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Onions, lime, kola and garlic drink won’t cure erectile dysfunction

A message on the Nigeria-based Facebook page “Beauty & Health Arena” claims a drink made from boiling white onions, limes, kola seeds and garlic is a “remedy for poor erection”.

It says to “drink a glass cup morning and night for one week”.

Erectile dysfunction is a common health condition in which men can’t get or keep an erection firm enough for sex. It can affect men of all ages, but is more common in men over 40.

The causes of a poor erection can be physical or psychological. Physical causes include heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, alcohol abuse, smoking and taking certain drugs. Stress can be another cause.

But will drinking this remedy cure erectile dysfunction?

No death sentence – but see doctor if condition lasts for weeks

Emiola Olapade-Olaopa, a professor of urological surgery at the University of Ibadan, told Africa Check that the mixture had no scientific basis. He added that men should not see erectile dysfunction as a death sentence.

“At the same time it is safer not to use remedies that have neither been scientifically proven to work nor have passed clinical trials to ascertain its effectiveness.”

Olayiwola Shittu, another urological surgery professor at Ibadan university, said no remedy could cure erectile dysfunction caused by psychological factors.

“Some cases of erectile dysfunction may be psychological, which is called psychogenic erectile dysfunction,” he said. “This might not require any serious treatment because the person does not have the condition in the first place. However, in certain cases, it could be as a result of one disease or the other.”

He added: “We commonly consume these ingredients – for example, onions and garlic are used in cooking. But the chemical composition in the mixture has to be ascertained and known to be functional to create an erection before anyone can boldly ask people to take it.”

Shittu said people should be careful of medical advice posted on social media.

The British National Health Service says men should see a doctor if they have had erectile dysfunction for more than a few weeks. The doctor “will assess your general state of health because the condition can be the first sign of more serious health conditions, such as heart disease (when the heart’s blood supply is blocked or interrupted)”. – Catherine Olorunfemi


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