Watermelon: A Natural Viagra?

Men hoping for some fireworks in their love life this Fourth of July may want to skip the burgers and beer at the barbecue and eat plenty of watermelon.

Watermelon may be a natural Viagra, says a researcher. That’s because the popular summer fruit is richer than experts believed in an amino acid called citrulline, which relaxes and dilates blood vessels much like Viagra and other drugs meant to treat erectile dysfunction (ED).

“We have known that watermelon has citrulline,” says Bhimu Patil, PHD, director of the Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center at Texas A&M University, College Station. Until recently, he tells WebMD, scientists thought most of the citrulline was in the watermelon rind. “Watermelon has more citrulline in the edible part than previously believed,” he says.

How could watermelon be a natural Viagra? The amino acid citrulline is converted into the amino acid arginine, Patil says. “This is a precursor for nitric oxide, and the nitric oxide will help in blood vessel dilation.”

So, the burning question: How much watermelon does it take?

“That is a good question,” Patil says. Unfortunately, “I don’t have an answer for that.”

He does know that a typical 4-ounce serving of watermelon (about 10 watermelon balls) has about 150 milligrams of citrulline. But he can’t say how much citrulline is needed to have Viagra-like effects.

He’s hopeful that someone will pick up on his research and study the fruit’s effect on penile erections.

Watermelon’s Viagra-Like Effects
On hearing about the Texas finding, Irwin Goldstein, MD, editor-in-chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, was underwhelmed. Suggesting a man feast on watermelon to boost performance, he says, “would be the equivalent of someone dropping a beer bottle in Minneapolis, where the Mississippi River starts, and hoping to see it make an impact on someone in New Orleans.”

“To say that watermelon is Viagra-like is sort of fun,” says Goldstein. “But to even vaguely hope that eating watermelon will alleviate ED is misleading.”

“The vast majority of Americans produce enough arginine,” adds Goldstein, medical director of Alvarado Hospital Medical Center, San Diego, and clinical professor of surgery, University of California San Diego School of Medicine. “Men with ED are not deficient in arginine.”

Though arginine is required to make nitric oxide, and nitric oxide is required to dilate blood vessels and have an erection, “that doesn’t mean eating something that is rich in citrulline will make enough arginine that it will lead to better penile erections,” Goldstein says.

Goldstein has served as a consultant for many companies that make ED drugs.

Calling watermelon a natural Viagra is “clearly premature,” says Roger Clemens, DrPH, adjunct professor of pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and a spokesman for the Institute of Food Technologists.

Clemens studied the amino acid arginine himself, researching a supplement to improve vascular flow for patients with hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. He has since abandoned that line of research, he says.

It can require a lot of watermelon to boost blood levels of arginine, he adds. In a study published in 2007 in Nutrition, he says, volunteers who drank three 8-ounce glasses of watermelon juice daily for three weeks boosted their arginine levels by 11%.

Watermelon is low in calories and provides potassium and the phytonutrients lycopene and beta-carotene, in addition to the citrulline.

Clemens’ advice on watermelon and the Fourth of July? “Put salt on it and enjoy.”

Just don’t expect fireworks anywhere but in the sky.

Does natural Viagra exist?

A commonly held belief is that women reach their sexual peak later in life than men. This may be true, but a recent study published in the medical journal Fertility And Sterility found that women generally experience a reduction in their sexual responsiveness as they age.

While some of this may be due to the effects of the menopause, the research suggests it is also a product of the ageing process.

Dwindling sexuality does not seem to be confined to women, either, as shown by the runaway success of the drug Viagra. Despite Viagra’s popularity, however, a recent study found that little more than half the men who try the drug are using it three years later.

Also, a significant proportion of them found it necessary to use a substantially increased dose to get the same effect. Fortunately, nature offers various remedies for boosting libido and enhancing sexual pleasure.

Sexual responsiveness is very dependent on the supply of blood to the genitals. Enhanced blood flow to the penis can do much to improve a man’s ability to attain and maintain an erection.

In this respect, the herb Ginkgo biloba has much to offer. Renowned as a circulation enhancer, Ginkgo biloba was found in one study to help 78 per cent of men with impotence.

The beneficial effects of Ginkgo biloba may take three or more months to become apparent, though it does appear to be a safe, natural alternative to Viagra for men.

It may have significant benefits for women, too. There is growing awareness that improved blood supply to the female sexual organs can enhance sexual sensation.

I have seen several patients who experienced a subjective enhancement in sexual pleasure after taking Ginkgo biloba long-term.

Another herb which may help improve sexual function in both men and women is Damiana. Damiana, which grows wild in Central America and Mexico, was the favourite aphrodisiac of the ancient Mayan people.

While its precise effect on the body is not known, Damiana’s botanical name – Turnera aphrodisiaca – hints at its libido-enhancing effects.

Its effects take hold quite quickly after ingestion, making it ideal for use on an ‘as required’ basis.

For rapid absorption into the body, Damiana is probably best taken in tincture (alcoholic extract) form. One teaspoonful should be taken about one hour before sex.

The herb Panax ginseng is another sexual stimulant. This has been used for more than 2,000 years in Eastern medicine as a tonic.

