Effects of Korean Ginseng Berry Extract on Sexual Function in Men With Erectile Dysfunction

A Multicenter, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Clinical Study

Y D Choi; C W Park; J Jang; S H Kim; H Y Jeon; W G Kim; S J Lee; W S Chung

Disclosures

Int J Impot Res. 2013;25(2):45-50. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Ginseng is beneficial for many aspects of human physiology, including sexual function. In this study, we have evaluated the efficacy and safety of an extract of ginseng berry, which has a ginsenoside profile distinct from other parts of the plant, on sexual function in men with erectile dysfunction. In all, 119 men with mild-to-moderate ED participated in a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled clinical study. They were administered 4 tablets of either standardized Korean ginseng berry (SKGB, 350 mg ginseng berry extract per tablet), or placebo, daily, for 8 weeks. Efficacy was assessed with the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF)-15 and premature ejaculation diagnostic tool (PEDT) at the end of the 4th and 8th week. We observed that the total and each of the individual domain scores of IIEF-15 increased from 40.95±7.05 to 46.19±12.69 significantly in the SKGB by the 8th week (P<0.05). The erectile function domain of IIEF changed slightly from 17.17±2.57 to 18.59±5.99 in the SKGB group by the 8th week (P<0.05). In addition, PEDT scores significantly improved from 9.14±4.57 to 7.97±4.4 and 7.53±4.26 in the SKGB group after 4 and 8 weeks of treatment (P<0.05). Safety markers including hormone and lipid in the blood were assessed at the end of the 4th and 8th week and they remained unchanged. Oral administration of the SKGB extract improved all domains of sexual function. It can be used as an alternative medicine to improve sexual life in men with sexual dysfunction.

Introduction

Sexual dysfunction has a severe impact on the quality of life of affected individuals. Two main symptoms of sexual dysfunction are ED and premature ejaculation (PE). Some studies report that approximately more than half of the male population has some degree of ED[1] and one-third of the global male population, across all age groups, has some degree of PE.[2] To treat these symptoms, drugs such as PDE5 inhibitors and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are commonly used. However, these substances can produce negative side effects, including headache, gastrointestinal disorder, muscle pain and blurred vision, and may have dangerous interactions with other medications.[3,4]

To avoid the risks of potential side effects associated with drugs, people often turn to dietary supplements or phytotherapy. Panax ginseng is particularly common and widely used in oriental countries, because of its property of boosting the immune system, as well as providing vigor and enhancing sexual activity.[5] It contains medicinal ingredients, including saponin, polysaccharide, polyacetylene, phenols, gomisin, acidic peptide and carbohyderate.[6] The major active components are ginsenosides, a class of steroid glycosides and triterpene saponins naturally occurring in the root, leaf and berry.[7,8] Each part of the plant has a distinct ginsenoside profile; thus, different parts probably have different pharmacological activities.[7,9]

Ginsenosides have been shown to enhance nitric oxide (NO) production in cultured porcine endothelial cells,[10] rat ventricular myocytes,[11] rat thoracic aorta[12] and guinea-pig cardiomyocytes,[13] by inducing NO synthase (NOS) activity. More recently, ginsenoside Rg1, which is abundantly present in ginseng berry, was also reported to improve male copulation behavior via the NO/cGMP pathway.[14] Based on the above findings, we hypothesized that ginseng berry ameliorates sexual function via the NO/endothelial NOS pathway and enhances male sexual health.

This study was carried out to evaluate the effects of standardized ginseng berry extract on erectile function, ejaculation and other aspects of sexual function, in men with ED.

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