** This article originally published in Prime Magazine June 2008**
Dear Jonathan, I‘ve got to ask. I have seen the commercials about male enhancement. They seem pretty convincing. Is there any truth to what they claim?
Sigh….. I‘ve tried to avoid this issue but,… I contacted one of these companies after watching their infomercial (rhymes with benz). I got a list of the ingredients, many of which seemed rather benign. There were several however, that I cannot identify, which makes me leery. What also bothered me was the fact the customer service representative could not even pronounce the ingredients correctly (licorice for example). Their website explains their product increases blood flow to the erectile chambers and somehow stems the outflow, hence, you get bigger. I asked about high blood pressure and they told me it is not recommended if you have pressure problems. But what if you do not ask? How many guys have tried the product without knowing the consequence? My other concern is not based on anything but conjecture. How much is too much? Can constant increases cause stretching or tissue damage? Think about a balloon. The first time you blow it up and let the air out, it’s a bit misshapen, keep blowing it up and it really loses a lot its shape and elasticity. Is this possible by too much of a good thing? Unfortunately, I do not have an answer.
Another company sells a topical cream which contains peppermint oil. Peppermint oil!? Have you ever noticed how your face tingles after using a mint shaving cream? This is not exactly the place I want to apply peppermint oil if you follow my drift.
Now, there are some products found individually and in combination that have a track record for safety and efficacy.
MACA is a root and radish like vegetable from South America that is used for food and medicine. According to UMASS researcher Chris Kilham, MACA contains a variety of compounds to help your body develop energy and endurance, enhance immunity, a cardio tonic ,adaptgen and aphrodisiac. It is very useful for both sexes for lack of libido and hormonal imbalance. It is non-toxic and has no known side effects or contraindications.
CATUABA is well known in Brazilian herbal medicine as a central nervous system stimulant and aphrodisiac. In addition to treating impotence, it is used for many nerve conditions including insomnia, sciatica and neuralgia. Summary: Aphrodisiac, nervine, anti-anxiety, tonic, libido stimulant, antiviral, antibacterial and cardiotonic. No known contraindications or drug interactions.
MUIRA PUAMA, also known as “potency wood” is another Amazon rainforest herb. In recent clinical research, Muira puama extracts have been reported to have adaptogenic, antifatigue, antistress and beneficial effects on the central nervous system. The traditional medicine history for Muira puama is filled with stories of its use dating back many centuries. Summary: Useful for erectile dysfunction, impotence, libido enhancement, male tonic, central nervous system tonic, anti depressant, cardiotonic, hypotensive and memory enhancer. Very safe and effective.
YOHIMBE. This African tree bark was used for many years for erectile dysfunction. Yohimbe stimulates erectile tissue in both sexes, enhances sensitivity and helps increase sperm count and motility. Long term or overuse of Yohimbe can cause nervousness and increased blood pressure. There are concerns that over use can cause over stimulation or irritation to erectile tissue and could contribute to erectile dysfunction. Yohimbe is best used sparingly, or in a combination. If you suffer from heart or kidney disease, or if you have high blood pressure, it would be best to avoid using Yohimbe.
DAMIANA has historically been used as an aphrodisiac and mild sedative. Damiana has been used by both sexes to increase libido and is also helpful for anxiety and depression. There are no known contraindications or drug interactions.
There are many other herbs that have a history of use as aphrodisiacs, such as the Ginsengs, along with foods such as chocolate and oysters. Yes they can help, just do not trust what you see or read on the internet. The Rule of Thumb: Believe 50% of what they say, and Do Not Buy Their Product! The HERBARIUM carries many of the aforementioned herbs, from reliable sources. KNOW YOUR SOURCE! Over the years I have seen some pretty weird products for male enhancement, with some strange ingredients, and it never ceases to amaze me that people would ingest this stuff without having the slightest idea of what the ingredients were or what they could do. Honestly, when I see these infomercials, I feel sleazy and dirty just watching them. If you are going to do it, do it right.