Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Overview:

Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to achieve and/or maintain erection for long enough to allow sexual intercourse. This condition is common in men over 50 (about 30%), affecting an estimated 150 million men worldwide.



An erection is a neurovascular process involving the autonomic nervous system and somatic nervous system that works through the pudenal nerve, vascular system, and sinusoidal spaces of the corpora cavernosa. 

Parasympathetic innervation through the pelvic nerves initiates relaxation of the trabecular smooth muscle of the corpora cavernosa through the action of nitric oxide, resulting in the inflow of arterial blood, and cessation of venous outflow.

The causes of erectile dysfunction can be the result of psychological, neurological, metabolic, cardiovascular, drug-related, hormonal, or thyroid conditions.  

+ Psycogenic Causes (Libido):

  • Depression
  • Anxiety

+ Organic Causes:

Includes neurogenic, hormonal, vascular, drug-induced, and penile-related etiologies.


AKA: Penile arterial insufficiency

This can be caused by hypertension, hyperlipidemia, cigarette smoking, diabetes mellitus, and pelvic irradiation or prostate surgery.


Dysfunctions of male hormone production such as testosterone.


Cardiovascular disease, and diabeted-induces vascular damage may result in a loss of function of the vascularity of the penis.


Side effects of certain drugs, such as statin medications can reduce the function of the penis.


Diagnostic Considerations:

  • ECG to rule out cardiovascular insufficiency

Therapeutic Aims:

1. Treat Anxiety or Depression Symptomatically

  • Nervines (Passiflora incarnata)
  • Anxiolytics (Piper methysticum)
  • Thymoleptics (Hypericum perforatum)

2. Support Circulation

Address any hypertension or cardiovascular disease to slow or reverse any cardiovascular causes for this condition.

  • Circulatory stimulants (Zingiber officinalis, Ginkgo biloba)
  • Vascular Tonics (Aesculus hippocastanum)
  • Hypotensives ()
  • Cardiotonics (Crataegus oxycanthus)
  • Antioxidants (Vitis vinefera)

3. Address Potential Hormone Dysfunctions

  • Male Tonics (Ptychopetalum olacoides, Trichilia catigua, Panax ginseng, Tribulus terrestris)
  • Prolactin Inhibitors (Panax spp., Serenoa repens, Vitex agnus-castus)
  • Dopaminergics (Trichilia catigua, Cimicifuga racemosa)

4. Improve Energy Levels And Homeostatic Controls

  • Adaptogens (Panax ginseng, Rhodiola rosea)
  • Adrenal tonics (Rehmannia glutinosa, Glycyrrhiza glabra)

5. Consider Side Effects Of Medications

  • Hepatics (Silybum marianum, Schisandra chinensis, Cynara scolymus)

6. Identify And Treat Other Underlying Causes

  • Thyroid modulators ()
  • Aldose reductase inhibitors ()
  • Blood Glucose Regulators (Stevia rebaudiana)


  • Erectile dysfunction is considered to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. 
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension or Hypercholesterolemia

Differential Diagnosis:

  • Cardiovascular disease


Consider heart condition.


Herbs For Erectile Dysfunction:

  • Muira puama
  • Yohimbine
  • Rhodiola rosea
  • Tribulus terrestris

Erectile Dysfunction Formula

Herb Name Ratio Amount in mL
Zanthoxylum schinifolium 1:2 40 mL
Avena sativa 1:2 20 mL
Serenoa repens 1:2 20 mL
Panax ginseng 1:2 10 mL
Capsicum anuum 1:2 5 mL
Zingiber officinale 1:2 5 mL
Total 100 mL

5 mL 3 times/day


Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

Updated: June 2018

Recent Blog Posts:


  1. Huhtaniemi, I. (2014). Late-onset hypogonadism: current concepts and controversies of pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment. Asian Journal of Andrology, 16(2), 192.