Calvin Thrash, M.D.
Men over 55 sometimes begin to lose their capacity and interest in sex.
If you are on any drugs, you should by all means talk to the doctor about them. Nearly any drug can be a problem; and if you are on any, see if the doctor will stop them and give natural remedies, at least for a while to see if it helps. One should have a workup by a urologist who specializes in that field. There are many causes of impotence; doctors used to brand it all psychological, or else the natural process of aging. Now it is known that there are a lot more possible causes. One of the most common of them is diabetes; it can be borderline or extremely mild, but still be enough to affect the nerves to the pelvis. Circulatory problems are very common. These can be generalized, or can be localized to the blood vessels supplying the penis since very large amounts of blood are required for an erection. Researchers are finding in some cases, that an old scarring injury that was forgotten about can cause restriction of blood flow enough to prevent an erection.
The male climacteric, or “change of life,” does occur, though much more subtly in men than in women. It is now possible to measure the levels of testosterone in the blood, and if they are low for a man’s age, supplemental shots of testosterone may be of great value. The use of testosterone would have to be under the supervision of a doctor. There are other causes: the use of drugs of many different kinds are notorious, especially some of the ones given for high blood pressure; also some of the tranquilizers. Alcohol and the use of tobacco are common problems. Thus the need for a complete exam and testing.
There are some general principles that may be helpful in any case:
Diet: Avoid sugar or highly refined carbohydrates, and also the free fats—that is, margarine, most cooking oils, fried foods, mayonnaise, butter, including peanut butter, etc.
We advise a total vegetarian diet, free of all animal products. Make certain you get plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and some nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Exercise: Should be done daily, out-of-doors; walking is fine, or any other good kind of exercise. It should not be violent, just a brisk walk once, or preferably twice, a day, or the equivalent in gardening, indoor gymnasium workouts, stretching, etc.
Food Supplements: Try the herbal product ginkgo (made from the leaves of the ginkgo tree). It is one of the best products known for circulation, and has been known to help even when there seemed to be no known circulatory problem.
Magnesium should be tried. It can be easily taken in the form of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate), which is an excellent vasodilator. Start with one-half teaspoon in a glass of water twice a day. You can go up to one teaspoon twice a day if necessary. Back off if it causes diarrhea (it very seldom does in these low doses). Other forms are available in capsules.
Ginseng has been highly rated by the Orientals, and is at least an excellent tonic-type herb. The American, the Korean, or the Chinese/Japanese ginsengs are all about the same. Drink a cup of the tea three times a day. You can mix a teaspoonful of the American sarsaparilla with the ginseng, if you can find it. These products certainly won’t hurt, even if they don’t solve the problem; and they can be useful in just about any of the causes of impotence.
Plant sterols from certain herbs and foods may be of great value.
Herbs High in Plant Sterols:
- Alfalfa leaf tea
- Licorice root tea
- Red raspberry leaf tea
Other herbs that have estrogen and progesterone precursors are hops and ginseng. All ginsengs have a lot of saponins in them.
Foods High in Plant Sterols
- Nightshade Family (bell pepper, paprika, pimentos, eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes)
- Whole grains (barley, corn, oats, rice, wheat)
- Anise seed
- Food yeast
- Wheat germ
Medications: If you are on any drugs, you should by all means talk to the doctor about them. Nearly any drug can be a problem; and if you are on any, see if the doctor will stop them and give natural remedies, at least for a while to see if it helps.
Correct any known physical problem such as high blood cholesterol or blood pressure.
Correct any possible psychological causes, such as discontent, grief, guilt, jealousy, etc.
For more information contact:
Uchee Pines Lifestyle Center
30 Uchee Pines Road #75
Seale, Alabama 36875