Ginkgo biloba Extract (GBE) for Erectile Dysfunction

Ginkgo biloba Extract (GBE) for Erectile Dysfunction

Reference: Sohn M & Sikora R: Ginkgo biloba extract in the therapy of erectile dysfunction. J Sex Educ Ther 17: 53-61, 1991.

Summary: Fifty patients with proven arterial erectile impotence were treated with 240 mg of GBE daily for nine months. In contrast to previous studies on oral treatment regimes for erectile dysfunction, objective response criteria were added to subjective parameters. The patients were divided into two groups. The first group had achieved sufficient erections with intracavernous drug application before treatment with GBE. The second group had not achieved sufficient erections with high-dose intracavernous drug applications.

In the first group (n=20), all patients regained spontaneous and sufficient erections after six months of oral GBE treatment. Arterial flow rates were actually improved after three months and continued to improve at six months. Rigidities at the penile tip and base were significantly improved after six months and were found to remain constant during the nine-month duration of the study.

In the second group (n=30), improved arterial penile flow rates and rigidities were noted at six and nine months. Nineteen patients responded to intracavernous PGE1 following GBE treatment. Of these nineteen patients, nine required a minimal dose of 5 mcg while the other eleven required a maximal dose of 20 mcg. The remaining eleven patients remained impotent.

No side effects were noted during treatment with GBE.

Comments/Opinions: The only study cited in most of the phytopharmaceutical review literature on GBE for erectile dysfunction has been an abstract of a presentation at the 48th annual meeting of the American Urological Association.(1) This study used 60 mg of GBE daily in sixty patients with arterial erectile dysfunction that had not responded to papaverine injections. The study duration was twelve to eighteen months. After six months of treatment, 50% of patients had regained potency and in 20% a new trial of papaverine was successful. In the other patients, 25% showed improved arterial inflow but no change in erectile dysfunction while 5% had no changes at all.

The study summarized above uses a higher dose of GBE (80 mg tid) with a better success rate. It is interesting to note that in patients previously responding to intracavernous injections of papaverine and phentolamine, GBE was most highly successful. Patients not previously responding to these injections were found to respond after GBE treatment.

Because we understand the mechanism of action and the safety of GBE, it should be the phytomedical treatment of choice for erectile dysfunction. Herbal medicines like yohimbine and muria puama have questionable efficacy and their mechanism of action is poorly understood. Yohimbine can also cause serious side effects including panic attacks, elevation in blood pressure, heart rate, and headaches.

(1)Sikora R, Sohn M, et al: Ginkgo biloba extract in the therapy of erectile dysfunction. J Urol 141: Abstract 73, 1989.

Natural Product Research Consultants, Inc.


By D. Brown

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