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 Top Five Herbs for Men






Think men don’t go through menopause? Think again. Men may not experience sudden symptoms because testosterone levels decline over time and never completely cease. Instead of hot flashes and mood swings, men may suffer from mild depression and fatigue, as well as hair loss and sexual dysfunction. Go ahead and buy a fancy red sports car if you can afford it, but the real secret to a long and youthful life is taking care of your body from the inside out.


Saw Palmetto
Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)
Hair Loss, Enlarged Prostate

This dwarf palm is native to the Atlantic coastline of North America, where Native Americans commonly used to the berries in medicine. The main action of this herb is to block 5-alpha-reductase, the enzyme responsible for converting dwindling levels of available testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), another androgen hormone that signals hair follicles to enter into a state of permanent rest. . Studies have shown that saw palmetto extracts prevent the uptake of DHT in receptor cells as much as 40 percent and compares to the prescription hair-loss medication finasteride (Propecia) in effectiveness.

DHT also triggers inflammation and cell proliferation in the prostate, events that compounds in saw palmetto counter with the inhibition of DHT as well as the enzymes COX-2 and 5-lipoxygenase

How to Take

Capsules: 160 mg, two times per day.
Extract: 5 ml liquid extract per day

Cautions

Do not take if you are currently taking blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), Plavix or aspirin.

Supplementation should be monitored if you are undergoing treatment for a hormone-related type of cancer.

Do not combine with other medications used to treat hair loss, enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), such as finasteride.

This herb may interfere with the absorption of iron.



Olive LeafOlive Leaf (Olea europaea)
High blood pressure

About one in three adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Olive leaf extract contains oleuropein, a chemical compound that has vasodilative properties. Research also indicates that oleuropein relaxes arterial walls to improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure. As an added bonus, oleuropein also reduces cholesterol levels in the blood.

How to Take

Capsule or Tablet of the Standardized Extract: 250 to 500 mg, one to three times per day.

Cautions

Do not combine with conventional hypertension medications.

Do not take if you have diabetes without consulting your physician first because this herb also lowers serum glucose levels.





French Maritime Pine Bark (Pinus pinaster)

Erectile Dysfunction

Pycnogenol, obtained from the bark of French maritime pine, has been shown to be a natural nitric oxide enhancer. Why should you care about this? Because nitric oxide is required to trigger a chain of biological actions that have to happen in order to experience an erection. Pycnogenol, mimics the enzyme that converts arginine into nitric oxide, making these two substances a dynamic pair when taken together. One study that combined pycnogenol and arginine therapy involving 40 men with erectile dysfunction resulted in more than 90% of the group experiencing full erections after three months of treatment. 

How to Take

Capsule or tablet: Containing the standardized extract, 250 to 300 mg per day for three weeks, followed by 100 mg per day maintenance dose.

Cautions

See your doctor before using if you have diabetes or take other medications.

Some people may have an allergic reaction to pine compounds.





Ginkgo biloba
Cognitive function

Ginkgo biloba is valued for many properties, including its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. This herb is also considered to be a mild vasodilator, neurotransmitter regulator and anti-platelet agent. Studies involving Alzheimer’s disease patients consistently show an improvement of cognitive function with supplementation of ginkgo extracts. Researchers believe this effect is due to the ability of certain chemical compounds in the herb to reduce brain cholesterol levels and beta-amyloid production and release. The latter, in particular, is critical to preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

How to Take

Capsules: Standardized to contain 24 - 32% flavone glycosides, 120 to 240 mg per day in two to three divided doses.

Cautions

To not take in conjunction with blood thinners or blood pressure-lowering medications due to an increased risk of bleeding. Do not take with diabetes medications or diuretics without consulting your doctor.

Gingko will negate the effects of immune system depressant drug treatments, such as cyclosporine. This herb may also interfere with antidepressants and anti-seizure medications.





Pomegranate
Cancer, heart disease, erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure

Punicalagins, the main constituent of pomegranate juice and skin, is rich in ellagic acid, a powerful antioxidant currently being studied for its value in protecting against cancer and heart disease. Standardized pomegranate extracts also exhibit potent vasodilating properties. Several studies show that this extract is a natural ACE inhibitor and that it may prevent the development of arterial plaque and may lower blood pressure.

How to Take


There is no standard dosage recommended, but plan to drink 1-2 glasses of the juice per day.

Cautions

Pomegranate juice has a similar effect as grapefruit juice and may increase the risk of rhabdomyolysis (breakdown of muscle fibers) in persons taking statin drugs.

Because of the high sugar content, do not take without talking to your doctor first if you have diabetes.




Note: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, prevent or treat any disease. If you have a chronic condition, are taking prescription or over-the-counter medications or are pregnant or nursing, do not add herbal medicines to your treatment regimen without consulting a qualified health care practitioner. The University of Maryland Medical Center and the Physicians’ Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines (Thomas Brendler, et al., 2007) provide the dosage information for this article.



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