The two words “Erectile Dysfunction” can strike fear into the hearts and groins of many men (and their partners). At least into the hearts of those with little imagination and those who link their manhood with their erect penises. This attitude has pushed drugs such as Viagra and Cialis into top profit generators for their manufacturers.
Of course, ED did not suddenly appear in the last 20 years, it has been an issue since the classical Greek era. Over the centuries, treatments have varied from herbs to flagellation.
J Nephrol. 2009 Nov-Dec;22 Suppl 14:67-70.
Impotence in the 18th and 19th century: concepts of etiology and approaches to therapy.
Santoro D, Savica V, Satta E, Scaffidi M, Mallamace A, Li Vecchi M, Bellinghieri G.
The old word impotence is derived from the Latin word impotencia, which literally translated means “lack of power.” Impotence, in the course of the history, has been attributed to mental pathology, anxiety, or demons or witches. Historically, the pharmacological treatments for impotence started in Greek times, when a myriad of herbal medications were applied locally to the genitals to enhance “sexual strength.” In the 18th century, theories about the main factors inducing impotence saw it as an abnormal state of the fibers, a defect in the solid or liquid substances or a bad structure (tumor, inflammation, abscess, ulcer or foreign body). According to these mechanisms, when impotence depended on the state of the muscular fibers, treatment included a tepid bath and a clyster. In very fat or very weak people, who get particularly tired, it was important to use the remedies able to give energy to the fibers, such as ferrous mineral waters, for a month. Moreover, other suggestions were to ride a horse, to sleep few hours, to breathe good country air, to take a purge every 2 weeks, to drink half a glass of wine from Borgogne or to distract the mind continuously. In the 19th century, therapies regarding impotence included slight electric stimulation through the application of stimulators on the scrotum in the testis or epididymis areas, until pain was induced. In the same period, another method for treating impotence was flagellation. This method consisted of little flagellations with leather strips.
For those like me who didn’t recognize the term ‘clyster’, I asked that repository of information to turn to when the answer doesn’t really matter–Wikipedia.
Clyster, also spelled glisterin the 17th century, comes from Greek
κλυστήρ (klystḗr), from κλύζω (klýzo), “(I) wash”. It is an archaic word for enema, more particularly for enemas administered using a clyster syringe – that is, a syringe with a rectal nozzle and a plunger rather than a bulb. Clyster syringes were used from the 17th century (or before) to the 19th century, when they were largely replaced by enema bulb syringes, bocks, and bags.
The patient was placed in an appropriate position (kneeling, with the buttocks raised, or lying on the side); a servant or apothecary would then insert the nozzle into the anus and depress the plunger, resulting in the liquid remedy (generally, water, but also some preparations) being injected into the colon.
Now you know.
I am quite sure that in a certain percentage men, enemas, electrical stimulation and flagellation would help. In others, the belief in a cure could invoke tumescence. For those whom the problems are physiological rather than psychological inm origin, these ‘cures’ would be unsuccessful. Once again we see where modern pharmacology trumps ancient beliefs.
via Disco Blogs