We hear a lot about how hormonal changes affect women but it’s not been until recently that we’re beginning to discuss how men experience them too. As early as their early 30’s, men may begin to experience reductions in testosterone, otherwise known as andropause. This can affect sexual vigor, libido, and energy levels, explaining why many aging men complain of being tired and less pleased with their sex lives. Additionally, reductions in testosterone can cause muscle mass to weaken and fat stores to grow. It’s no wonder men are interested in ways to invigorate their body. Many look to herbal therapy combinations and muira puama is often part of the equation.
Ptychopetalum olacoides, sometimes referred to as “potency wood” but better known as muira puama, is a small tree native to the Amazon. Although the tree produces small, white flowers with a fragrance similar to jasmine, it is the root and bark that hold the most benefit. In Brazilian herbal medicine, a tea made of those components has a long-standing reputation as a powerful aphrodisiac and sexual stimulant. Those who consume it believe that it promotes sexual potency and erectile response. 
The Health Benefits of Muira Puama
Herbs have been used throughout history to enhance physical and sexual performance; muira puama is one of them.  In fact, according to UCLA School of Medicine, muira puama may provide one of the most effective natural therapeutic approaches for supporting healthy erectile response and restoring libido. 
The corpus cavernosa is a sponge-like area within the penis that holds blood during an erection. Animal studies have found that muira puama relaxes the corpus cavernosa in the penis. This relaxation effect allows more blood to flow to the penis and may produce a stronger, more firm erectile response. Additionally, muira puama is believed to block enzymes that dilate blood vessels, which may increase genital blood flow even more.
Muira Puama: The Research
In 1990, the Institute of Sexology in Paris conducted research lead by Dr. Jacques Maynberg. In his report, Dr. Maynberg described 262 men stricken with low libido and diminished erectile capacity. They were given muira puama every day for two weeks. Amazingly, over 60% of the men reported a notable increase in libido and over half reported improvement in their ability to sustain an erection.
Dr. Maynberg conducted a second, similar study involving 100 men given muira puama and observed equally astounding results. The vast majority of the participants reported improvement in their morning erections. Over half the men said they were now able to maintain an erection during sex. Nearly two-thirds increased their frequency of sexual intercourse. A whopping 70% said their libido had drastically improved.
Supplementing with Muira Puama
Many men experiencing the symptoms of andropause prefer to avoid artificial medicines and rather seek out plant-based herbal remedies to improve their life. Muira puama is effective but does not produce the negative side effects that other sexual stimulants are known to produce. If you’re looking for a safe alternative to regain your libido and improve your sexual function and performance, muira puama may be something to talk to your healthcare provider about. And talk to your healthcare provider you should, as sometimes sexual dysfunction can be indicative of cardiovascular problems.
- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
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- Sternbach H. Age-associated testosterone decline in men: clinical issues for psychiatry. Am J Psychiatry. 1998 Oct;155(10):1310-8.