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Herbal Treatments for Erection Enhancement?

Apr. 28, 2011
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As regular readers of this column know, I receive a multitude of questions about the capricious penis. People are constantly looking for ways to make it harder and/or bigger. I have mixed feelings about these requests; some of them are health-related, but many have their roots in our society's misplaced emphasis on the phallus as the root of all sexual pleasure and the ultimate measure of manhood. However, I try to answer as many as I can.

Recently, a customer asked if herbal supplements, such as ginseng and yohimbe, can enhance penis width or thickness. The short answer is that simply taking these substances without also looking holistically at other factors that may impact sexual performance is unlikely to yield much of an effect.

For insight into this question, I consulted with Krista McCain, a Milwaukee-based practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) who provides herbal medicine and acupuncture at Hundred Grasses  in Bay View's Delaware House. McCain was unaware of any herbal medicine treatments that could specifically enhance penis width. She also cautioned, "Ginseng, while it is considered to enhance performance, is meant to be used as one facet of treatment for health imbalances that can lead to problems with sexual performance. Ginseng (or other traditional medicines, depending on the person's constitution), along with formulas of combined herbs recommended by a practioner...[and] specific qigong exercises, can be used to move the body toward balance, so that sexual organs [and] hormones can do their job properly. Ginseng isn't a lab-based pharmaceutical; it's a food. It won't be a 'little blue pill.' But, along with other herbs, it can help to treat the root of the imbalance and its ensuing symptoms."

McCain's main point is that simply taking a supplement for a few months won't generally heal what ails you. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, "sexual dysfunction" is considered a symptom of a larger imbalance, or a part of aging, that can be eased through holistic treatment.

McCain recommends that people who are interested in this approach find a TCM practitioner who specializes in andrology, also called men's health, or in sexual and erectile dysfunction. She refers clients interested in andrology to Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine Services, which has four Milwaukee-area locations.

Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXpress? Send them to
laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.

Laura Anne Stuart has a master's degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than a decade. She owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee's East Side.


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