Health30 Sep 2009 02:44 pm
A new edition of The Intellectual Devotional, this time with a focus on Health, is coming to stores on October 16! (Click here to pre-order your copy.) As well as continuing to expand on posts from the General Edition, “The Devoted Intellect” blog will introduce and expand on material from the Modern Culture devotional. Today’s entry on “Ginseng” is from the “Drugs & Alternative Treatments” section of the Health edition.
It is estimated that 30 million men in the United States suffer from erectile dysfunction, making it the most prevalent sexual disorder in men. Erectile dysfunction is defined as the ongoing inability to achieve and/or maintain an erection for satisfactory sexual performance. Erectile dysfunction can be diagnosed as mild (successful erections are achieved 70-80% of the time), moderate (40-60%) or severe (0-30% of the time). The likelihood of developing erectile dysfunction increases with age: 39% of 40 year-olds suffer from the condition, and a whopping 65% of men over the age of 65 have reported difficulties with achieving or maintaining erections. A number of physical and psychological factors may contribute to the development of erectile dysfunction, such as depression (and conversely the use of anti-depressants), diabetes and illness.
Countless men have found relief from their erectile dysfunction since 1998, when the wonder drug Viagra became available by prescription. However, Viagra and its competitors (Cialis, Levitra) are not without their side effects and not all medical insurances cover these drugs. Moreover, these medications can be prohibitively expensive for those who must purchase it out of pocket. As such, a number of alternative treatments, such as red ginseng, are being researched for their efficacy in treating erectile dysfunction.
There are two common types of ginseng: “red” Panax ginseng (Asian) and “green” ginseng Panax quinquefolius (North American). While North American ginseng is used for its “cooling” properties, Asian ginseng has “heating” properties, i.e. it is thought to improve circulation. Some studies have found that penile rigidity and girth, libido and patient satisfaction was markedly higher amongst test subjects who had taken red ginseng treatments instead of the placebo.
However, findings have thus far not been conclusive and there have been too few studies for researchers to make any definitive claims. Moreover, many scientists have expressed reservations about administering high doses of herbal remedies to patients, as they are not currently regulated by the FDA and may cause unaccounted for side effects. Thus, until a reliable and less expensive alternative is discovered to be effective, men with ED will simply have to shell out for Viagra or hope that a romantic weekend getaway does the trick….
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