Sexual health becomes a big concern for men as they age. A 2023 survey from Cleveland Clinic found that over 44% of men are worried about facing erectile dysfunction, over 39% about the loss of sex drive, and nearly 36% about low testosterone levels. Optimal sexual health includes:
- Libido (sexual desire/drive)
- Effective erectile function (the ability to achieve and sustain an erection long enough for a satisfying sexual experience)
- The ability to fully participate in sexual activity
- The ability to ejaculate and effectively experience orgasm/satisfaction
Some of the most common sexual health problems men face include erectile dysfunction, nightfall, loss of libido, premature/delayed ejaculation, inability to experience orgasm upon ejaculation, etc. Such dysfunctions happen due to either physical or psychological factors but are often a combination of both.
A physical problem like (obesity or any chronic disease) might lead to a psychological issue (anxiety, stress, depression) which might, in turn, worsen the physical condition.
The Ayurvedic Perspective
As per Ayurveda, the human system contains three doshas or energies-
- Vata (ether plus air)
- Pitta (fire plus water)
- Kapha (water plus earth)
Each person has a unique combination of these energies, which must be in a healthy balance for effective bodily function and well-being. Sexual health issues result from an imbalance in any or all of these doshas, caused by factors like stressful living, repressed emotions, improper diet or lifestyle, etc.
For instance, performance anxiety, stress, or nervousness can aggravate the Vata dosha and cause hyperactivity of the muscles in the male reproductive organs. This can make the person sensitive to touch and lead to early (premature) ejaculation. An imbalanced Pitta dosha can cause the thinning of the semen, thus supporting its quicker ejaculation.
An imbalance in the Vata dosha can further hamper the function of the sexual organs, muscles, sex hormones, brain, and blood vessels. This decreases sex drive, hampers overall sexual health and function, and can even lead to erectile dysfunction.
To help balance the doshas and effectively alleviate sexual dysfunctions, Ayurveda recommends classical and highly potent medications like Manmath Ras, a concoction infused with Bhanga or medical cannabis seeds. This formulation exhibits a direct and quick action on the human system to improve one’s overall sexual health and function and effectively alleviates sexual health conditions.
The Science Behind Its Efficacy
Bhanga, or medical cannabis, is the most notable ingredient in Manmath Ras and is thus present in the highest concentration in this natural Ayurvedic formulation. Its efficacy in improving men’s sexual health is due to its direct interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is vital in maintaining a healthy and fertile reproductive system.
During sex, the endocannabinoid Anandamide (the bliss molecule) activates the CB1 receptors of the ECS and promotes the fertilizing ability of the sperm during capacitation. The chemical compounds in Bhanga, called cannabinoids, bind with these receptors in the reproductive organs and impact the sexual function and experience of the body.
The herb also acts as a vasodilator, i.e., it opens up the blood vessels in the reproductive organs to ensure optimum blood flow and better performance of the reproductive system.
As per a 2021 study conducted by the University of Toronto, Canada, men consuming Bhanga had higher mean testosterone levels, higher sexual frequencies, and a greater SHIM (Sexual Health Inventory for Men) score. (The higher the SHIM score reported, the lesser the chances of sexual dysfunctions.)
Another study showed that Bhanga improved sexual desire in nearly 60% of people, enhanced sexual satisfaction and sensitivity to touch in 74%, and increased the intensity of orgasms in 66% of the people. Moreover, over 51% of people said that the herb helped them focus more during sexual activity.
Besides that, on consumption, cannabis cannabinoids also attach themselves to the ECS receptors in the brain. Thus they significantly reduce mental health conditions like stress, anxiety, and depression, which are some of the most critical factors behind sexual dysfunctions.
A study conducted by Washington State University reported that Bhanga helped patients reduce their feelings of depression in over 89.3% of the sessions, symptoms of anxiety in 93.5%, and stress in 93.3% of the sessions.
The Role of Other Ingredients
In addition to cannabis seeds, Manmath Ras contains several essential Ayurvedic herbs and spices such as Gandhak, Karpur, Jeera, Bala, Ajwain, and more. Let us look at their role in regulating effective sexual health and well-being in men:
Gandhak (Purified Sulfur)
Gandhak is especially effective for premature ejaculation, loss of sexual power, and impotency. The most abundant protein in the body is Collagen, which is the main component of the connective tissue present in the skin, cartilage, etc. It is also abundant in the muscles and blood vessels of the body, including the reproductive system.
Gandhak plays a critical role in Collagen synthesis and hence promotes better growth, development, and function of the reproductive organs.
Karpur (Organic Camphor)
Karpur enhances libido and sexual performance by aiding the multiplication of sexual cells (proliferation) and growing blood vessels within the tissues for better oxygen and nutrient supply (vascularization). This enhances the function of the testis.
In addition, Karpur interacts with the brain regions that are in charge of sexual behavior, and stimulates the sexual hormones, thus, further boosting libido and sexual function.
The inherent properties of Jeera make it a natural aphrodisiac. It is high in Zinc, which boosts sperm health and production, and Potassium, which helps increase blood flow to the genitals and maintain optimum supply. This makes Jeera effective for conditions like premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, and low sperm count.
Bala (Flannel Weed)
On consumption, Bala directly acts on the central nervous system to enhance the function of the reproductive organs, boost stamina, and increase the overall strength of the body. This makes it especially effective for erectile dysfunction.
It further contains ephedrine, which acts as a mood-altering and enhancing substance that increases erection duration and helps control ejaculation during intercourse. Being a natural aphrodisiac, Bala raises sexual arousal and boosts overall sexual well-being.
Ajwain (Carrom Seeds)
Ajwain has been used to increase virility for thousands of years. It contains thymol, a compound that improves sperm count and boosts fertility. Its medicinal properties help alleviate premature ejaculation, boost libido, and extend the climax.
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