No evidence male papaya root will treat erectile dysfunction

“Male papaya root works like magic for erectile dysfunction,” reads a message posted on Facebook in Nigeria.

“Wash the roots well and cut them into pieces. Dip or soak in water for 24 hours. A man with a weak erection should have a drink, three times a day, until improvement,” it reads.

“Natural remedies contain natural substances that strengthen the blood circulation and lead to the pelvic area. When the blood reaches the penis, it becomes red and full of blood, a mechanism that triggers a hard erection.”

Erectile dysfunction is where a man is unable to get or keep an erection firm enough for sex.

But will this mixture cure the condition?



No scientific evidence

We asked Olayiwola Shittu, a professor of urological surgery at University of Ibadan in western Nigeria, about the claim.

He said that the content of any home-made mixture had to be analysed to determine if it contained chemicals that would allow men to gain an erection.

“Scientifically I have no information that confirms this works,” he said.

Shittu added that if the mixture appeared to work for some men, the effect would be psychological – not a result of the mixture.

“A remedy that is known not to contain any medication can seem to give the patient comfort, and this could be the case here,” he said.

He advised people not to use unproven remedies, but instead rely on treatments with clinically tested efficacy, proven to cause no harm.

Africa previously checked a similar claim that onions, lime, kola and garlic drink could cure erectile dysfunction, which we found to be incorrect.

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