Korean red ginseng has been shown to alleviate erectile dysfunction and improve the ability to achieve and maintain erections even in patients with severe erectile dysfunction (Price & Gazewood 2003). Ginsenosides can facilitate penile erection by directly inducing the vasodilatation and relaxation of the penile corpus cavernosum. Moreover, the effects of ginseng on the corpus cavernosum appear to be mediated by the release and/or modification of release of NO from endothelial cells and perivascular nerves (Murphy & Lee 2002). In men with type 2 diabetes, oxidative stress has been suggested as a contributing factor to erectile dysfunction and animal studies suggest that ginseng can preserve 'potency' via its antioxidant effect (Ryu et al 2005).
In a double-blind crossover study, 900 mg Korean red ginseng was found to significantly improve the Mean International Index of Erectile Function scores compared with placebo. Significant subjective improvements in penetration and maintenance were reported by participants and penile tip rigidity on the RigiScan showed significant improvement for ginseng versus placebo (Hong et al 2002).
A significant improvement in erectile function, sexual desire, and intercourse satisfaction was demonstrated in 45 subjects following 8 weeks' oral administration of Korean red ginseng (900 mg three times daily) in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. Subjects demonstrated significant improvement in mean International Index of Erectile Function scores compared with placebo (baseline, 28 ± 16.7; Korean red ginseng, 38.1 ± 16.6; placebo, 30.9 ± 15.7) (Hong etal 2003).
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