Many women who take Panax ginseng find that it improves their libido. In men, one study found that it brought about a 60 per cent improvement in the symptoms of impotence, while at the same time enhancing sexual appetite.

Panax ginseng is usually taken for periods of two to three weeks, interspersed with break periods of one to two weeks.

Catuba, a species of evergreen tree which grows in the Amazon rainforest, is another natural remedy for enhancing libido. The inner bark of this tree has been revered as a potent aphrodisiac by the Brazilian people for hundreds of years.

When the Brazilian government researched more than 100 plants used to treat sexual problems, only three were singled out for further research. Catuaba was one of them. You can buy it in health food stores.

Another herb which is commonly used to help bolster sexual energy in women is Angelica sinensis.

In Asia, Angelica is considered to be the ‘female ginseng’. It is well known to have general tonic action in the female body, and is thought to improve gynaecological function.

Historically, Angelica has been the aphrodisiac of choice for women in the East. Angelica should be taken as directed on the packaging.

Le Ginseng, Un Nouveau Viagra Naturel?

Le ginseng est considéré depuis longtemps comme un aphrodisiaque. Une nouvelle étude sud coréenne vient de révéler qu’un médicament à base de la racine pouvait soigner l’impuissance en quelques semaines. C’est la première fois qu’une étude scientifique démontre l’efficacité du ginseng au niveau sexuel. 

119 hommes souffrant de dysfonction érectile ont participé à ce test. Le groupe a été scindé en deux: certains devaient prendre un placébo, les autres quatre comprimés contenant des extraits de ginseng par jour. Après huit semaines, les chercheurs ont constaté une amélioration légère mais significative auprès de ceux qui avalaient les comprimés à base de ginseng. 

Pour les chercheurs, il ne fait aucun doute que la racine est une alternative naturelle à la pilule bleue… Les chercheurs ont déclaré, dans leur rapport, publié dans l’International Journal of Impotence Research: « Le ginseng peut être utilisé comme une alternative à la médecine pour améliorer la vie sexuelle des hommes. 

La maca : attention au nouveau Viagra “naturel”

Depuis quelques temps, de nouvelles gélules contenant de la maca ont fait leur apparition, essentiellement sur internet. A en croire les publicités qui les accompagnent, la maca serait une plante miraculeuse, un anti-fatigue naturel, le nouveau Viagra.

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Elle est originaire du Pérou. Elle pousse uniquement sur les hauts plateaux, dans des conditions extrêmes. Elle ressemble un peu à un navet. Elle est d’ailleurs consommée comme un simple légume, très nourrissant, par les Péruviens.

Pour ce qui est de son utilisation médicinale, c’est sa racine que l’on utilise. Celle-ci est réduite en farine.
Depuis les années 70, les effets de la maca ont été étudiés par les scientifiques, mais uniquement sur des rats et des souris. Ils ont observé que ceux qui ont pris de la maca étaient plus résistants, plus fertiles, avaient plus de force, voulaient davantage procréer, étaient moins stressés.

Ses bienfaits supposés

En fait, quand on connaît la composition de la maca, il ne semble rien y avoir d’étonnant à ce qu’elle possède tous ces bienfaits. Elle est composée de glucides, de protéines, de fibres et d’acides gras. La racine est aussi bourrée de vitamines (B1, B2, B12, C, D3, E, P), d’oligo-éléments (calcium, phosphore, magnésium, cuivre, fer, manganèse, zinc, potasse, soude).

Ce sont surtout les soi-disant vertus aphrodisiaques de la maca qui ont fait que l’on se soit précipité sur elle. Selon certains revendeurs sur internet, ce serait un « viagra » naturel ! On l’appelle également le ginseng péruvien. On la compare aussi à la DHEA.
Elle serait efficace contre les troubles de l’érection, les manques de libido, la fatigue, les insomnies, la mémoire, le stress, le manque de concentration, le dérèglement hormonal, etc.
La maca serait donc véritablement une plante miracle pour les personnes victimes de pannes sexuelles et pour les personnes ménopausées. Elle constituerait pour ces dernières un très bon complément alimentaire.

Mais rien n’est prouvé scientifiquement pour l’homme…

Mais, je vais certainement en décevoir plus d’un. Malgré tout ce qu’en disent les revendeurs de la maca, rien n’est prouvé scientifiquement ou si des études ont été faites, elles n’offrent pas tous les gages de sérieux que l’on pourrait attendre d’elles.
D’ailleurs, en France, l’AFSSA (Agence Française de Sécurité sanitaire des aliments) n’a toujours pas validé la commercialisation de la maca. Le 2 juillet 2008, elle a renouvelé ses deux précédents avis : elle estime que « dans l’état actuel des connaissances, la sécurité d’emploi de la poudre de racine de maca n’est pas démontrée. » D’après des études scientifiques récentes sur l’homme, il y aurait des risques pour les personnes souffrant de tension artérielle et rien ne prouve encore la non-dangerosité de la maca sur les sujets sains.

Donc, faites très attention avant de consommer de la maca, si vous en avez envie malgré tout ce que je viens d’écrire.