Ginseng has been used worldwide for thousands of years as a medicinal herb for treating a variety of health conditions. Significant studies have started investigating ginseng's benefits for men over the years with a heavy focus on infertility and erectile dysfunction.
Ginseng's Effects on Male Reproductive Function
Infertility affects millions of couples around the world. In 2010 alone, 48.5 million couples worldwide were infertile, with the male partner either the sole or a contributing source of infertility in roughly 40% of the cases. Although there is little research yet completed, a correlation between ginseng benefits for men and infertility has been noted.
A study published in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine (2015) reported improvements in sperm concentrations, motility, morphology, and viability in males with infertility after 12 weeks taking 1.5 g of Korean red ginseng daily. The overall research showed that Korean red ginseng may be a useful supplement for male infertility.
Erectile dysfunction is a condition that affects 30 - 50% of men between 40 - 70 years old. Besides age, common contributing factors for this condition are smoking, obesity, and psychological problems. Ginseng has become a popular supplement for erectile dysfunction, with numerous studies supporting its use for this health issue.
A study published in the Asian Journal of Andrology (2007) recruited 60 patients with mild or mild-to-moderate erectile dysfunction and gave them either 1,000 mg of Korean red ginseng or placebo daily. After 12 weeks of treatment, Korean red ginseng showed improvement in erectile function, including rigidity, penetration, and maintenance of erection.
The benefits of Korean red ginseng in the treatment of erectile dysfunction were also reported by a study published in the International Journal of Impotency Research (1995). The study suggested that the effects on vascular flow might be cumulative when red ginseng is administered for a prolonged period of time.
Additionally, a review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (2008) suggested that red ginseng may have similar effects to those of testosterone, with virtually no adverse effects.
Best Form of Ginseng for Men
Korean ginseng benefits for men, especially the red variety, have been the most widely studied and have been shown to be the most effective. Ginseng is categorized into different types based on how it is dried after harvesting. Red ginseng is steamed (unskinned) at 194 - 212F (90 - 100C) for two to three hours. During the steaming process, ginseng starch is turned into gelatin, or jelly, which causes an increase in ginsenoside levels, the active compounds that are thought to be responsible for the restorative and therapeutic nature of ginseng. This high ginsenoside content has been shown to be a major contributing factor to Korean red ginseng's benefits for men.
Ginseng Preparations for Men
The benefits of ginseng for men can be delivered in various ways. Ginseng tea is a very soothing way to reap the herb's properties, and other herbs can be easily infused in this liquid preparation, such as ginkgo, to potentiate ginseng's effects on men.
A variety of ginseng supplements for men, with a specific focus on erectile dysfunction, is available in herbal stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, and online retailers. Capsules and tablets are particularly popular, since they are easy to consume in convenient, fixed doses.
Be sure you always consult your doctor before starting a treatment with ginseng, read the labels before purchasing any supplement, and follow the dosage as indicated.
While the studies aren't conclusive about ginseng benefits for men, the results are promising, and there is already some evidence that a controlled dosage of the herb may help with infertility and erectile dysfunction.
- Asian Journal of Andrology, Study of the efficacy of Korean Red Ginseng in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, 2007
- British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Red ginseng for treating erectile dysfunction: a systematic review, 2008
- Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, Effects of Korean red ginseng on semen parameters in male infertility patients: A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical study, 2016
- Spermatogenesis, Ginseng and male reproductive function, 2013