Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 7/16/2021
Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is a common sexual performance issue that affects about 30 million men in the United States.
If ED is affecting your sex life and you’ve searched for information about treating ED, you’ve probably seen recommendations for various medications, supplements and natural treatments such as essential oils.
While research shows that essential oils may offer some health benefits, there isn’t very much in the way of scientific evidence to support essential oils for erectile dysfunction.
Below, we’ve covered how and why ED occurs, as well as the most recent research on essential oils for erectile dysfunction.
We’ve also shared a few science-based treatments that you can use if you’re one of the tens of millions of American men affected by ED.
Before we look at the research on essential oils for erectile dysfunction, let’s quickly go over the basics of how and why erectile dysfunction happens.
While getting an erection may seem simple, the truth is that erections depend on a complicated, multi-step process that involves your brain, nerves and cardiovascular system.
When you’re sexually stimulated, your brain and local nerves send signals to tissue called the corpora cavernosa — a pair of spongy, elongated chambers inside your penis. The muscles that control blood flow to this tissue relax and blood flows into your penis, causing it to become hard.
As blood enters into your penis, a fibrous membrane called the tunica albuginea stops the blood from flowing out, helping you to sustain your erection during sexual activity.
ED occurs when one or several factors disrupt this process, causing you to lose your erection or not get an erection in the first place.
Some of these causes are physical. For example, issues that affect your cardiovascular function may restrict blood from flowing into your penis. Conditions that affect your nervous system may affect sensation and make it harder for you to become sexually aroused.
Our guide to the causes of erectile dysfunction discusses these factors and the effects they can have on your sexual performance in more detail.
Right now, there isn’t any high-quality research on the potential role of essential oils for erectile dysfunction.
Although it’s possible to find lists of “best essential oils for erectile dysfunction” online, the science behind a lot of claims made about essential oils and ED isn’t very strong.
This is because there’s very little research on the effects of essential oils on sexual function in general. Of the few studies that are available, most are tiny in size and feature animals rather than humans.
For example, studies have found that several popular essential oil ingredients, such as ginger extract, clove extracts and cinnamon extract, may produce improvements in sperm count or sperm motility, testosterone levels and other sex-related effects in rats.
While these studies can look convincing at first, and often appear in guides to treating ED with essential oils, they have several weaknesses.
First, although they do look at certain aspects of sexual function, none specifically address the effects of essential oils on erections or sexual performance.
Second, they’re tiny in scale. Most studies of this type feature very few test subjects, meaning it’s impossible to reach a reliable conclusion about the effects of the substance studied.
Finally, while it’s good to see some research into the effects of essential oils, they usually aren’t human studies. They’re usually performed on lab rats, meaning we can’t assume that their findings are meaningful or accurate for humans.
Now, does this mean that essential oils don’t work for ED? Not quite. Some essential oils might have sexual performance effects, including some that result in better erections for men affected by erectile dysfunction.
However, we don’t know this yet. Science is a process of inquiry and discovery, and we haven’t yet looked into the effects of essential oils enough to know if they offer any benefits as potential treatments for ED.
Although there aren’t any conclusive studies that show a link between essential oils and better erections, several proven, science-based treatments for ED are available.
These medications, which are referred to as PDE5 inhibitors, work by increasing blood circulation to your penis and making it easier to get and maintain an erection.
Research shows that they work, are easy to use and that they’re effective for guys of all ages and backgrounds. While they can potentially cause side effects and interactions, problems are rare when they’re used as directed.
Since ED medications work by increasing blood flow, they’ll only cause erections when you’re aroused, not when you don’t want to get hard — which means sexual desire is key. They won’t improve your sex drive and won’t get you in “the mood,” but they’ll help your body’s physiological response to sexual stimuli.
In addition to medication, several other methods are used to treat ED, including psychotherapy, vacuum constriction devices and, for severe erectile dysfunction, even surgery.
For many men, making a few small changes to your habits and lifestyle can often improve your sexual performance and reduce the severity of ED — a topic we’ve covered in our list of natural ways to protect your erection.
Right now, there isn’t any scientific evidence that shows a link between essential oils and better erectile function or sexual performance for men with ED.
If you’re one of the tens of millions of American men with erectile dysfunction, you’ll get the best results by talking to a healthcare provider and using science-based ED medication.
We offer several ED medications online after a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider, including sildenafil (Viagra®), tadalafil (Cialis®) and avanafil (Stendra®).
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