Does ginseng help erections?

Does ginseng help erections? - welzo

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Does ginseng help erections?

Korean red ginseng is included in various traditional recipes that are claimed to treat erectile dysfunction.

Red ginseng is used in traditional medicines.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition when a person cannot achieve or maintain penile erection for a sufficiently long time to allow adequate sexual intercourse. It affects a substantial portion of the UK population, with at least 20% of men experiencing it at some point in their lives. Living with ED is difficult as it can damage your self-esteem, confidence and personal relationships.

While many medications are available to treat it, their side effects are widespread. That's why people are more sifting towards non-medicinal approaches to improve erectile function.

If you want to know more about ED drugs and their side effects, click here to visit our related pages.

Ginseng, the so-called 'herbal Viagra'

Ginseng is the root of various plant species belonging to the same genus (genus Panax). The different species are;

  • American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

  • South Chinese ginseng (Panax notoginseng)

  • Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng)

The last two species are together grouped as the 'Asian ginseng'. The Korean ginseng is the most commonly used type for sexual dysfunction. It is a herbal remedy which is claimed to benefit ED patients. However, it would help if you had the following things in mind before choosing it.

What does ginseng have?

So, what is the effective ingredient in ginseng that helps improve sexual function? At least two pharmacological components have been identified in it. These are


These are the most important active ingredients that are responsible for majority of the actions of ginseng. These compounds have vaso-relaxant (relaxation of blood vessels), anti-cancer, anti-free radical and anti-inflammatory properties.


It is a recently isolated ingredient. It is known to help in neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Huntington's disease etc.). The research on its uses is, however, still underway.

White ginseng vs red ginseng

This herb's roots are used for treating ED and other sexual health issues. The roots of the mature plant which is six years or older are used, while the fresh ginseng is four years or even younger. Various preparations of these roots, e.g., tea, pills and capsules are prepared by herbalists for use.

Ginseng is included in the herbal supplements used for erectile dysfunction.

Here, it is essential to differentiate between two things; white ginseng and red ginseng. The term white ginseng is used for the unprocessed and dried root. If, however, the roots are steamed before drying, it is called red ginseng. Red ginseng is preferred because it contains more active ingredients (ginsenosides) and is therefore pharmacologically more potent.

How does it work in ED?

The exact mechanism of how it works is still debated. However, the following mechanisms are suggested by scientific studies;

It increases testosterone levels.

It was initially thought that it increases testosterone production or that some of its ingredients have similar effects as testosterone. Some research evidence supports this claim.

  • An earlier study on rats found that the use of ginseng in the rats increased testosterone production.

  • Another recent study in 2020 in females also found that including 600 mg of ginseng root powder in the diet increased the testosterone levels in saliva.

  • Another research by Salvati and his colleagues in 1996 found that using ginseng extract improved the testosterone level (both free and total) in men.

It increases the production of nitric oxide (NO)

Some researchers have proposed that it may cause the increased production of nitric oxide (NO) in the corpus cavernosum which is one of the erectile tissues of the penis.

This chemical causes the dilation of blood vessels, thus increasing the blood flow in the erectile dysfunction and a more solid erection.

What does the research say about its use in erectile dysfunction?

The usefulness of ginseng for erectile dysfunction treatment is well documented by scientific evidence. Some of the recent studies are quoted here;

  • A recent systematic review published in 2021 found that the use of ginseng provided only a trivial help in treating erectile dysfunction. The review involved nine studies involving a total of 587 people with ED. As a secondary outcome, it improved the self-reported ability of sexual intercourse. The effect on sexual satisfaction was also trivial.

  • Research published in 2008 reported that the use of red ginseng is effective in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. However, the researchers concluded that the number of participants in the study was limited, and no firm conclusions could be made.

How it helps your body?

The benefits of ginseng are not limited to the treatment of ED. As a part of traditional Chinese medicine, it is used for the improvement of general body performance.


Ginseng promotes healthy relationships by easing out severe erectile dysfunction.

Some of the benefits cited are;

  • It is a very potent anti-oxidant

  • It slows down the process of ageing

  • it improves mindfulness and concentration (brain function)

  • It helps in heart and respiratory diseases

  • It helps in menopause-related problems, e.g., hot flashes

  • It boosts overall well-being and stamina

  • It improves the immune system's performance, thus protecting you from infections.

  • It can help patients with hypertension.

  • It improves energy levels and also relieves tiredness.

Are there any side effects?

The side effects are not severe and are manageable with ease. It is common to note;

  • Headache

  • Stomach issues

  • Constipation

  • Allergy

  • Insomnia

  • Renal toxicity

How much ginseng to use?

Various dietary supplements containing ginseng or its active ingredient (ginsenosides) are available. The recommended dose varies depending on several factors. However, taking 1-2 grams of dried root powder is often recommended. The capsules containing Panax ginseng extract are also available.

In a nutshell

Men with erectile dysfunction may have sexual arousal but cannot maintain an erection for long. Some evidence suggests that ginseng benefits in mild to moderate erectile dysfunction. The evidence however, is not-conclusive and mostly related to a self-identified improvement of sexual function.

Herbal medicines are beneficial if you are worried about side effects.

It nevertheless can be used as a natural treatment for erectile dysfunction.

We have more information related to erectile dysfunction. Click here to explore our ED information page.


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