicine found by Emperor Shen-Nung, the second of China's mythical emperors (3500-2600 BCE), through his treatise 'Shen Nung Benchau Jing', expressed the efficacy of herbal ginseng well being as a resemblance of human form and its rejuvenative and aphrodisiac properties. The use of ginseng for erectile dysfunction by Emperor Shen-Nung was unique for its time. It continues to hold parallels as a modern-day herbal aphrodisiac 5000 years on(3).
Panax notoginseng saponins (PNS), a major ingredient found in ginseng, in the study of erectile dysfunction and the underlying mechanism by using a rat diabetic erectile dysfunction model, showed a positive effect in deduction of oxidative stress cause of erectile dysfunction and restoration of functions of endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells in the penis, through reduced level of malondialdehyde and increased levels of superoxide dismutase, glutathione and Akt(5) and possibly via the NO/cGMP pathway(6).
In root-derived Korean red ginseng (KRG; Panax ginseng) study, researchers at the Yonsei University College of Medicine, found that GB0710 relaxes the penile corpus cavernosum smooth muscle (CCSM), through induced intracellular NO production in human microvascular endothelial cells by N(G)-monomethyl-L-arginine inhibition(7).
In a 119 men with mild-to-moderate ED participated in a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled clinical study, oral administration of the SKGB extract improved all domains of sexual function(8)(9).
According to Chinese medicine, Herbal ginseng has been prescribed over 5000 years of history to promote yang and to improve cardiac function, short of breath, blood pressure. Panax ginseng can generates fluids and reduce thirst, to treat anxiety, insomnia, dizziness/headache, forgetfulness, impotence, diabetes, bleeding in the vagina not during period, etc.
Dr. Shergis JL and the researcher team at the School of Health Sciences and Health Innovations Research Institute-HIRi, RMIT University, told PubMed " Overall, the quality of Panax ginseng (andomized controlled trials ) RCT methodology has improved since the CONSORT checklist was introduced. However, more can be done to improve the methodological quality of, and reporting in, RCTs"(10)
But the use of herbal medicine in treating erectile dysfunction should be taken with care. Dr Ho CC and Dr. Tan HM. said" Many herbal therapies appear to have potential benefits, and similarly, the health risks of various phytotherapeutic compounds need to be elucidated. Properly designed human trials should be worked out and encouraged to determine the efficacy and safety of potential phytotherapies"(11). As the herb has shown mild adverse events, such as dyspepsia, hot flash, insomnia, and constipation in dose depending manner(12).
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(1) Erectile dysfunction medication use among men seeking substance abuse treatment.