Male enhancement most commonly materialises in the form of pills, some of which are proven to boost male sexual performance. There are options that offer penis enlargement, as well as those more familiar that offer firmer and longer lasting erections like Viagra or Cialis. We provide the prescription pills with an abundance of information, however this page looks into the over-the-counter tablet that can be purchased without a prescription and many claim staggering results that will revolutionise your sex life. Do they work, what's in them and are they safe?

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Why use male enhancement pills?

A large amount of male enhancement pills are available over-the-counter without a prescription. They are also widely available to purchase online, although do make sure you're using reputable sources.

It's suggested that, for men who are suffering from erectile dysfunction or are dissatisfied with their penis size, these offer an affordable treatment that avoid what some men fear will be an embarrassing conversation with their doctor. They see results and the treatment they are using provides a perfect resolution to the issue.

However, caution should be exercised when consuming these medications; in fact, the same level of caution that you would give prescription treatments. Unlike clinically proven treatment, many of their claims are unfounded and unproven, some have been found to contain hidden and potentially harmful ingredients and some can result in negative side effects and drug interactions.

Herbal impotence

Herbal impotence treatment is a term used to describe any herbal product that is advertised as being a treatment for erectile dysfunction. There are many different types of herbal impotence treatments available containing different ingredients. These kinds of herbal products may use the word 'Viagra' in the name because it is the most popular brand name for erectile dysfunction treatment. Any herbal product that claims to be a herbal version of a branded impotence medication is in no way associated with that particular brand or the pharmaceutical company that produces it.

What kinds of herbal impotence treatments are there?

There are a large number of herbal products claiming to act like Viagra as it is such a profitable market. Many people seek alternatives to medication because they are often cheaper, even if this means they will be significantly less effective or even potentially harmful. Herbs that are most often used to create these products are epimedium (known as horny goat weed), ginseng, ginkgo, maca, damiana, yohimbe, palmetto, tribulus terrestris and muira puama.

Epimedium

Epimedium

Epimedium, also known as horny goat weed, is a supplement that is said to be able to treat a number of different ailments, but it's probably most well known for it's benefits to treat impotence. None of the supposed benefits of this ingredient has conclusively been confirmed.

Ginseng

Ginseng

This is a widely used traditional treatment, often used in Chinese medicine. It's believed to increase the production of nitric oxide, which plays an instrumental part in the erection process as it improves blood flow. It's also thought to enhance energy levels and help with virility.

Gingko Biloba

Gingko Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is used in traditional medicine because of its powerful antioxidant properties and its ability to improve energy levels. It's this ability of Ginkgo that makes it a popular ingredient in herbal impotence treatments.

Maca

Maca

Used in the Andean Mountains for centuries, maca is believed to have many different properties and can be used in salads and even to make beer, but it's also thought to be able to enhance the male libido and semen quality.

Damiana

Damiana

Damiana has been used in the past as a treatment for anxiety disorders, but was also used throughout Mexico as an aphrodisiac as well as well as a sexual enhancement aid. It also has a reputation for improving sexual health and has properties that some believe can benefit general wellbeing.

Saw Palmetto

Saw Palmetto

Research has shown that Saw Palmetto has the ability to treat a number of sexual dysfunctions, including prostate problems. It was traditionally used by Native Americans to help improve sex drive and stabilise hormones. As a natural anabolic, it's believed to help repair damaged penile tissues.

Tribulus Terrestris

Tribulus Terrestris

Teribulus terrestris is a weed that tends to thrive in warmer climates such as in Africa or the Mediterranean. It's known by many different and more colloquial names such as 'bullhead' and 'caltrop', and some studies have shown that it can enhance erection strength.

Yohimbe

Yohimbe

Yohimbe comes from Africa and is sold widely as an aphrodisiac. It's also thought that it's effective at treating erectile dysfunction and health problems like high blood pressure.

Muira Puama

Muira Puama

Muira Puama is also known under the name 'potency wood' and is found in Brazil. Historically it was used to help treat a variety of different ailments, but a 1990 study showed that it might be particularly effective at improving a man's sex drive and erection strength.

Are herbal impotence treatments as effective?

Though companies that sell these products may claim that they are as effective as the genuine ED medication, no clinical trials have ever proven these claims. The active ingredient in Viagra that treats impotence is sildenafil citrate, which should not be present in herbal varieties. If it did so, it would require a prescription. However, there have been synthetic chemical compounds found in some herbal supplements that are similar to sildenafil.

