No, don't bark like a dog. That seldom works. But this tree bark extract does improve sexual health. Here's the fancy science.
She's My Cherry Pie...
Remember those erections you had as a teenager that would unexpectedly pop up like that pesky gopher in Caddyshack? That was so embarrassing... and also kinda awesome.
Unwanted devil-boners tend to go away puberty, but sadly, many men have trouble summoning a demon later in life. You know, when they're NOT in Spanish class thinking about that gal in Warrant's "Cherry Pie" video.
And this isn't always an old-fart problem. One in four cases of erectile dysfunction (ED) occur in men under the age of 40. Stress and lack of sleep can be contributing factors.
But forget about ED. Even if you don't have a problem, sometimes it's just fun to turn your perfectly fine Clark Kent into the Man of Steel. A lot of men have experimented with low doses of drugs like Viagra or Cialis for just such an effect, but that carries some risks.
Luckily, a new study shows that a supplement – French maritime pine bark extract – could have a similar effect. Bonus: It appears to be good for overall health, too.
For this randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled study, researchers recruited 53 men with erectile dysfunction. Thirty-two of them also had type 2 diabetes. (ED is often considered to be an early warning sign of that condition.) All had normal testosterone levels.
Some of the men received a placebo while others received 120 mg daily of Pycnogenol, a standardized extract of French maritime pine bark. The study period lasted three months.
All participants had blood tests and filled out the standard International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-5) questionnaire.
- Pycnogenol improved erectile function in the type 2 diabetic group by 45%.
- In the group without type 2 diabetes, hard-on health was improved by 22%.
- The placebo group? Their results were flaccid. (No improvement.)
- As a bonus, the type 2 diabetic group also saw lowered total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and glucose levels.
How Does This Work?
French maritime pine bark extract promotes healthy blood circulation by supporting vascular function. Erections are, of course, all about blood flow. Pycnogenol also promotes nitric oxide production.
How to Use This Info
Previous studies have shown that pine bark extract may be good for our prostates, helping to keep those temperamental glands in check. It may even keep our blood pressure under control in higher doses. It's also a powerful polyphenol, and we could all use more of that life-giving stuff.
If you're looking to add extra bark to your woody, you could take 120 mg (two 60 mg servings per day) as the participants did in this study. Other studies have shown that as little as two daily 40 mg doses was effective in treating erectile dysfunction.
So experiment with the dosages. Even if you don't have ED, you should still notice an even more rigid morning erection.
We tested and reviewed a loose powder form of pine bark extract in Stuff We Like – Supplements 2. Check that out if you want to play around with it.
While pine bark extract isn't as potent as an ED drug, its other health benefits – and the fact that you can get it without a prescription – make it a pretty cool health supplement and sexual enhancer.
- Trebaticky B, et al. "Natural polyphenols improve erectile function and lipid profile in patients suffering from erectile dysfunction," Bratislava Medical Journal.