Is Herbal Viagra Effective?
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Sheila
Posted on: September 15, 2003

I had heard that there is in existence, a herbal libido enhancer similar to, but safer than Viagra. Do you know of such a thing? What would you suggest? Also, I have read that the amino acid choline is supposed to be a big help. Does that sound likely, and if so, how would one take it?

There are many brands of herbal libido enhancers, some marketed as "herbal viagra". Some of the herbs included in these products are: ginger root, yohimbe bark, guarana, horny goat weed, ashwaganda, muira puama, saw palmetto, tribulus terrestis, avena sativa (wild oats), ginseng and damiana. Some formulas include vitamins and amino acids that are recommended for good sexual function. Most formulas contain herbs that are stimulating, and are contraindicated in heart disease, high blood pressure and anxiety. Some of the herbs have long traditions for improving sexual function.

Viagra works by increasing blood flow to the penis. It does this by inhibiting an enzyme that constricts the blood flow. The drug can cause side effects, and the risks of long term use are unknown. Herbal alternatives to viagra are often effective and can be safer, but you will have to check the ingredients. Long term use of any stimulant has negative health effects. You can find some of these products by searching for "herbal viagra" on the web.

If the underlying cause behind sexual dysfunction is not poor circulation, the solution is neither viagra nor herbs that stimulate blood flow.

Regarding choline: Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is produced from the amino acid choline. Insufficient acetylcholine can result in depression and low sex drive. Choline is produced in the body from vitamin B12, folic acid and the amino acid methionine. Dietary sources of choline include legumes, liver, lecithin and egg yolks. So, choline is one part of the sexual response picture, and a requirement for total health. I suggest that you ensure that you include choline in your diet, supplementing with lecitihin granules or capsules from a health food store if your other dietary sources are low.

The best medicine for improving sexual function is to look first for underlying causes of dysfunction. Causes can include poor circulation including heart disease, hormonal imbalance, nerve disorders, drug side effects, smoking, excess alcohol, stress and anxiety. I recommend that you work with a medical herbalist or naturopath to promote balanced health. This way, your total health will improve and your need for supplements will be reduced.

For more information on herbs for sexual enhancement, please see our web site at Choose "Q&A" from the main menu, then enter "sex" for one search and "libido" for a second search.

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