Almost every guy out there has had some sort of nightmare or real-life scenario where he just can’t get it up. Terrifying, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that uncommon.
Chronic erectile dysfunction (ED), especially in aging demographics, is a pretty prevalent issue, and has everything to do with low testosterone levels. However, there are quite a wide variety of supplements or medications out there that claim to help you pop a boner no matter the situation. While Viagra seems to have laid claim to being the “tried-and-true” method when it comes to ED, but there are several alternative ways you can boost your T and not worry about staying limp for the rest of your life.
These are great for people who are trying to avoid the side effects of prescription pharmaceuticals, or perhaps those who don’t want to be subject to the prying and judgmental eyes of nosy relatives and/or friends who insist on raiding your medicine cabinet.
One such useful supplement that has carried over from ancient Chinese medicine into common modern-day use is ginkgo biloba. Most commonly used to improve blood flow (especially to your nether regions), this herb is a pretty useful natural aid for any erectile problems you might be entertaining .
What Is Ginkgo Biloba?
One of the oldest species of tree on Earth, ginkgo, or “maidenhair,” trees have been used in ancient medicine practices and are still used today. The ginkgo biloba plant is rich in antioxidants like flavonoids and terpenoids, which protect cells from biological harm by free radical exposure.
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The ancient Chinese and other traditional cultures typically used the ginkgo biloba herb to treat asthmatic wheezing, incontinence and venereal diseases, amongst other ailments.
In the 1600s, a guy named Engelbert Kaempfer was the first European to discover ginkgo. Linnaeus (the guy who practically invented scientific nomenclature) named the tree ginkgo biloba. A decade or so after this, ginkgo biloba was transported to the United States of America.
Since then, ginkgo has been widely touted in both traditional and Western medicine as a helpful herb that has the ability to treat varying illnesses and disease .
How Are Ginkgo Biloba and Testosterone Connected?
As previously mentioned, a common use of the ginkgo plant is to increase blood flow, which could be the extra push a guy needs to get going. It even helps acetylcholine bind to receptors in the central nervous system, which can boost your libido as well.
It doesn’t just work for dudes either. Ginkgo biloba has been shown to have huge results in improving female sex drives .
Does ginkgo biloba increase testosterone? Ginkgo biloba herbal extract has been shown to increase testosterone levels in lab rats, too . In a 2008 Chinese study, the ginkgo biloba plant was shown to stimulate production of testosterone in the Leydig cells of the testes of diabetic rats.
This gives us reason to believe that the increase in virility, which isn’t specific to rats, could possibly be due to increased testosterone production in Leydig cells of other species as well (that would be humans).
Ginkgo biloba has been shown, according to a 2004 study, to significantly boost nitric oxide levels, which are definitely a huge factor in getting and maintaining erections .
LEARN MORE: What Are the Effects of High Cortisol Levels
Another reason to believe that ginkgo can help with patients suffering from ED or low testosterone is that the herb allegedly helps keep cortisol levels in check . Cortisol, the stress hormone, is a known antagonist of testosterone, so anything that prevents cortisol levels from getting too high indirectly can raise T levels.
While the jury is still out on whether or not ginkgo is a surefire way to boost T levels and sex drive, many individuals have had great results using ginkgo biloba as a supplement to help libido.
Are There Any Other Positive Effects?
Ginkgo has a lot of other benefits in addition to helping anecdotally with erectile dysfunction and libido.
Many health experts claim that the herb is a great aid to help memory, especially in those with Alzheimer’s or other cognitive diseases. The antioxidant-packed ginkgo biloba plant is super conducive to protecting the brain from oxidative damage. Because ginkgo increases blood flow, it can also help by circulating blood through the brain and helping the body with oxygenation. This process can increase focus. Thanks to its benefits with blood circulation, ginkgo biloba is also useful for helping prevent certain eye disorders like macular degeneration .
Ginkgo is also a great supplement for individuals experiencing anxiety or depression. It can be a mood booster, but it shouldn’t be taken with antidepressant drugs, due to possibly adverse drug interactions. Ginkgo can also help circulate neurotransmitters that help calm people down, such as dopamine or serotonin through the body .
Ginkgo biloba extract is also anecdotally said to contribute as an anti-inflammatory agent in the body, which can help reduce reactions to injury or allergy .
How Can I Supplement With Ginkgo Biloba?
Ginkgo biloba extract is often processed as a liquid, in capsules, tablets, or even as a tea. Thanks to its plentiful history as a health-benefiting herb, the market for ginkgo supplements stretches pretty far and wide. Healthy doses can range from 40 milligrams to 240 milligrams a day in order to show benefits.
Ginkgo doesn’t necessarily play so well with other medications, specifically anti-depressants, and it can reduce their efficacy greatly. It unfortunately also contains similar allergenic compounds to poison ivy, so if you know you’re allergic to the leaves-of-three, you should probably sit this one out .
Like any medication alternative, it’s wise to consult a healthcare professional before or during ginkgo biloba supplementation to make sure nothing is going wrong. But if you’re clear to use it, why not give it a shot?
If you’ve used ginkgo biloba to boost T or help with erectile dysfunction, share your experience in the comments section below.
Citations and Sources
1. Iliades, C. (2011, December 7). Sexy Supplements: What Really Works? Retrieved July 10, 2015.
2. Nordqvist, J. (2014, September 26). What is ginkgo biloba? Does ginkgo help improve memory? Retrieved July 10, 2015.
3. Ginkgo Biloba, Erectile Dysfunction and Antidepressant Use. (n.d.). Retrieved July 10, 2015, from http://www.peaktestosterone.com/Ginkgo_Antidepressant_Erectile_Dysfunction.aspx
4. Increase Testosterone Naturally. (n.d.). Retrieved July 10, 2015, from http://www.curenature.com/2013/04/increase-testosterone-naturally.html
5. McKay, D. (2004). Nutrients and botanicals for erectile dysfunction: Examining the evidence. Alternative Medicine Review, 9(1), 4-16. Retrieved July 10, 2015, from National Institute of Health.
6. Ginkgo Biloba May Help Control Cortisol Levels. (2003, March 1). Retrieved July 10, 2015, from http://www.cpmedical.net/articles/ginkgo-biloba-may-help-control-cortisol-levels
7. Ginkgo Biloba Benefits & Information. (n.d.). Retrieved July 10, 2015, from http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-ginkgo-biloba.html