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Korean Panax Ginseng and Sexual Health

Ginseng is one of the most important and time-honored traditional Korean and Chinese Medicine, with a history of safe use for over 1,000 years. Korean Ginseng, scientifically, is known as Panax ginseng(‘panacea’ in Greek means a drug that cures all), and has historically been used to treat a range of diseases that span from as trivial as daily fatigue, stress to as fatal as infertility, and diabetes, neurological disorder, etc.

Many men experience symptoms of erectile dysfunction (ED) as they age. Also known as impotence, ED is an occasional (or prolonged) inability to get or maintain an erection. When ED occurs frequently, you might need treatment for an underlying health issue. Ginseng is often referred to as the King of all herbs and is found to be a promising agent to improve general well-being. Ginseng has also been reputed as an aphrodisiac and is used to treat sexual dysfunction as well as to enhance sexual behavior in traditional Chinese medical practices. Data from animal studies have shown a positive correlation among ginseng, libido, and copulatory performances, and these effects have been confirmed in case-control studies in humans.

This article will provide an overview of two of the most common conditions related to male sexual function, premature ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction, and summarise the recent research surrounding the use of ginseng in their treatment.

What Is Premature Ejaculation?

Premature ejaculation is when the man ejaculates too quickly during intercourse. The NHS suggests that the average time it takes to ejaculate is around five and a half minutes, but there is no fixed description of what constitutes a normal length of time for sexual intercourse to last.

The main determinant of whether or not sex is long enough is the opinion of the individual and his partner, and one definition of premature ejaculation is the inability to control or delay ejaculation, which results in dissatisfaction or distress for the patient.

What Is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is the persistent inability to obtain or maintain an erection of the penis with sufficient rigidity to allow satisfactory sexual performance. The causes of erectile dysfunction are wide-ranging and can be both physical and psychological in nature. Medications, recreational drugs, and lifestyle factors such as obesity, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption, are among the most common factors that contribute to the etiology of erectile dysfunction.

What Does the Research Say About Ginseng and Sexual Function?

Some positive results for ginseng in the treatment of premature ejaculation have been demonstrated after the local application of Korean ginseng in combination with other traditional herbal medicines.

In one study, published in Urology, ejaculation was delayed, and the satisfaction of both partners was increased, following the application of the mixture to the penis one hour before sexual intercourse. However, some local side effects such as mild burning and mild pain were observed.

According to the authors of a double-blind clinical study, published in the March 2013 edition of the International Journal of Impotence Research, ginseng can have a positive effect on many aspects of human health, including sexual function.

A total of 119 men with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction took part in the experiment and were assigned to take a daily supplement of 1200mg of Korean ginseng berry extract or placebo for a period of eight weeks. Data was collected using the International Index of Erectile Dysfunction (IIEF) and premature ejaculation diagnostic tool (PEDT). The result showed improvements in both IIEF and PEDT scores in the group that supplemented with the ginseng extract, and it was concluded that Korean ginseng berry extract is a safe and effective alternative medicine for men with sexual dysfunction.

In a separate placebo-controlled study, published in the Asian Journal of Andrology, 143 male patients with erectile dysfunction took either 1000mg of Panax ginseng or 1000mg of placebo twice a day for a period of eight weeks. No improvement was seen in the placebo group, but scores of erectile function and overall satisfaction were significantly higher in the group that took the ginseng extract. The researchers concluded that the ginseng extract used in the study could be used to improve erectile function in male patients.

A systematic review, published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, evaluated the evidence for red ginseng as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, after gathering data from a search of twenty electronic databases. The results of seven randomized control trials were analyzed in the study, and the authors concluded that they suggest an effect of red ginseng in treating erectile dysfunction and that future research is warranted.

Ginseng was included in another, more general, systematic review, published in the British Medical Journal of Clinical Evidence, in which the effectiveness and safety of a wide range of treatments for erectile dysfunction were investigated. In this study, the quality of various treatments for erectile dysfunction was evaluated using the GRADE system, which is widely viewed as being the most reliable method of assessing the quality of the evidence generated by medical research.

The GRADE scoring system ranges from Very Low to High, and at the end of the study, the only treatments that were given a GRADE evaluation of High were prescription drugs similar to Viagra.

Ginseng was awarded a GRADE evaluation of Moderate and was described as being likely to be beneficial to those with erectile dysfunction.

How Much Ginseng Should a Person Take?

The amounts shown to have a positive effect in studies typically start at around 1000mg per day, but ultimately a person who is considering supplementing with ginseng should always follow the directions given on the label or the advice of a suitably qualified health professional.

The positive effects of Korean red ginseng, especially on male fertility, are five-fold:

1) Promotes Healthy Body Function:

Ginseng strengthens the immune system, combats stress, promotes healthy blood circulation, and increases stamina. The irregular function of all these may have a detrimental effect on your sexual performance, which may cause infertility.

2) Increases Sperm Count and Motility:

Korean ginseng helps to increase sperm count and motility during each ejaculation. If the sperm count is less than 20 million per ejaculation, it is medically considered to be inadequate for procreation. Motility is the trajectory of the sperms which move in almost a straight line in the case of a normal and healthy man, whereas the ones with poor motility follow a spiral path, making it insufficient to impregnate the female ovary. Research suggests Korean ginseng may help to increase overall motility up to 50% per ejaculation.

3) Regulate Hypothalamus:

Korean ginseng supports the hypothalamus of the male body which raises the flow of testosterone in the body that makes the heart pump faster and combats cortisol hormone which increases stress.

4) Stabilizes the Blood Sugar Level:

Studies also show that Korean ginseng may help lower the glucose level in the blood thereby keeping blood sugar in check in males. Having a long-lasting erection becomes difficult if there is the presence of a high level of glucose in the body.

5) Helps in Controlling Depression:

Korean ginseng has a calming effect on the human body which supports a healthy depression management system. Your libido will suffer if you are undergoing depression.

Ginseng in women

Many women also experience a decline in sexual function during menopause. An older study Trusted Source explored Korean red ginseng’s effects on menopausal women.

In the study, 32 women were given either three capsules a day of ginseng or a placebo. Those who received the supplement had improved sexual functioning with no side effects. Researchers concluded that red ginseng may improve sexual function in women.

A 2020 study on menopausal women found that ginseng didn’t statistically relieve the symptoms of menopause, but it did improve sexual functioning for these women.


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