Since its arrival on the market in 1998, Viagra® has been the most popular and widely recognized treatment for erectile dysfunction, ubiquitous as the little blue pill.
But alternative medicine has been a growing trend as consumers step back from corporate America and "big pharma", and the hunt for natural alternatives to ED meds has continued.
Homeopathic medicine and ancient remedies continue to circulate. Is there a "homeopathic Viagra?" Are there safe homeopathic remedies for ED? Here's the story.
What Is Homeopathic Medicine?
Homeopathy has been around under this term since its inception in Germany during the late 18th century.
This medical system is based on the belief that the body can heal itself with the help of natural substances that stimulate the healing process. Obviously, this is similar to the way that all medicines "work"; the difference with homeopathy is the principle of “like cures like.”
"Like cures like" means that whatever creates symptoms in a healthy person can be used to treat an illness that involves similar symptoms.
For example, cutting an onion results in watery, irritated eyes that tear up. Under homeopathic approaches, an onion could thus be a great treatment for seasonal allergies that create those same symptoms.
Another crucial aspect of homeopathic medicine is the “law of minimum dose.” The goal of these remedies is to trigger the natural defenses of the immune system, not to cause more harm. In the example of onions, if someone is experiencing allergies and they cut an onion, the symptoms will probably worsen dramatically. Instead, homeopathic medicine posits that the smaller the dose, the more beneficial the effects.
How Is Homeopathic Medicine Made?
Perhaps the most important aspect of homeopathic medicine is the “potentization” process.
Due to the fact that ingredients are sometimes toxic or allergenic, the process of dilution is extremely important in homeopathic medicine. Along with onions, some other ingredients that get deployed in homeopathy include poison ivy, white arsenic, belladonna, and arnica. In order to safely consume these dangerous plants, they must first be significantly diluted through “potentiation.”
The ingredients of choice are added to water or alcohol, shaken, and mixed thoroughly. Agitation is intended to activate the curative powers of the ingredient. Due to the principal belief of the “law of minimum dose,” the more diluted, the more potent it may be, and therefore more effective.
In some homeopathic systems, the process suggests diluting an ingredient by a factor of 10 or 100, denoted by the roman numerals "X" for "C". For example, a 1 X solution would be a ratio of one ingredient to 10 parts dilution. Remember, this system is based on the belief that the more an ingredient is diluted, the more potent it can become.
What Is Homeopathic Medicine Used To Treat?
The use of homeopathic medicine is widespread today and used to treat a variety of conditions, with varying degrees of success. Research has been fairly conclusive that homeopathic medicine isn’t an effective treatment for many conditions, but perhaps due to the placebo effect, anecdotal success stories abound.
Homeopathic medicine is delivered as tablets, pellets, liquid drops, creams, and gels with very low dosage recommendations.
Some of the most common issues that homeopathy aims to treat include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Ear infections
- High blood pressure
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Muscles aches
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Scrapes and bruises
Homeopathic medicine is also used as a potential treatment for various sexual function conditions such as premature ejaculation, reduced sex drive, and erectile dysfunction.
What Is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get or maintain an erection strong enough for sex. There are many causes of erectile dysfunction, both physical and mental, that can make the exact cause difficult to identify.
In general, ED is related to issues involving the cardiovascular and circulatory systems. While there is no singular cure for erectile dysfunction, lifestyle changes can result in a significant reduction in frequency and severity. For example, a healthy and balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and protein; getting 30 minutes or more of exercise daily; and eliminating bad habits like alcohol abuse or smoking cigarettes can all have a significant impact on the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
Possible Homeopathic Treatments For Erectile Dysfunction
When it comes to treating the symptoms of erectile dysfunction, it’s nearly impossible to beat the effectiveness of prescription medications like Viagra® or Cialis®. Millions of people around the world have used these medications with great success for decades, and the research speaks for itself.
However, a few homeopathic options get credit for treating the symptoms of erectile dysfunction online and in homeopathic books. None of following has substantial research support, but the list includes:
- Acidum Phos: Recommended for men with a lack of sex drive, a nervous weakness during sex, or who experience night emissions.
- Agnus Castus: Recommended for men that have had intense and frequent sexual activity for many years or men that are very anxious about their abilities regarding sex. It’s also recommended for guys experiencing erectile dysfunction and a "chilled" sensation in their genitals.
- Argentum Nitricum: Recommended for nervous or imaginative men that are suffering from performance anxiety. It’s also recommended for “warm blooded” men that crave sweet or bitter tastes.
- Caladium: Recommended for men that experience a completely limp and flaccid penis despite being adequately stimulated and having a sexual desire. It’s also recommended for men that crave the use of tobacco and nicotine.
- Causicum: Recommended for men that experience a reduction in physical pleasure during sex or a lower sex drive in general. Also recommended for men that often feel too tired or weak to adequately perform sexual activities.
- Damina: Recommended for men with low sexual desire and older men that wish to strengthen their pelvic or genital region.
- Lycopodium Clavatum: Recommended for men that experience erectile dysfunction as a result of excessive worrying and men that lack self confidence in general. It is also recommended for men experiencing problems with gas and bloating and men that routinely experience an energy slump in the late afternoon or evening. It may also be recommended for treating premature ejaculation.
- Nuphar Luteum: Recommended for men that have completely lost the desire to engage in any form of sexual activity.
- Sabal Serrulata: Recommended for men who feel sexually weak, have problems related to their testes, experience semen leakage, enlarged prostate, and painful ejaculation.
- Selenium Metallicum: Recommended for men with chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, low sexual stamina, and sterility issues. It’s most often used for men over 60 that experience issues related to their prostate such as semen leakage.
- Sepia: Recommended for men experiencing sexual exhaustion or lack of confidence.
- Staphysagria: Recommended for men that have a history of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. It may also be recommended for quiet men with strong emotions related to emotional suppression or being overly sensitive and for men that feel extreme embarrassment or shyness.
- Tribulus Terrestris: Recommended for men that are experiencing difficulties related to urination.
- Yohimbinum: Recommended for men with nervous exhaustion or erectile difficulties relating to their central nervous system.
Depending on the reason for the erectile dysfunction, homeopathic medicine practitioners, called homeopaths, may recommend the options above as homeopathic ED remedies. However, evidence for their effectiveness and safety (or lack thereof) make them mostly not worth the risk when other good options exist.
The scientific community has largely rejected the notion that homeopathic medicines are an effective treatment approach. When it comes to homeopathic medicine and erectile dysfunction, the research just doesn’t support the claims.
Prescription ED medications have a 20-year track record treating ED effectively in guys of all ages, and when taken under the supervision and prescription of a medical doctor, are a great option for many men.
Physicochemical Investigations of Homeopathic Preparations: A Systematic Review and Bibliometric Analysis—Part 2