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Erectile dysfunction is caused by a number of reasons from chronic conditions to problems with stress or depression. Rhodiola rosea is a herbal supplement that can help manage anxiety but could it also help a patient suffering from erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is already a common disease in society with prevalence rates expected to only increase in the next decade. In 1995, there were approximately 152 million male patients worldwide suffering from erectile dysfunction. By 2025, projections indicate this number could be nearly 322 million males. [1] The main reasons for this are primarily due to an increase in life expectancy worldwide and the increase in co-morbidities like hypertension, diabetes mellitus and stress-related disorders [2].

Pharmacological treatments are available and include medications that increase NO (nitric oxide) synthesis to help stimulate blood flow to the penis and sustain an erection. One of the most popular compound on the market for this goes by the name of sildenafil, more popularly referred to as Viagra. [3] Unfortunately, there are many side effects like cross-reactivity with hypertensive medications, headaches, and rashes that can make Viagra useless in helping patients [4]. As a result, natural treatments for erectile dysfunction are gaining in popularity as an alternative treatment option for erectile dysfunction. We can now use different vitamins and dietary supplements for ED. In previous articles, I have talked about some of these like how DHEA increases libido and L-arginine offers help for erectile dysfunction and they can be used to help improve erections, but they are not entirely reliable. In this article, we will focus on another popular natural treatment that may have some benefits for erectile dysfunction; a compound called Rhodiola rosea. The question is could Rhodiola rosea treat your erectile dysfunction? 

What is Rhodiola rosea? 

Rhodiola rosea is a herbal supplement that has received much attention in the world of psychology and has many clinical applications when it comes to regulating levels of stress and anxiety. In one study, researchers examined 80 mildly anxious participants to see if this treatment could help control their stress. Compared to the control group, at the end of the trial period participants demonstrated a significant reduction in self-reported anxiety, stress, anger, confusion, and depression even after only 14 days. [5]

Another important thing to consider is if Rhodiola rosea is safe. Like I said in many other articles dealing with supplements for erectile dysfunction, many of the supplements on the market are marketed as being effective without needing to pass safety inspections first so patients may be consuming dangerous compounds. 

In a more long-term study, 1375 patients were asked to take Rhodiola rosea for four weeks to determine if they noticed any side effects. At the conclusion of the study, researchers determined that patients who participated in this study saw improvements in their stress symptoms and also tolerated the medication very well. Mild symptoms only included upset stomachs and occasional headaches with no major adverse reactions reported.[6

At this point, we can easily say that Rhodiola rosea can help with stress and anxiety as well as that it is well-tolerated in patients, but could Rhodiola rosea treat your erectile dysfunction as well? 

Can it Really Help Your Erectile Dysfunction? 

This herb has been used as a natural treatment for erectile dysfunction already in Eskimo populations living in the Arctic, an area where this plant can grow. In theory, it should be a helpful supplement when it comes to erectile dysfunction if it helps a person relax. When people are stressed, adrenaline circulates through the bloodstream making people more prone to increased heart rates and breath rates while erections would be quite difficult. If a patient is calmer and able to handle this anxiety, the parasympathetic nervous system could work more efficiently (instead of the sympathetic nervous system) and the quality of sex life should be improved. [7]

Whether this theory works in practice, Rhodiola rosea was tested to determine if it would be an active agent for improving sexual function. Patients suffering from a life-long history of premature ejaculation were asked to partake in this study. In total, 91 patients took this herbal supplement for 90 days, and a significant reduction in their premature ejaculations was noted at the conclusion of the study. Follow-up investigations suggest that three months after treatment cessation, there was no significant difference between the treated group and the controls. This demonstrates that the medication is only effective as long as patients are taking the supplement. [8]

As far as the effectiveness of Rhodiola rosea is regarding erectile dysfunction, no scientific studies have proven a direct link with ED as a treatment option. In theory, Rhodiola rosea should be beneficial for patients suffering from erectile dysfunction. Studies confirm that is a beneficial agent when it comes to managing your depression and increasing energy levels. Depression has long been linked with erectile dysfunction and when a patient is in psychological despair, it is only natural that sexual desire and arousal are muted. 

What makes matters worse is that most anti-depressant medications make erectile dysfunction worse as a side effect of these classes of medications as important neurotransmitters in the brain are down-regulated; the same needed to cause an erection. [9

If patients utilize Rhodiola rosea as a natural supplement, their depression can improve, and erectile dysfunction could disappear as a secondary effect without having the same side effect panel. 

All in all, Rhodiola rosea can be one of the vitamins and dietary supplements for ED that you utilize to find relief. It can help improve your sex life by decreasing anxiety and reduces depression. No studies directly prove that Rhodiola can help treat erectile dysfunction as a monotherapy but in theory, Rhodiola rosea could treat your erectile dysfunction and no apparent risks are likely. 

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