ALMOST everyone over 50 lives with one health challenge or the other under the cover of his or her clothes. What one person may consider too insignificant to think or worry about may appear like a Mount Kilimanjaro / or Everest to another. When a man in his seventies complains about erectile dysfunction, the man who is beset with prostate cancer has a tendency to think the other man must be mentally ill. That is because the prostate-challenged man would gladly exchange his problem with another which merely compels him to hang his boots. When my blood pressure was on the low, averaging eighty-something over fifty-something, I saw many high-blood pressure-challenged people who thought I was a lucky man. How I always wished they knew low blood pressure could kill faster than high blood pressure. I knew this in practical terms from the death of one of my brothers-in-law. The day before his death, he was at his doctor’s. The doctor wanted to place him under observation overnight. But he said he had an important wedding to attend the following day, promising to leave the ceremony after “showing” his face and come straight to hospital. But, overnight, he became too weak and, so, could not attend the wedding. His family sent for an ambulance as he could not get up from his chair. The doctor gently walked him to the ambulance. But, before the engine could be started, he slumped and died.

Health challenges of all sorts, including insomnia, acid reflux, indigestion, headaches should not be taken lightly. I learned last week of an eight-year-old girl who is on the waiting at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) for surgery to correct a blockage in her esophagus. It would cost about #500,000, a budget too heavy for her poor parents. Her problem may have begun from acid reflux or an infection in the throat which made swallowing difficult.

We should, therefore, not consider any irreverence in the body’s functioning too minor to seek advice for. For this reason, this column is devoted today to answering, publicly, some questions asked by its readers…

Sexual, blood pressure problems

Question: I have a problem of sexual dysfunction and high blood pressure 165/95. Any herbal solutions?

Answer: The causes of erectile dysfunction are diverse. In simple, descriptive terms, it means the penis is not getting up as it should to perform its sexual function. Poor blood circulation to the penile shaft is one of the causes. Another is poor energy flow in the nerves which control activities in that region. Yet another is a poor or unbalanced hormonal profile. Urogenital conditions (urinary tract and other sexual organs) also may have a hand in it. Stress and adrenal weakness or burn out may be in the train as well. Depression and sleep disorder may also be spanners in the works. In the brain, they may disturb feelings of sexual excitement Psychological factors cannot be ruled out. Alcoholism, tobacco use and exposure to recreational substances may constrict blood vessels and reduce blood flow to the penile shaft. In the same train are weight problems, diabetes and heart disease. In fact many men who take anti-hypertensive drugs are known to be poor sexual performers. This is because the pharmaceutical drugs reduce the heart rate (of pumping blood) and the consequent reduced blood flow does not give the penile shalf enough blood to make it turgid and up and doing for the desired duration.

Adequate blood flow is critical. In some men, the blood vessels do not permit easy flow of blood either because they are blocked by, say, Cholesterol or Homocysteine and other substances (atherosclerosis) or because they are hardened (arteriosclerosis) by deposits of Calcium on their soft muscles. Add to these duo a possible hardening of the various organs due to Calcium infiltration or granulation of toxins in their circulatory passages.

One of the little explored causes of ED is hypothyroidism. This condition means the thyroid gland, which is in the neck region, is under working. A subnormal thyroid activity reduces the metabolic rate of the body and keeps everything on a low key.

Herbal solutions

A possible solution is tied to one or more possible causes. Blockages in the blood vessels can be cleaned up with Cayenne, Onion, Garlic or the cell (tissue) salt called Ferrum phos. Calcification of blood vessels eases up with Magnesium supplementation of the diet. This is helpful, also, for men who suffer from premature ejaculation, which is caused partly by nerve and muscle spasms in the urogenital region. Those who have used it successfully in spasms in the hands and legs (Pajapaja in Yoruba) can attest to this, especially when they combine Magnesium with a circulation-promoting herb such as Cayenne and add an Oxygen tablet to the bargain. If the heart is too weak to pump enough blood due to either pharmaceutical drugs taken for high blood pressure, or other causes, it may be that there is not enough Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) in the diet. Dr. Karl Folkers, father of CoQ10 research since 1952 (www.olufemikusa.com) suggests that most hearts begin to misbehave when their CoQ10 stocks fall short below 25percent of normal. For adult users of CoQ10, Ubiquinol is recommended for many reasons. The heart also needs B-Complex Vitamins to overcome stress. It needs Vitamin E and Selenium as well as Calcium and Magnesium. As for the thyroid gland, which may slow down the entire system if its activity is subnormal, Sea Kelp is a good ginger. Some doctors prefer pure iodine. As it helps to raise the metabolic rate, there is a tendency for weight problems to be resolved somewhat. Orange Peel helps to burn sugar as does Chromium picolinate, Cinnamon, Fenugreek, Pawpaw leaf et.c. As sugar blood congestion eases, circulation improves. The B-Complex vitamins, especially Vitamin B1 (thiamine) helps the nerves. Without the nerves, our bodies are nothing. But it is Lion’s Mane mushroom that is currently the star because it helps the brain to produce Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), which supports the repair of damaged nerves. The nerve junction in the pubis (Frankenhauser’s) is often infiltrated by heavy metals which disturbs nerve activity in the pubis and penis. The herb Chlorella removes them from the brain, cells and nerves and the herb Cilantro (efo ebolo in Yoruba) excretes them from the body.

To calm agitated nerves the herb German Chamomile does a good job. Asparagus racemosus is widely used in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, where it is called shatauari or “curer of one hundred diseases”.

In www.heathene.com we learn that “it is meant to improve sexual function and health”. It adds:

“Some studies have shown its effectiveness on the male reproductive system in its capability to Improve circulation and calm nerves. Both of these “benefits should aid men”.”

As for high blood pressure, many of the herbs mentioned above should help. For heart issues, I often suggest Ubiquinol to energise the heart, Hawthorn berry flowers to clean up the blood vessels, Hawthorn berry fruit to clear blockages in the heart arteries and to curb enlargement of the heart, Vitamin E and Cayenne to help blood flow and L-Arginine to dilate blood vessels and improve sperm count.

In Nigeria, many men are now aware of Robust Roots for instant action, and African Black Ant for slow but steady action. Men with high blood pressure may need to watch African Black Ant which also helps kidney and prostate gland function.

The adrenal glands situated on the kidneys, are organs which help us stand the rigours of stress without knowing it. They are like the shock absorbers of a motorcar. We know we are stressed if the adrenals do not work properly. In that condition, the brain commands the conversion of sex hormones to stress hormones, enough of which the adrenals may no longer be producing. When this happens, Libido collapses. To shore up Libido and get the sex hormones back, herbs such as Ginseng, Borage Oil, Maca, Ginkgo biloba are often used.