Alternatively speaking: Below the belt

Alternative medicine expert Natalie Marx answers your questions: Are there any herbal remedies to help with erectile dysfunction?

Herbal remedies 370 (photo credit:  REUTERS/Simon Newman)
Herbal remedies 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Simon Newman)
Men with sexual difficulties are usually not identified or treated as often or as well as they should be due to several reasons. There may be psychological barriers to sexual functioning, in which case the first port of call should be seeking individual psychotherapy or couples therapy with your partner or consulting a sex therapist.
Natural medicine can offer a plethora of options when it comes to treating sexual disorders in both men and women. My clinic has seen countless success cases of individuals who have improved their sexual function through the use of herbs, homeopathy and changes in diet. The questions below were handpicked from literally hundreds of letters from men who wrote to me for advice on what they consider a taboo subject matter. It really is more common than people like to think. The beauty is that there is a remedy.Q. Dear Natalie, I have a really embarrassing problem and suffer from premature ejaculation. My doctor gave me topical anesthetic cream but it has not helped. Can you suggest any herbal remedies? Thank you.A. Premature ejaculation is a very common complaint and most men are too embarrassed to talk to their health care practitioners about it. It is essential to check what the root cause might be. Treating holistically is key in treating any imbalances and this may mean exploring any emotional fears or issues with your partner.
Once all avenues have been explored, I suggest you try using Winter Cherry (also referred to as ashwagandha) one of India's most popular ayurvedic herbs used most commonly to help men’s sexual problems. This herb is often prescribed for increasing physical stamina, increasing libido, improving erections and most importantly in treating premature ejaculation.
You can also try applying Angelica Root oil. Angelica provides a similar numbing effect to that of topical anesthetic creams. I have frequently prescribed angelica root oil and have found it to be a very effective treatment.
The homeopathic remedy Graphites taken in 12c potency between two to four times daily is another option. With repeated use this remedy can help stop premature ejaculation. Once the situation improves you can discontinue use of this remedy.
I highly recommend trying the wonderful flower essence of hibiscus. Drop between 3-4 drops of the essence into half a cup of water and sip. Hibiscus works to relieve stress, performance anxiety and helps promote romantic sexual feelings which in turn help to maintain the ability to control ejaculation.
Cloves can also be crushed and made into oils and then applied to the penis.
Clove oil gives a warming and slightly numbing effect. Research made at Creighton University School of Medicine cites that clove oil applied to the penises of rats significantly reduced premature ejaculation.
Finally, I recommend taking 100 milligrams of kava before engaging in sexual intercourse. You can take this in a pill form or even in powder form and brewed as a tea. Kava helps to increase blood flow to the penis and slows down the reaction to enhanced sexual stimulation. This will help you maintain your erection for longer, therefore reducing the likelihood of premature ejaculation.
Q. Dear Natalie, I suffer from erectile dysfunction. I have a serious partner now and the problem is becoming unbearable. Any natural advice is greatly appreciated.A. This is another extremely common disorder amongst men and can be due to underlying psychological or physiological reasons. I think it is important to look at remedies that affect blood flow. Firstly, check your diet. I suggest cutting down on alcohol. 
Increasing vitamins can improve blood flow throughout the body, including the penis. Vitamin B1 (thiamin) strengthens nerve transmission and gives energy to cells throughout the body, improving circulation and stamina. Vitamin B3 also improves circulation.
Vitamin C is essential in the production of hormones related to sexual activity and improves symptoms of sexual dysfunctions in both men and women due to its ability to improve the blood flow in the genital area. It increases sperm count and reduces blood cholesterol whilst strengthening veins.
Many men with erectile dysfunction often have low levels of zinc. The prostate gland stores concentrated amounts of zinc; therefore by taking a zinc supplement it can improve the development of sperm and increase testosterone.
The amino acid, L-arginine helps to improve erectile dysfunction by enhancing the function of nitric oxide, the substance that increases blood flow. Ginkgo biloba is a popular herb used to increase blood flow throughout the body and in the penis.
Finally, the herb Ginseng - which has been used by Chinese medical practitioners for centuries - is considered a reliable treatment for erectile dysfunction. The herb corrects imbalances in the body that can cause erectile dysfunction from any causes including inadequate testosterone production, compromised immunity and psychological stress. I recommend taking between 100 to 300 mg standardized extract one to two times daily.
Q. Dear Natalie, I am suffering from high stress at work and a low libido. Can you suggest any foods which can help enhance my libido? Thank You.
A. Other than trying to balance your work and your leisure time, I would recommend including more bananas in your diet. Bananas are not only an excellent source of fiber but they also increase the sex drive because of their high level of bromelain, which boosts libido.
Include more avocados in your diet;they are high in potassium and Vitamin B6, which increase the output of male hormones.
Although garlic may not give you a fresh smelling breath, it can definitely increase your sex drive as it increases blood flow to the sexual organs. Garlic can be taken in capsule form to avoid having any after taste.
Finally, figs can increase both stamina and libido.Either fresh or dried, try including these as part of your daily snack.
This column is brought to you as general information only and unless stated otherwise is not medical advice nor is it based on medical experiments. This column is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. For more information about specific problems, please contact a doctor.Natalie runs a clinic both in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem offering a wide range of natural treatment, including a women’s clinic every Wednesday. To make an appointment please email
Ask Natalie: If you have a health query and would like an alternative answer, email Natalie with your question at nateopath@gmail.comSomeone Once Said:“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition." – Thomas Edison, inventor of the light-bulb