Natural Remedy for Erectile Dysfunction
In the new study, 45 men with an average age of 57 years who had erectile dysfunction (also known as impotence) received three separate treatments for two weeks each, in random order: (1) 3.25 grams of arginine plus 6 mg of yohimbine, (2) yohimbine alone, and (3) placebo. The treatments were taken orally on an empty stomach, one to two hours before intended sexual intercourse. The combination treatment was found to be significantly more effective than the placebo at improving erectile function. Yohimbine alone was also more effective than the placebo, but the difference was not statistically significant. Combination treatment was considered successful by 40% of the participants, compared with 28.9% with yohimbine alone and 17.8% with placebo.
Men with initially mild or moderate impairment of erectile function had a better response to treatment than did men with more severe difficulty. No serious side effects were reported. The authors of the study concluded that “on demand” administration of the combination of arginine and yohimbine is effective for men with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction.
Viagra®, a widely used and heavily advertised prescription drug, has been shown to be effective for erectile dysfunction. However, this drug costs approximately $10 per dose, in contrast to approximately 80 cents for the combination of arginine and yohimbine. In addition, Viagra® has been linked with side effects such as headache, flushing, and possibly even heart attacks and sudden death. While many of the severe side effects occurred in heart patients during or following sexual activity, some followed the use of Viagra® without sexual activity. Arginine, on the other hand, is relatively free of side effects. Yohimbine can occasionally cause fast or irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, or other side effects with long-term use; however, none of these side effects occurred in the new study with one-time administration.
Arginine is available in health food stores without a prescription, but yohimbine can be obtained only with a doctor's prescription. Although the herb yohimbe is sold in health food stores, it contains much less yohimbine than the amount used in the new study.
Men with erectile dysfunction should be evaluated and treated by a doctor because this condition is sometimes associated with medical conditions such as hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
Alan R. Gaby, MD, an expert in nutritional therapies, testified to the White House Commission on CAM upon request in December 2001. Dr. Gaby served as a member of the Ad-Hoc Advisory Panel of the National Institutes of Health Office of Alternative Medicine. He is the author of Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis (Prima, 1994), and co-author of The Natural Pharmacy, 2nd Edition (Healthnotes, Prima, 1999), the A–Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions (Healthnotes, Prima, 1999), Clinical Essentials Volume 1 and 2 (Healthnotes, 2000), and The Patient’s Book of Natural Healing (Prima, 1999). A former professor at Bastyr University of Natural Health Sciences, in Kenmore, WA, where he served as the Endowed Professor of Nutrition, Dr. Gaby is the Chief Medical Editor for Healthnotes, Inc.
Copyright © 2002 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.The combination of arginine (an amino acid) and yohimbine (a constituent of the herbal remedy yohimbe) is an effective natural alternative to Viagra®, according to a new study in