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Effects of Ginseng on Male Reproduction

Ginseng also referred to as the “King of all herbs,” is known to have the potential to enhance general health. It gets better, traditionally, ginseng for male reproduction was so common. The miracle herb as the men of that era referred to it was mainly used to enhance male reproduction and sexual performance.

It has a reputation for being an aphrodisiac and is used in traditional Chinese medicine to cure sexual dysfunction as well as to stimulate sexual activity. 

It is important to note that significant association between ginseng, libido, penile erection, and performance along with ginseng’s benefits has been verified in case-control studies among people.

Moreover, ginseng increases sperm quality and quantity in healthy people and those with treatment-related fertility problems. 

The ginsenosides found in ginseng are mostly responsible for these effects. 

There is a lot of information on ginseng’s diverse effects on male reproductive function, which focus on its biological mechanisms of action, representing new therapeutic approaches for treating diseases or disorders of the male reproductive system. 

The rise of infertility in men

The rapid spread of infertility is a global issue. WHO reports that 48.5 million couples of reproductive age were infertile in the world in 2010. 

Now, this is important, In 40% of these cases, the male spouse has either been the sole cause of infertility or has actively contributed.

Herbs for Infertility treatment have become more and more commonplace worldwide. 

Take this research for example, Of the 29% of infertile couples at a clinic who had used complementary and alternative medicine, 17% resorted to herbal remedies in the last 18 months.  

In a Jordanian clinic-based survey, 44% of infertile patients reported using herbal remedies as part of their infertility therapy. 8% of them resorted to Chinese medicine.

Even more, In South Australia, 4.2% of those interviewed who were infertile used ginseng as a herbal remedy. 

Also, In traditional Chinese medicine, ginseng was and is still one of the most valuable herbs.

It has been shown to have various physiological effects on many systems, including cardiovascular, immunological, and neurological functions. Additionally, it’s been used to improve sexual satisfaction and performance.

This article will review the effects of ginseng on male reproduction. Specifically, how ginseng affects the production of fertilizing sperm and male sex performance. 

Ginseng for male reproduction – Sexual performance

1. Ginseng for Male Reproduction – It improves erection

In conventional Chinese medicine, ginseng is frequently used by itself or in a herbal mix to improve sexual performance. 

Scientific assessments and confirmation of the positive benefits were made in meta-analyses of randomized clinical trials.

For instance, 45 men with moderate to severe erectile dysfunction experienced improvement after receiving three daily doses of 900 mg of Korean red ginseng for eight weeks. 

The firmness, penetration, and maintenance of erection were all significantly improved after taking Korean red ginseng (1000 mg) three times per day for 12 weeks in similar research of 60 males with erectile dysfunction. 

Ginsenosides, the pharmacologically active parts of ginseng, have been shown to increase the sensitivity of vascular smooth muscle cells by inducing the creation of nitric oxide in endothelial cells and perivascular neurons.

This nitric oxide production relaxes smooth muscle, which increases blood flow to the corpus cavernosum, the erectile organs that induce erection. 

2. Ginseng boosts Libido

The hormonal and neurological components of sex drive in mammals coordinate intricately. 

Luteinizing hormone (LH), produced by the anterior pituitary, regulates the Leydig cell, where the male sex steroid testosterone is made.

Testosterone is one of the most common prescriptions for men who have decreased sex desire since testosterone levels and libido strongly correlate.

In a clinical evaluation with 66 participants, Asian ginseng extract has been demonstrated to dramatically raise the levels of free testosterone and plasma total, a follicle-stimulating and luteinizing hormone.   

Ginsenosides increase acetylcholine release is linked to a rise in the absorption of choline by nerve endings, therefore improving libido.

According to these results, ginseng may control the pituitary-testis axis at the neuronal and hormonal levels.

Sperm Quality and Production

According to research, sperm counts have fallen in numerous nations worldwide for the past 20 years. 

For instance, research conducted on 26000 French men over 17 years revealed a consistent decline in sperm concentration. The average sperm level of a 35-year-old male decreased by 32% between 1989 and 2005.

To put it briefly, the causes for the decline in fertility globally are not entirely understood, but it may point to a general decline in male well-being, which is becoming a significant health concern. 

Consequently, preventative measures need to be adopted, which requires a better understanding of the causes. 

1. Ginseng for male reproduction – It improves Sperm Count and Motility

After taking Panax ginseng, sperm density and motility increased in people with low sperm count and abnormal sperm motility rate (oligo asthenospermia) patients and their age-matched healthy counterparts.

Ginseng therapy for patients with Poor sperm motility(asthenospermia) also significantly increased progressive sperm motility.

Over the years, It has been demonstrated that the Panax ginseng aqueous, organic, and polysaccharide fractions increase the directional motility of human sperm in 60–120 minutes.

Interestingly,these effects are mediated through the activation of nitric oxide synthase activity and Nitric Oxide synthesis, making it possible to identify specific active components for this action.

The functioning of sperm is directly tied to Nitric Oxide. Ginsenosides have been demonstrated to promote acrosome and human sperm capacitation by increasing intracellular Nitric Oxide production and response.  

2. Ginseng for male reproduction – It improves Sperm preservation

Studies show that ginseng can help keep sperm alive.

You might be wondering, how?

Ejaculated sperms incubated with ginseng extract had a considerably greater sperm count than sperms treated with other mainstream drugs. 

That’s not all, Compared to fresh and untreated frozen sperm, treatment with ginsenoside  (50 g/ml) dramatically enhances sperm motility and membrane integrity.

These results imply that ginseng extract could improve fertility by being added to the cryogen used to store sperm. 

In conclusion

For thousands of years, ginseng was used as an essential component of traditional Chinese medicine to treat various physical ailments. 

Most significantly, it got utilized as an aphrodisiac to treat sexual dysfunction and to improve sexual behavior and gonadal functioning.

Therefore, using ginseng may be crucial for the creation of new therapies or for improving the efficacy of existing treatment plans for conditions affecting the male reproductive system.

How we reviewed this article

Sources

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https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8094213/

Leung KW, Wong AS. Ginseng and male reproductive function. Spermatogenesis. 2013 Jul 1;3(3):e26391. doi: 10.4161/spmg.26391. Epub 2013 Sep 13. PMID: 24381805; PMCID: PMC3861174.

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https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3569698/

World Health Organization: Infertility

https://www.who.int/health-topics/infertility#tab=tab_1

Lee HW, Kil KJ, Lee MS. Ginseng for Improving Semen Quality Parameters: A Systematic Review. World J Mens Health. 2020 Jul;38(3):377-384. doi: 10.5534/wjmh.190125. Epub 2020 Jan 16. PMID: 32009310; PMCID: PMC7308228.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7308228/

Smith JF, Eisenberg ML, Millstein SG, Nachtigall RD, Shindel AW, Wing H, Cedars M, Pasch L, Katz PP; Infertility Outcomes Program Project Group. The use of complementary and alternative fertility treatment in couples seeking fertility care: data from a prospective cohort in the United States. Fertil Steril. 2010 May 1;93(7):2169-74. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2010.02.054. Epub 2010 Mar 24. PMID: 20338559; PMCID: PMC2860047.

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