Yang go Bongo
How to fix guys
(in 700 words or less!)
If you asked the ladies, you could probably come up with a list of at least 700 things that needed fixin.
The organs and hormones that make us distinctly male account for our unique abilities as guys, but also provide us with our greatest challenges. We have a penis, testes and a prostate gland.
Contrary to popular belief, we don’t think with our penis, although we do seem to be somewhat ruled by our testosterone. One unique challenge we do have is getting and maintaining an erection. We are responsible for some degree of performance.
Herbs for the Guys
As an herbalist, I have been advising men (and women on behalf of their men) about herbal aphrodisiacs that might stimulate sexual desire and performance. A simple internet search for sex inevitably leads to the latest greatest herbal remedy for the sexual blahs. Wild oat, Avena sativa (also the domestic oat) is really more of a tonic for the nervous system which gives a clue as to where our sexual problems generally have their root.
Drinking a tea of oat tops on a regular basis is a simple way to bring some balance in this area and get a guy “feeling his oats”. Other examples of herbs that have been employed to help us with our sexual function include damiana, ginsengs, sarsaparilla, yohimbe and ashwaghandha.
One of my favorites is an aruvedic herb known as ashwagandha, Withania somnifera. When the root of this esteemed herb is taken in a tea as a milk decoction and sweetened with honey, it is said to inhibit aging and build up strength by catalyzing the anabolic process of the body.
It acts as a tonic for the hormonal system, and is recommended for:
- Sexual debility
- Low sperm count
- Improve the condition of the semen
Ashwagandha translates to sweat of the horse, a reference to its peculiar flavor. Taking this root is reputed to imbue a guy with the sexual stamina of a stallion. All evidence I’ve heard from associates indicates that it does live up to its reputation. We call it the honor system, get honor and stay honor.
Maintaining a healthy prostate gland
This walnut-sized organ lies just below the bladder with the tube exiting the bladder (the urethra) passing directly through it. The chances of this organ enlarging (swelling) later in life are extremely good unless we take care of it.
Prostatitis, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), has its root in:
- Stress (not just sexual)
- Dietary excesses, especially alcohol and caffeine
- Lack of regular exercise
- Zinc deficiency (we lose zinc in semen)
- A secondary infection of another infection such as venereal disease, or even an abscessed tooth
Since the urethra passes through the prostate, prostatic swelling may interfere with the passage of urine. This is a difficult situation in which a guy tries to urinate but is largely unable to, resulting in a weak stream that may dribble on his pants or shoes, rather than “hitting the mark.” This can also lead to distention of the bladder and damage to the kidneys. To prevent or cure this condition:
- Drink plenty of pure water
- Learn to relax, laugh and play
- Eat seeds high in zinc and linoleic acid (vitamin f) such as pumpkin seeds
- Take vitamin and mineral supplements:
- 200-800 I.U. vitamin E (mixed tocopherols)
- Calcium/magnesium 400-600 mg
- Zinc picolinate or amino chelated zinc 20-50 mg
Herbal therapies for the prostate
Herbs are also very effective for treating prostate issues with saw palmetto, Serenoa repens leading the pack.
The berries of this indigenous palm, when used regularly, help maintain a healthy hormone balance in the prostate, preventing or reducing enlargement, and help with the force of the stream of urine, thus preventing urine backup from causing other collateral damage to the urinary tract.
Saw palmetto is normally taken in extract form (20-30 drops 3 or 4 times a day), combined with nervines such as scullcap and valerian to help with anxieties.
Men produce ten times more testosterone than women. This hormone gives guys greater capacity to develop muscularly. It also accounts for our more yang energy and aggressive tendencies.
Properly channeled, this masculine aspect of the creative principle can be very constructive. Pent up inside a guy who is hobbled emotionally by program and development, these can find outlet in destructive, often brutally destructive behaviors.
Our unique challenge is to find creative outlets for this force that wells up within us. Toward this end, regular vigorous exercise has to be considered fundamental to our health and well-being. Ideally, we can find something we’re really into that gives us the cardio-vascular and stress-relieving benefits, while keeping us fit and trim and burns off some of our excess yang energy.
I love basketball, so it’s really easy to find the time to play the game. Body surfing is also great ways to have fun while working out. Afterwards I feel relaxed and it makes me feel good about myself.
Something else that helps keep me in balance is meditation, getting in touch with myself. For all of our physical strength, men seem to take less notice of the source of strength within ourselves.
This association with our yin aspect brings balance to our predominant yang energies. It’s one of those things like stretching and yoga. We don’t always make time for them, but when we do we always remember why we need to unwind what we wind.
This brings us to our most fragile part, our heart, our chamber of feelings for ourselves and others. There are some wonderful herbs for our often broken hearts.
Hawthorn berries soaked in a good brandy for a few weeks makes a most agreeable cardiac tonic that, over a period of time, treats weakness and/or failure, hypertension, arteriosclerosis and insomnia.
Hawthorn, Crataegus oxycantha, nourishes the heart and is a true tonic for it, either stimulating it or depressing its activity as needed. The blossoms and leaves are sometimes included in the extract or tea.
Our emotional hearts generally need tonifying as well (we could probably use a hug).
There are statistics that suggest that little boys are hugged and held 60-80% less than little girls. Of course we don’t want less hugs for the girls, just an equal amount for the little guys. The inability of men to open up and hug may have some root in our childhoods. That and our homophobia.
I am happy to love and hug boys and girls of all ages. Grandparents can be like that. Lucky me.
For more information about herbal strategies for maintaining healthy men and boys, check out Herbal Healing for Men by Rosemary Gladstar or The Male Herbal by James Green.