The popularity of the “little blue pill” known as Viagra or Sildenafil has skyrocketed in the recent years, determining men worldwide who want to treat erectile dysfunction to purchase this drug. Considered to be the magical cure for sexual dysfunction in men, Viagra has come a long way since it was developed by British scientists. Ever since 1998, when it was made available by the US-based pharmaceutical company Pfizer, it has become one of the best-known drugs of all time.
Everyone knows that, when it works as intended, Viagra can cause a men who is sexually stimulated to get an erection. The pill does that by inhibiting an enzyme called cGMP-specific phosphediesterase type 5 (PDE5). This enzyme promotes degradation of cGMP, which regulates blood flow in the penis. By inhibiting this enzyme, normal blood flow is reinstalled and men can enjoy sexual intercourse once again. Basically, here is how Viagra works:
- A man takes a Viagra pill, which contains sildenafil citrate.
- The sildenafil citrate enters the bloodstream and flows through the body.
- The sildenafil citrate attaches to the PDE5 enzyme in the penis and inhibits most of it.
- When the man becomes sexually aroused, the brain sends the normal message to the nerve cells in his penis, which produce nitric oxide as usual.
- The nitric oxide creates cGMP, which starts relaxing the arteries in the penis.
- Inhabiting the PDE5 means that the cGMP no longer breaks down. Instead, it builds up and allows the arteries in the penis to fully dilate.
- The penis inflates with blood and, finally, the man gets a full erection.
On contrary to popular belief, Viagra is not only used to treat erectile dysfunction. The magic pill has many other health benefits and is used to treat other conditions, such as pulmonary hypertension and altitude sickness. Many men who suffer from congestive heart failure and diabetes have also been helped by Viagra, as well as stroke patients.
Despite having these health benefits, the blue pill also has some side effects, which include:
- nasal congestion
- impaired vision
In rare cases, this drug has led to serious adverse effects such as vision impairment, severe hypotension, sudden hearing loss, myocardial infarction, stroke, ventricular arrhythmias, and priapism. This is why it is always best to consult your doctor before using this pill. Even though Viagra is easily available on the Internet, you should get a doctor’s opinion before using it, for whatever benefit it might be. Also, only a physician can prescribe you the right dosage, which differs depending on the condition you want to treat.
If you are reluctant in purchasing Viagra, know that there are many natural alternatives you should try first. The terms “natural Viagra” and “herbal Viagra” have become quite popular these days. However, they can also confuse people.
Herbal or natural Viagra is a name that can be given to any herbal product advertised to treat erectile dysfunction. While the name is taken from the renowned brand name Viagra, herbal Viagra does not normally contain sildenafil citrate, the main ingredient on which the blue pill is based. Nevertheless, certain herbal viagras have been reported to contain synthetic chemical compounds similar to sildenafil. Herbal Viagra has side effects as well, most of which can be quite dangerous. These include abnormally low blood pressure and restricting blood flow to vital organs.
Viagra has become a generic term for many people referring to drugs designed to treat erectile dysfunction, which is why people can get confused when hearing about its herbal alternatives. And speaking about alternatives, before resorting to drugs, men suffering from erectile dysfunction could try some natural remedies.
There are numerous natural Viagra alternatives that can be purchased by simply going to the market. The most popular ones are ginkgo biloba, arginine, ginseng, watermelon, and maca root. Even though there are no clinical trials or scientific evidence that these herbs and plants are effective in treating erectile dysfunction, they are completely natural, so it can’t hurt to try them.
1. Ginkgo Biloba
This herb is especially known because of its memory boosting capacities. However, it provides many other benefits, since it enhances blood flow not only to the head, but also to the more sexually significant parts of the male anatomy. The better the blood flow, the bigger the chances for the penis to become erect. After conducting a study on men who were taking antidepressant drugs, researchers at the University of California concluded that ginkgo reversed sexual problems in 84% of those men.
Arginine is an amino acid naturally released in the body. It can also be found in various dairy sources, such as poultry, nuts, seeds, and seafood. The amino acid has several important roles in several body processes, including cell division and hormone release. It is useful for many immune system functions, as well. Arginine also enhances blood flow, so men with circulatory problems that may be contributing to sexual issues will particularly benefit from this amino acid.
Ginseng is a plant that has been known for a very long time for having overall health benefits. A recent research carried out in South Korea has shown that men with erectile dysfunction managed to improve their sexual performance after taking ginseng tablets for just a few weeks. Ginseng roots may also be taken for type 2 diabetes.
So, it is not only tasty, light and refreshing, but it can also help men hoping for some fireworks in the bedroom? According to a researcher, watermelon can be considered to be a natural Viagra, because it is very rich in citrulline. Citrulline is an amino acid that relaxes and dilates blood vessels, just like any other drug meant to treat erectile dysfunction. This amino acid is then converted in arginine, which will consequently help in blood vessel dilatation.
5. Maca Root
This herb is also known as Peru’s natural alternative to Viagra. It is used as an herbal extract in drinks and food and can easily be mixed in a smoothie. Although not scientifically proven, maca root does not only have erectile capabilities, but it can also boost libido and desire shortly after being consumed.
These are the most common natural Viagra alternatives that people use nowadays. Other herbs and plants than can be used as a natural treatment for sexual dysfunction in men include:
- Garlic – it may be stinky, but it contains nitric oxide synthase;
- Epimedium – commonly known as “horny goat weed” – the name says it all;
- Muira Puama plant – an ancient Amazonian herb also known as “potency wood”;
- Fo-Ti – a traditional Chinese herb used to reverse impotence;
- Yohimbe – a psychoactive plant widely known to be an herbal aphrodisiac.
Remember that even though these natural remedies have been touted as alternative treatments, there is no real evidence to support their use. Also, while they are natural, they can too have some mild side effects, especially if taken in large doses. It is completely up to you if you want to try these natural Viagra alternatives first, or skip directly to the magic blue pill. Regardless of the case, consulting a doctor beforehand is a good idea.