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INFERTILITY HOL-emblem1-web.GIF (3556 bytes)

Alternative Therapies - Men

Herbal Medicine

Western Herbalism

Herbal medicine may focus on general health and vitality, and treat any contributory hormone problems.

Herbs traditionally considered beneficial for men, such as ginseng and saw palmetto, may be prescribed. A practitioner may suggest a cleansing remedy, such as red clover, to improve general health.

Astragalus extract has been reported to stimulate sperm motility.
              Caution: Do not use this herb in the presence of a fever.

Damiana, sarsaparilla, saw palmetto, and yohimbe enhance sexual function in men. Caution: Do not use ginseng or licorice if you have high blood pressure.

Panax Ginseng (Chinese or Korean ginseng)

Chinese, or Korean, (Panax) ginseng has been used for centuries to enhance male potency. A large percentage of men who used it reported increased satisfaction with their sex lives. Measurable test results show that it can:
bulletHelp maintain erection longer
bulletIncrease size and firmness of erection
bulletIncrease sexual desire
bulletRaise testosterone levels
bulletIncrease sperm count
bulletIncrease sperm mobility

When male rats were fed ginseng supplement for sixty days, their testosterone levels rose. In another study, male rats fed ginseng supplement mated more often than healthy males who did not receive supplements.

Animal studies also showed that Panax ginseng promotes the growth of the testes, increases sperm formation and testosterone levels, and increases sexual activity and mating behavior.

Human trials also showed the effectiveness of ginseng in male sexual treatment.In one clinical study, a group of ninety men complaining of impotence were divided into three groups. One group received ginseng, another received a placebo, and a third received a popular antidepressant medication.

Not only did ginseng outperform the placebo, it also outperformed the antidepressant drug. Though no man was completely "cured" of his problems, 60 percent of men taking ginseng reported a dramatic improvement in their sex lives, and increased satisfaction.

Men taking ginseng achieved erections easily and more often, had larger and firmer erections, and maintained them with less difficulty.

In another important study, men with low fertility volunteered to take ginseng supplement. Blood analysis showed an increase in testosterone and an increase in the number and quality of sperm.

Ginseng may take a few weeks to show results. For best results, take it with food or water, and avoid taking it with stimulants such as caffeinated coffee, tea, or cola beverages.

Dosage: Select a standardized extract containing 7 percent ginsenosides and take 100 milligrams twice daily for two to three weeks. Stop taking the preparation for two weeks, then repeat. If the herb does not have the sought-after effects within this period of time, discontinue using it. It is unlikely that it will do anything further.

Caution: Some individuals may be allergic to ginseng. If you develop heart palpitations or chest pain, heart disease, high blood pressure, nausea, headache, hypoglycemia, agitation, or insomnia, discontinue the use of ginseng at once. If you are sensitive to the effects of caffeine and other stimulants, you may want to consult with a qualified herbalist before using ginseng.

Do not take an overdose of ginseng. This is dangerous. Ginseng can be toxic in very large amounts. Moreover, overdosing will cause a decrease in potency rather than an increase.

Do not take ginseng if you are taking any antidepressant medications with MAO inhibitors. (If you are not sure, ask your doctor.)

Pygeum africanum

Pygeum is an evergreen tree found in the higher elevations of central and Southern Africa. The bark extracts may be effective in improving fertility in cases where diminished prostatic secretion plays a significant role. Pygeum increases prostatic secretions and improve the composition of the seminal fluid. Specifically, pygeum administration to men with decreased prostatic secretion has led to increased levels of total seminal fluid as well as increases in alkaline phosphatase (an important enzyme that maintains the proper pH of the seminal fluid) and protein. Pygeum appears to be most effective in cases in which the level of alkaline phosphatase activity is reduced (to less than 400 IU/cc) and there is no evidence of inflammation or infection (such as absence of white blood cells or IgA). The lack of IgA in the semen is a good indicator of clinical success. In one study, the patients who had no IgA in their semen demonstrated an alkaline phosphatase increase from 265 to 485 IU/cc. In contrast, those subjects with IgA showed only a modest increase from 213 to 281 IU/cc.

Pygeum extract has also shown an ability to improve the capacity to achieve an erection in patients with BPH (benign prostate hyperplasia) or prostatitis. BPH and prostatitis are often associated with erectile dysfunction and other sexual disturbances. Presumably, by improving the underlying condition, pygeum can improve sexual function.

See Also:    Herbal Medicine for Stress Management

Herbal Medicine in Holisticonline.com

Next Topic: Alternative Therapies for Men (Contd)

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