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What’s the difference between the Viagra I get from the pharmacy and the “herbal Viagra” I see advertised on the internet?

That’s a difficult question to answer because all “herbal Viagra” is not the same. And some so-called herbal Viagra isn’t herbal at all. Because this sort of remedy falls under the very loose heading of dietary supplements, it is not subject to the same strict standards as prescription drugs. When the Food and Drug Administration is advised that a specific dietary supplement has caused problematic reactions, it investigates and usually issues a warning to consumers.

It may also seek to pressure the supplement’s distributor to recall the product. Some of these so-called remedies have been found to contain dangerously high levels of herbal ingredients that sometimes cause adverse side effects in humans. Such herbs include epimedium, more commonly known as horny goat weed, and yohimbine, a crystalline compound derived from the bark of the yohimbe tree. These ingredients are not bad in and of themselves, but some users may be hypersensitive to their effects and find them hard, if not impossible, to tolerate.

In other supplements, testing has determined that they contain varying but unlisted amounts of one or more of the active ingredients found in prescription ED medications. In some cases, the amount of the active ingredient is too little to be effective, while in others it is so high that it could pose a danger.

While the negative publicity caused by one of these FDA consumer warnings may persuade a supplement distributor to withdraw that specific product, it may reappear not long thereafter under a different brand name. For this reason, you should exercise special care in buying and taking dietary supplements. It’s best to purchase only those produced by a well-known and reputable supplement manufacturer. If in doubt, ask your doctor.

About the Author

Mark Delano is the Managing Editor and handles all day to day operations for HealthyMale.com. He is a personal fitness trainer, nutritionist and avid mountain biker who also enjoys exploring the trails of Arizona. Besides his everyday duties at HealthyMale, Mark is also a guest columnist for several blogs related to men’s health.

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