Testosterone levels naturally begin to drop after the age of 30, according to MayoClinic.com. While many men do not notice any effects from the decline in this male sex hormone, others may experience emotional changes, sleep problems and difficulties with sexual functioning. AndroGel is a prescription medicine that is effective in treating low testosterone levels, but certain natural alternatives may also help.
Pine and its pollen contain more phytoandrogens than just about any other plant on the planet, notes Stephen Buhner claims in his book "The Natural Testosterone Plan for Sexual Health and Energy." Phytoandrogens are compounds produced in plants that mimic the effects of androgen, the class of male hormones to which testosterone belongs. Pine pollen has served as a health restorative in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Buhner writes that in addition to its androgen-replacing qualities, pine pollen can help maintain the immune system, promote liver regeneration, and regulate the endocrine system. Few scientific studies have been performed in humans on pine pollen, so speak to a health care professional before using them.
Puncture vine, or Tribulus terrestris, is a flowering plant sometimes known as "goathead." Gardeners and ranchers consider it to be a noxious weed because of its sharp seed burs that can puncture through materials like bicycle tires and sneakers. Used as a medicinal herb in both traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic healing traditions, it has been used for urinary tract infections, vitiligo, eye infections, as an energizer and as a sexual stimulant. Animal studies suggest that puncture vine stimulates androgen receptors in the brain. According to a study published in 2003 in the "Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine," puncture vine enhanced sexual behavior in rats. This led the authors to conclude that the claims that puncture vine can enhance male sexual activity may have merit. However, more research is needed before puncture vine can be widely recommended.
Tongkat ali is a small tree that is native to the forests of Malaysia, Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia. A remedy made from its roots and barks has been traditionally used to treat ulcers, headaches, and malaria. It has also been used to enhance sexual health in men. In a study reported in November 2009 in the "Journal of Ethnopharmacology," sexually sluggish rats given tongkat ali for 10 days had higher testosterone levels and enhanced sexual performance compared with a control group that did not receive the herb. More studies are necessary to see if it is therapeutically equivalent to AndroGel.
- "Journal of Ethnopharmacology"; Influence of Eurycoma Longifolia on the Copulatory Activity of Sexually Sluggish and Impotent Male Rats; P. Zanoli et al; November 2009
- The Natural Testosterone Plan: For Sexual Health and Energy
- "Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine"; Sexual Effects of Puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris) Extract (Protodioscin): An Evaluation Using a Rat Model; K. Gauthaman et al; 2003
- MayoClinic.com: Men's Health: Testosterone Therapy: Key to Male Vitality?