Herbs that Benefit Men
Regardless of a man’s age, there are many herbs that are beneficial for a variety of health issues. Herbs can aid in balancing hormone levels, increase stamina & endurance as well as having therapeutic effects on the male reproductive system. Younger men tend to benefit from tonic herbs that are restorative, support hormone production and enhance energy. As men age, herbs of particular benefit to the reproductive system may be more appropriate. The following are examples of herbs for men that have been traditionally used for hundreds of years, in many cultures.* these are also examples of herbs good for the Sacral Chakra.
General Tonic and Adaptogen Herbs
Adaptogens are herbs that can be taken on a daily basis, over long periods of time that help restore immune function, balance energy & stress levels and support hormone production (in the brain, testes, adrenals, etc.). Tonic herbs are either long or short term that generally support a specific body system by building or increasing muscle/organ mass. The following are some popular herbs used as tonics or adaptogens especially for men (these herbs may also be effective for women).
Ashwaganda (Withania somnifera) is the Ayurvedic counterpart to Asian Ginseng. The name Ashwanganda in Sanskrit means “like a horse” referring to its rejuvenating effects on sexual function, stamina and energy. Unlike Ginseng, Ashwaganda is a grounding herb that provides energy while suppressing anxiety. In India, this herb has been valued for over 2,500 years as a lifelong tonic for men. It can be taken alone or mixed with other herbs as a tea, tincture or in capsule form.
Ginseng (Panax ginseng = Asian Ginseng- China or Korea) (Panax quinquefolius = American Ginseng) This is the king of all tonics and the most well-known adaptogen. This versatile herb acts as a stimulant to the entire body increasing resistance, stamina and sexual potency. Ginseng has so many uses and is often combined with other herbs in teas, tinctures and encapsulated formulas.
Eleuthero / Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) Another awesome adapatogen with a better price tag! It has also been used for thousands of years, recently rediscovered in 1855 and named Siberian Ginseng, a close relative of Asian Ginseng with similar properties. Eleuthero helps normalize body functions, inhibits stress responses, detoxifies the liver and is useful as an immune enhancing herb. This a favorite herb for athletes to use during periods of intense physical activity building endurance.
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a Peruvian root vegetable and herb used for thousands of years as a nourishing food containing 31 different minerals and 60 different phytonutrients. Maca is a tonic herb that benefits the endocrine system affecting hormone balance in both men and women. Known to enhance fertility and support normal sexual function while providing energy and stamina. Maca root powder can be taken in smoothies, prepared as a porridge or encapsulated taken as pills.
Triphala Is probably the most widely used Ayurvedic herbal formula in the US. This slow acting tonic can be taken from infancy through old age. Triphala in Sanskrit means “three fruits” named for the three berries that make up this “herb”- Amlaki (or Amla), Bibitaki and Haritaki. This is one of the few remedies that treat all three doshas, containing all six tastes in balanced proportions. Useful as a general tonic for all body systems, mild laxative and immune system stimulant. Use the powder in smoothies or capsules.
Herbs for Men’s Reproductive System**
Usually we are talking about herbs for the Prostate and easing symptoms of BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia). Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens), one of the most popular herbs for the prostate, is a native low growing palm bearing clusters of medicinal berries. This herb has been used extensively to reduce enlargement of the prostate, strengthen the bladder and regulate sex hormones. Saw Palmetto can be used alone or combined with other herbs in tinctures, teas and capsule formulas.
Sexual Performance (ED): Ashwaganda (fertility), Saw Palmetto, Catuaba (Sex Desire, Erections), Damiana leaf (ED, Sex Desire) Ginkgo (ED), Fo-ti root (ED), Epimedium (ED, increases sperm production, Sex Desire), Yohimbe bark, Sarsaparilla root, Muira puama root, Maca (fertility, Sexual Desire).
Herbs can be consumed in a variety of ways. Better tasting herbs work well in tea blends, while bitter tasting herbs can be taken in either a liquid form - tinctures / extracts (herbs extracted in alcohol) or powdered in capsules. Powdered or ground herbs are usually put into gelatin capsules taken orally or added to a smoothie if you do not like to take pills.
Which herbs to choose and how you decide to take your herbs depends upon age, current health and individual needs. The nice thing about using herbs is that each has multiple effects on the body, as well as having nutritive value. There are many herbal teas, tinctures and custom blended especially for men options found at Herbal Elements. If you need help developing a formula, or would like an experienced herbalist to custom blend one for you, stop by Ubi’s. I am available on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday for consultations and questions.
* Keep in mind that not herbs are appropriate for everyone. Certain herbs may not be a good fit for many pre-existing health conditions and pharmaceutical medications may interact or adversely affect an individual. Use herbs with care, and consult with a medical professional before taking herbs whenever necessary. A diagnosis from your doctor is recommended. The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA.
**Some adaptogenic herbs should not be used for men with prostate issues (Ginsengs, Epimedium, Sarsaparilla)
Herbal Defense by Robyn Landis with Karta Purkh Singh Kahalsa. 1997 Warner Books.
Prescription for Herbal Healing by Phyllis A. Balch. 2002 Avery Books.
The Way of Herbs by Michael Tierra. 1998 Pocket Books.