Top 5 Key Ingredients
Why we recommend our Top 5 Ingredients:
Our team determined which ingredients are essential for male enhancement by consulting with medical professionals, herbalists and scientists. We’ve also poured through in-depth medical research on clinical trials for erection-inducing herbs. What we found in comparing many male enhancement products was that quite a few make exaggerated claims as to the effectiveness of their ingredients, and some didn’t have any medical proof or scientific research to support their claims.
At the end of our lengthy evaluation of herbal ingredients, we compiled a shortlist of our Top 5 Recommended ingredients for male enhancement. You can read more about these key ingredients and other supportive herbs below.
To see how we rate our products using our Top 5 Recommended ingredients, please visit our Ranking Process page.
The Top 5 Key Ingredients:
Potentially dangerous ingredients:
- Tongkat Ali
- Horny Goat Weed
- Tribulus Terrestris Extract
| || Warning: Watch out for brands containing Yohimbe! |
Yohimbe – Yohimbe is flagged by the FDA as an ingredient of concern, and appears in many male enhancement products. While it does appear to have beneficial effects with some users, yohimbe can produce many severe side effects such as anxiety, hypertension, insomnia, hallucinations, headaches, dizziness, seizures and renal failure. According to the Mayo Clinic, this herb can be dangerous if used in excessive amounts. As the disparity between an acceptable dose and a toxic dose is narrow, we recommend that you avoid taking products containing yohimbe.
Some companies have reformulated their products to exclude yohimbe following customer complaints. We aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information concerning male enhancement products, so if you know of a product that has recently removed yohimbe from its ingredient list, please let us know.
L-arginine –L-arginine is a protein amino acid present in all life forms. It is classified as a semi-essential or conditionally essential amino acid. Under normal circumstances, the body can synthesize sufficient L-arginine to meet physiological demands. But when it does not, it can cause impotence. Like the drug sildenafil citrate (present in Viagra), L-arginine is thought to enhance the action of nitric oxide, which relaxes muscles surrounding the blood vessels supplying the penis. The difference is that sildenafil citrate blocks an enzyme called PDE5 that destroys nitric oxide, while L-arginine promotes the production of more nitric oxide in the body. L-arginine is required to carry out the synthesis of nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels and allows more blood to flow through the arteries, promoting erections. Unlike Viagra, L-arginine must be taken daily. People with genital herpes should not take additional L-arginine because it may aggravate their symptoms. Click here to read more about L-arginine.
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Tongkat Ali Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) is a tree native to parts of Southeast Asia. The root contains medicinal properties and has been used in Malaysia for many years to increase sexual desire, libido, sexual performance, and to treat erectile dysfunction. Extracts of E. longifolia are commonly used as a part of traditional medicine. Some compounds from E. longifolia are suspected aphrodisiacs. Tongkat Ali was dubbed the “Asian Viagra” by the New Sunday Times in 1999. The British Journal of Medicine also reported on it in 2003, noting that it increased muscle size and strength.
Tongkat Ali is a scientifically studied plant which contains a plethora of beneficial compounds, including potent protective antioxidants which inhibit cellular aging. Some phytochemicals in Tongkat Ali are anti-viral, anti-malarial and anti-cancerous. Others combat high blood pressure, and quell dysentery. Quassinoids in the root prove twice as potent as Aspirin for combating fevers.
Besides its various medicinal uses, Tongkat Ali significantly boosts the sex drive and performance of both men and women by increasing testosterone levels in the body. It is often used by body builders for a performance boost and as a muscle builder. But, because of the potential to increase testosterone levels, Tongkat Ali should not be used by persons with breast or prostate cancer, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease or sleep apnea. If you are taking insulin, you should speak to your doctor before taking Tongkat Ali as it may decrease blood sugar levels.
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Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium) Epimedium is a genus of sixty related plant species that grown in Asia and parts of Europe. It has shown aphrodisiac qualities and can help combat impotence in men. The Chinese refer to Epimedium as “yin yang huo,” which has been loosely translated as “licentious goat plant,” bringing about its titillating Western title of “Horny Goat Weed.” It is grown both as an ornamental herb and for medicinal purposes.
Studies on Epimedium have shown that it may influence levels of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine, and reduce cortisol levels. The leaves of Horny Goat Weed contain a variety of flavinoids like icariin, and also sterols and an alkaloid called magnaflorine. It’s quite possible that Horny Goat Weed influences several aspects of sexual biochemistry. The flavinoid icariin is known to help fight erectile dysfunction.
Although over 15 active compounds have been identified in Epimedium extracts, many supplement companies use alcohol extracts standardized only for high levels of icariin. Although at least one study has shown that icariin can protect liver cells from various toxic compounds, other studies have shown that high-dose icariin treatments may be associated with kidney and liver toxicity. The traditional method of Epimedium administration is via a hot water concoction (tea), which presents a very different profile of active ingredients than the icariin-alcohol extracts that are commonly used in commercial products. There have been no reports of adverse side-effects associated with the traditional preparation of Epimedium at the suggested dosage (250-1,000 mg per day).
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Tribulus Terrestris Extract Tribulus Terrestris is a flowering plant native to parts of Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. It has been used as a traditional medicine to treat sexual dysfunction and male infertility in Europe and Asia for many decades before science allowed for the extraction of its active ingredient, protodioscin.
Many clinical studies performed by universities and academic hospitals have confirmed the herb’s beneficial effects. These studies show that Tribulus helps treat impotence caused by low testosterone levels or an imbalance in the body’s levels of sex hormones. The active ingredient of Tribulus acts as a precursor to these hormones and is converted into its final form by the body’s natural enzymes.
Other studies have suggested that Tribulus also acts by increasing the level of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in the body, a naturally-occurring substance that is believed to be important for a healthy sex drive.
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Cnidium – The herb Cnidium Monnier has been used for over a thousand years as a sexual enhancer because of its positive effect on the libido. It grows in Asia and Russia, and has been introduced to the United States and Europe for cultivation. It has been used as a popular folk remedy in China for millenia, with its effects first recorded over 2,000 years ago.
Cnidium contains several active compounds, including coumarins, osthol, imperatorin, glucides and hepatoprotective sesquiterpenes. Preliminary studies show that some of the compounds in Cnidium may have anti-histamine, anti-itch, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial effects, and an influence on the pituitary-adrenocortex axis. Additional studies on rodents show that Cnidium may improve bone strength, and studies involving rabbits showed that the compound osthol, found in Cnidium, was found to relax the corpus cavernosa of the penis, which can improve blood flow and erections. Cnidium may also have anti-cancer properties.
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Other supportive ingredients for male enhancement – There are several other herbs we recommend for natural male enhancement, including Ginkgo biloba, Ginseng, Damiana, Muria Puama, Maca, and Schizandra Berry. We recommend having at least three of these six herbs in any male enhancement product to complement our Top 5 Recommended ingredients.