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Natural Viagra: Herbal & Other Alternatives to Treat ED

Angela Sheddan

Medically reviewed by Angela Sheddan, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 11/21/2022

No one wants to experience erectile dysfunction. As a matter of fact, it can feel pretty damned embarrassing — even depressing. 

But it isn’t uncommon, and you don’t have to suffer through it. 

There are numerous possible solutions and treatments available to help men regain their sexual health. 

Medications likeViagra® are just one option. For men interested in non-prescription solutions, there are other natural alternatives for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. 

Though, it’s worth noting that the jury is largely out on just how effective these might be.

What Are Natural Viagra Alternatives?

When it comes to treating a medical condition, the word “natural” can mean many things. 

It’s become a buzzword regarding food, skin care products, treating illnesses and everything in between. 

Defining “natural” is important. For the sake of our analysis, we have included natural and home remedies for ED that do not require surgery or taking a prescription medication.

Vacuum Therapy 

Vacuum devices are a mechanical treatment for sexual dysfunction. Used since the early 1980s, vacuum therapy involves using a pump to create a vacuum on the penis, leading to engorgement by engaging your blood vessels and increasing blood flow. 

Once the vacuum has enlarged and stiffened the penis, a ring is placed at the base to keep the tissue engorged for sexual activity. 

Satisfaction with the results of a penis pump or vacuum vary. 

One smaller study published in the Journal of Urology of 100 men with ED problems found the overall satisfaction rate with the penis pump was 68 percent, and those who were unsatisfied cited pain, inconvenience and fleeting effects as their reasons.

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Sex Therapy 

For men whose ED is caused or worsened by psychological factors, counseling or sex therapy for ED may provide some relief. 

Things like anxiety, relationship conflicts, trauma, cultural taboos and unresolved relationship attachments can all be addressed with the help of a mental health professional.

It’s obvious that erectile dysfunction can be frustrating. Talking to a licensed therapist or mental health caretaker can help you work through any mental health issues that could be causing your ED and may lead to an enhancement of your sex life. 

Talk to a licensed therapist now.

Herbal Remedies and Dietary Supplements 

There are currently many over-the-counter herbal supplements marketed as natural remedies for erectile dysfunction. However, it’s extremely important to note the scientific efficacy, because many of these herbs and homeopathic remedies haven’t been thoroughly tested or approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and should be taken lightly at best. 

Epimedium or horny goat weed, for example, has been shown to have small improvements on erectile dysfunction and aphrodisiac effects (increases in sexual desire) in animal testing. Still, no high-quality human studies have confirmed these and they could act as placebos. 

Red ginseng (an antioxidant) and L-arginine (a type of amino acid) are two other products frequently marketed as herbal viagra alternatives but lack much scientific evidence for natural ED remedies. 

Finally, a small study published in the journal, Pharmacognosy Review, (involving 29 men) of yohimbine was shown to be a useful treatment option in orgasmic dysfunction.

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Watermelon

There is some chatter about a fruit that can somehow help ED — specifically, watermelon. 

We wanted to address this one directly: the evidence supporting watermelon for erection help is slim, at best. 

The basis for suggesting watermelon fruit, juice or rind as a solution is likely due to the compound l-citrulline, of which watermelon is a good source. 

L-citrulline is believed to increase nitric oxide synthesis, which could, in theory, improve sexual function. 

But clear cause-effect evidence of this relationship between l-citrulline and ED is scant.

There have been small clinical trials published in the journal, Urology, that indicated oral supplementation of l-citrulline may improve erectile dysfunction, but even then, the information is far too thin to actually substantiate the claim — and the research didn’t specifically involve watermelons.

Researchers concluded that despite the positive results, it’s still a topic that “deserves further research.”

Lifestyle Changes

Because there are certain lifestyle factors that increase your odds of developing ED, managing these risk factors can both lessen your risks and possibly even help rid you of ED after you’ve begun experiencing it. 

There are many ways to naturally protect your erection. Losing weight, getting regular exercise, quitting smoking and managing chronic health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes can go a long way in improving erectile function and sexual health.

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The Bottom Line on Natural Viagra Alternatives

Perhaps you’re searching for “natural” solutions because you aren’t ready to seek medical advice for your sexual performance. That’s totally understandable. 

Erectile dysfunction can be a sign of more serious medical issues. Trust us when we say: your healthcare provider has heard it all about men’s health. 

Plus, even if your cause of ED is entirely harmless, talking to a healthcare provider can help you get a treatment with an active ingredient that is clinically proven to work. 

With online telemedicine services and online pharmacies, like Hims, you can even meet with a medical provider and, if prescribed, get prescription drugs like Viagra (or another erectile dysfunction medication) shipped to your door. 

No need to visit your healthcare provider, or even leave home for that matter.

Talking with a healthcare professional about your experiences can help ensure there isn’t something more pressing at play, and then you can seek a treatment — natural or otherwise — that’ll get you back in the game.

4 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Ali, et al. (2013, January). Exploring scientifically proven herbal aphrodisiacs. Pharmacognosy reviews. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3731873/
  2. Becher, et al. (n.d.). Patient acceptance of and satisfaction with an external negative pressure device for impotence. The Journal of urology. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2231889/
  3. Carrieri, et al. (n.d.). Oral L-citrulline supplementation improves erection hardness in men with mild erectile dysfunction. Urology. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21195829/
  4. Office of the Commissioner. (n.d.). FDA 101: Dietary supplements. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved November 17, 2022, from https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/fda-101-dietary-supplements

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.