• Erectile Dysfunction

Impotence, or erectile dysfunction, is a problem getting or keeping an erection of the penis. The penis is then not firm enough to have sex.

It is treated with medicine and healthy habits. Some people may need to use devices. Others may need surgery. Natural therapies have been used to get or keep an erection.

Natural Therapies

Likely Effective

Ginseng is a plant with roots that are taken as a supplement. It is likely to help maintain an erection. A3, A12

May Be Effective

These therapies may benefit erectile function:

May Not Be Effective

These therapies may not benefit erectile function;

Not Enough Data to Assess

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse. For example, French maritime pine bark may make the immune system more active. Talk to your doctor before taking it if you have problems with your immune system.


Herbs and Supplements

REFA1 Ledda A, Belcardo G, et al. Investigation of a complex plant extract for mild to moderate erectile dysfunction in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-arm study. BJU Int. 2010;106(7):1030-1033.

REFA2 Kamenov Z, Fileva S, et al. Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of Tribulus terrestris in male sexual dysfunction-A prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Maturitas. 2017;99:20-26.

REFA3 Borrelli F, Colalto C, et al. Herbal Dietary Supplements for Erectile Dysfunction: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Drugs. 2018;78(6):643-673.

REFA4 Kotirum S, Ismail SB, et al. Efficacy of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) on erectile function improvement: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Complement Ther Med. 2015 Oct;23(5):693-698.

REFA5 Mohammadzadeh-Moghadam H, Nazari SM, et al. Effects of a Topical Saffron (Crocus sativus L) Gel on Erectile Dysfunction in Diabetics: A Randomized, Parallel-Group, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2015 Oct;20(4):283-286.

REFA6 Stanislavov R, Rohdewald P. Improvement of erectile function by a combination of French maritime pine bark and roburins with aminoacids. Minerva Urol Nefrol. 2015 Mar;67(1):27-32.

REFA7 Sansalone S, Leonardi R, et al. Alga Ecklonia bicyclis, Tribulus terrestris, and glucosamine oligosaccharide improve erectile function, sexual quality of life, and ejaculation function in patients with moderate mild-moderate erectile dysfunction: a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, single-blinded study. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:121396.

REFA8 Corona G, Isidori AM, et al. Testosterone supplementation and sexual function: a meta-analysis study. J Sex Med. 2014 Jun;11(6):1577-1592.

REFA9 Santos CA Jr, Reis LO, et al. Tribulus terrestris versus placebo in the treatment of erectile dysfunction: A prospective, randomized, double blind study. Actas Urol Esp. 2014 May;38(4):244-248.

REFA10 Mitkov MD, Aleksandrova IY, et al. Effect of transdermal testosterone or alpha-lipoic acid on erectile dysfunction and quality of life in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Folia Med (Plovdiv). 2013 Jan-Mar;55(1):55-63.

REFA11 Xiong G, Li B, et al. Chinese herb formulae for treatment of erectile dysfunction: a systematic review of randomised controlled clinical trials. Andrologia. 2014 Apr;46(3):201-223.

REFA12 Choi YD, Park CW, et al. Effects of Korean ginseng berry extract on sexual function in men with erectile dysfunction: a multicenter, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical study. Int J Impot Res. 2013 Mar-Apr;25(2):45-50.

REFA13 Schoonees A, Visser J, et al. Pycnogenol® (extract of French maritime pine bark) for the treatment of chronic disorders. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Apr 18;(4):CD008294.

REFA14 Dording CM, Mischoulon D, et al. SAMe and sexual functioning. Eur Psychiatry. 2012 Aug;27(6):451-454.

REFA15 Shin BC, Lee MS, et al. Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: a systematic review. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 Aug 6;10:44.

Safarinejad MR, Shafiei N, et al. An open label, randomized, fixed-dose, crossover study comparing efficacy and safety of sildenafil citrate and saffron (Crocus sativus Linn.) for treating erectile dysfunction in men naïve to treatment. Int J Impot Res. 2010 Jul-Aug;22(4):240-250.


REFB1 Cui X, Zhou J, et al. Acupuncture for Erectile Dysfunction: A Systematic Review. Biomed Res Int. 2016;2016:2171923.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
  • Review Date: 11/2019
  • Update Date: 06/01/2020