A study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, published in 2016, looked at the key ingredients found in the best-selling male enhancement pills to evaluate their effectiveness and side effects. Below is a summary of the most common ingredients and what they do:

Ingredients Effectiveness Side Effects
DHEA (A hormone manufactured from soy and wild yam)

May possibly be of some benefit. No definitive findings.

Relatively safe with little impact on hormone levels.
Fenugreek

May improve sexual function, arousal and muscle strength.

Relatively safe with no evidence of adverse effects.
Ginkgo biloba

No evidence that it can benefit erectile dysfunction.

Side effects can include headaches, seizures and heavy bleeding. The likelihood of side effects is increased if taken with Coumadin.
Ginseng

South Korean study found it could cause a small but significant improvement in sexual function.

It can cause minor side effects such as headache, nausea, constipation and insomnia. It can lower blood sugar so caution should be exercised if you have diabetes.
Horney Goat Weed

No apparent benefit for sexual function.

Relatively safe with few common side effects. Rare cases of toxicity have been reported, leading to hypomania.
L-arginine (amino acid)

May improve sexual function for some with erectile dysfunction.

Relatively safe. Has been linked with a drop in blood pressure but not any significant change to heart rate.
Maca (Vegetable)

Evidence to suggest increased sexual behaviour in animals, but not proven in humans.

Considered safe, with some rare reports of toxicity causing a small increase in blood pressure and liver enzymes.
Tribulus

No strong evidence to prove its usefulness.

Rare cases of liver and kidney toxicity have been reported.
Yohimbine

Evidence suggests this may have benefits in improving sexual functioning.

Side effects can include headaches, hypertension, insomnia and excessive sweating.
Zinc

Some evidence suggest slight benefits to libido.

Safe with no reported adverse effects from use.

Are these supplements safe?

Herbal impotence supplements are traditionally accepted to be a very safe alternative to branded medication. However, this is not necessarily the case. There have been a number of adverse side effects reported after the use of herbal impotence treatments. Most notably, they can cause very low blood pressure, and can also restrict the blood flow in the body to the vital organs. Some reports suggest that herbal treatments for impotence could be toxic if taken in too large a dose.

Is herbal impotence treatments legal?

Yes. It is currently completely legal for companies to manufacture and sell herbal alternatives to Viagra. However, some ingredients used in the herbal supplements may be restricted in some countries. If you order your herbal impotence treatment online, you should make sure that the ingredients listed in the product are all legal in the country in which you reside. In the UK, the MHRA has a published list available of all the registered herbal ingredients so it is possible for you to verify this information from a trustworthy source.

Claims to be '100% natural'

Many of these male enhancement pills claim to be 100% natural, but Medical News Today reported just how many have been found to contain traces of phosphodiesterase-5-inhibitors (PDE5s), which are linked to ED prescription medications. In fact, one study found that as many as 81% of these over-the-counter medications sold in the US and Asia had trace PDE5 elements. This is the same type of medication as Viagra and while it's a highly effective treatment for erectile dysfunction, it should not be consumed without consulting a medical professional beforehand and obtaining a prescription to make certain it is safe for you to use.

PDE5 inhibitors can be dangerous to your health and are not suitable for men with certain underlying medical conditions. They can also cause potentially dangerous side effects, including sudden drops in blood pressure when combined with other medications such as nitrates. If you're suffering from erectile dysfunction, it is recommended that you consult a medical professional who can advise you on the best medication to suit you.

Concerns and risks

Other than the risks associated with PDE5 inhibitors, there have been concerns expressed by medical professionals around the quality, purity and consistency of male enhancement pills bought online or over-the-counter. Because these supplements are classified as foods rather than medicines, they are subject to less rigorous testing and controls. It's up to each individual manufacturer to manage the quality and consistency of the product. It is for this reason that some medical professionals will be slow to recommend them to their patients.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) echoed this warning of the hidden risks with some supplements. At various stages, these over-the-counter supplements have sparked controversy and the FDA has issued statements to warn consumers. The FDA has published a list of 29 over-the-counter products to be avoided due to potentially harmful ingredients, which may not be listed on the label.

Recommendations

If you have from erectile dysfunction, you should consult with a medical professional before starting any treatment, including over-the-counter medications. They can assess whether you're at an increased risk of experiencing side effects due to underlying complicating health conditions, or due to interactions with other medications you're taking.

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