Ayurveda for Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

Erectile dysfunction (ED), sometimes called "impotence," is the repeated inability to get or maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. ED is a broad category that includes inability to achieve erection, an inconsistent ability to achieve erection, or the ability to achieve only brief erections. The estimated number of men in the United States who are affected by erectile dysfunction (ED) range from 15 million to 30 million, depending on the definition of ED used. The awareness of ED has increased as pharmaceutical treatments such as Viagra are widely advertised. However, current pharmaceutical therapies do not address the root causes of ED. Ayurvedic treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED) is a natural whole-body approach that can restore normal erections and sexual activity.

How Can Ayurveda Help Relieve Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Symptoms?

Ayurveda is a natural treatment that can decrease or eliminate erectile issues by addressing the mental, physical, and emotional causes of erectile dysfunction (ED). Ayurveda focuses on correcting all of the imbalances in an individual to restore equilibrium and stabilize his body, mind, and spirit. Restoring equilibrium will increase overall health and relieve erectile dysfunction.

It might take several sessions with an Ayurvedic practitioner to see improvement in erectile dysfunction (ED) symptoms. During the first session, which may take an hour or longer, the practitioner will conduct a physical exam and thoroughly discuss the patient’s medical history. During the physical exam, the Ayurvedic practitioner may take the patient’s pulse from a series of pulse points on the body. He or she might also observe the tongue, skin, lips, nails, and eyes. Examining these aspects of the body will give clues as to the imbalance present in the patient’s body that is causing erectile dysfunction (ED). When taking the patient’s medical history, the Ayurvedic practitioner will go well beyond discussion of past illness and injury. He or she will discuss family life, the patient’s career, lifestyle including diet and exercise habits, physical and spiritual health. Once the practitioner has assessed the patient’s condition and identified imbalances, he or she will draw from more than 20 types of treatment to suggest a combination of natural therapies to treat the patient holistically. These therapies may range from herbal supplements to yoga, and usually involve simple lifestyle changes to correct the imbalance causing erectile dysfunction (ED).

Ayurvedic treatment for erectile dysfunction is called Vajikaranatherapy. The name comes from the Sanskrit root word vaji, meaning stallion, and suggests that the treatments will increase a man’s vigor and sexual activity to that of a horse.

Recommended Ayurvedic treatments included in Vajikarana may include:

  • Moderating work scheduled to allow time for relaxation and regular mealtimes
  • Obtaining at least 8 hours of sleep each night
  • Taking specific herbs to rejuvenate the reproductive organs
  • Massage with herbal oils
  • Overcoming stress and mental fatigue by practicing yoga or meditation
  • Stopping smoking
  • Avoiding use of recreational and illegal drugs, such as marijuana and heroin
  • Exercising daily
  • Avoiding hot, spicy, and bitter foods
  • Increasing consumption of sweet foods, milk products, and nuts

Why Use Ayurveda for Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?

The origin of erectile dysfunction (ED) can be physiological or psychological in nature, and can be caused by a variety of mental and physical factors. For this reason, the standard Western medical approach to treating the condition with pharmaceutical medication may not be the best solution for all ED patients. Ayurvedic medicine takes into account the wellbeing of the whole body, the mind and the spirit, including factors in the patient’s life such as relationships and stress. An ayurvedic treatment plan is tailored to treat the root causes of erectile dysfunction on an individual basis: an ayurvedic practitioner suggests a combination of therapies designed to restore mental and physical balance in that individual. Thus, the man’s overall health and wellbeing are restored and symptoms of ED generally subside.

Studies have shown that use of Ayurvedic treatments and following basic Ayurvedic principles has had positive effects on erectile dysfunction (ED) symptoms. For example, a team of Chilean scientists led by M. Hernando-Berrios in 2008 found that nonpharmacological interventions for the treatment of erectile dysfunction can improve or reverse ED and provide satisfactory and lasting results. Another study in 2007 by Drs V. Dhikav, S. Gupta, and K.S. Anand found that yoga is a feasible, safe, effective, and acceptable nonpharmacological option for erectile dysfunction.

What Is Ayurveda?

This Hindu system of medicine originated in India 5,000 years ago. Ayurvedic medicine uses natural therapies to treat the body holistically. Through these therapies, Ayurveda seeks to teach individuals to balance their body, mind, and spirit, including the emotions and psychology. The three Ayurvedic bioenergetic influences—dosha—which work together to effect health are called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The Vata dosha is the natural force that governs movement and is representative of space and air. The Pitta dosha is the natural force which governs food digestion, sensory perceptions, and discrimination between right and wrong. The Pitta dosha is representative of fire and water. The Kapha dosha is the natural force that governs the body’s weight as well as the structure and lubrication of the mind and body. It is representative of water and earth. When in balance, Ayurvedic principles are designed to help keep people healthy, happy, and in harmony with their soul, life purpose, families, communities, planet, and universe. Ayurvedic therapies include herbs, diet, exercise, yoga, massage, aromas, healing oils, and meditation. By aiming to balance the body, mind, and spirit, practitioners believe Ayurvedic Medicine helps prevent physical and mental issues, including erectile dysfunction (ED).

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?

The cause of erectile dysfunction (ED) in a particular man is often a complex combination of physical and psychological issues. Physical causes of ED can include disease, injury, or side effects of drugs. Since an erection requires a specific sequence of events, involving blood flow, nerves, muscles, and fibrous tissues, erectile dysfunction (ED) can occur when any of the events is disrupted. Western research finds that approximately 70% of ED is caused by diseases such as diabetes, chronic alcoholism, vascular disease, or multiple sclerosis. Additional causes of ED can include side effects of medications such as blood pressure drugs, antidepressants, antihistamines, and ulcer treatments. Still other erectile dysfunction (ED) is a side effect of lifestyle choices that affect the heart and blood vessels, such as smoking, using street drugs, being overweight, and avoiding exercise. Approximately 10-20% of ED is said to be caused by psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, guilt, depression, low self-esteem, and fear of sexual failure. Ayurvedic practitioners find that the root cause of erectile dysfunction (ED) is a body out of balance. The imbalance begins a cascade of physical and psychological events including disease, depression, anxiety, increased intake of medications and surgery that result in erectile dysfunction (ED).

Finding an Ayurvedic Practitioner

The United States does not have a formal licensing program for practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine, although several institutions offer educational programs. The California College of Ayurveda issues certificates of “Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist,” and the Ayurvedic Institute offers certificates in Ayurvedic Studies. In addition, the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine is a professional organization that works to advance Ayurvedic education and regulation. A variety of practitioners are available all over the country and some international Ayurvedic practitioners provide long distance consultations.

Additional Resources

Ayurveda remedies for erectile dysfunction,” Natural Solutions Radio, Dr. Savitha Suri.

Bailey, James. “Vajikarana”.

Krishan, Shubhra. Essential Ayurveda: What It Is and What It Can Do for You, New World Library, Novaro, CA, 2003.

Lad, Vasant. “Ayurveda: A Brief Introduction and Guide,” The Ayurvedic Institute, 2003.

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