Using herbs as stimulants to boost libido is an increasingly popular alternative to drugs such as Viagra. Many herbal remedies have been scientifically studied and proven to cure sexual dysfunction, boost sex drive and performance and have a long history of use. They also bring an element of adventure and fun to a relationship as something you can try together.
“In our never-ending search for better sex, humans have ingested such diverse items as elephant tusks, lion blood, bull testicles, rhino horn, ram penis, pig genitals, and the dried remains of the Mediterranean Cantharis beetle, otherwise known as ‘Spanish Fly’,” says sexologist and founder of Loveology University, Dr. Ava Cadell.
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“[Aphrodisiacs] work by increasing blood flow to strengthen erections, increasing vaginal and seminal fluids, stimulating erotic thoughts, improving energy levels, balancing and increasing sex hormone production,” explains Dr. Sarah Brewer, author of Increase Your Sex Drive. Here are seven prosexual herbs to boost libido and energy levels. Combine them with a healthy diet, exercise and a vaginal rejuvenation plan (PC exercises) for the best effects.
1. Ginkgo Biloba
What is it? It’s a Chinese herb sourced from the Maidenhair tree – one of the oldest trees on the planet.
How does it work? The leaves contain powerful chemicals and antioxidants called ginkgolides and bilobalides, which boost circulation and help blood vessels to open and relax. This enables a better flow of blood to the genitals aiding lubrication and stronger erections. Ginkgo is a renowned herb for boosting concentration, memory, mood and energy levels. It also reduces anxiety and tension. Try it to enhance sensation in your clitoris and improve overall skin sensitivity, which lessens after menopause.
Related: Ginkgo Biloba for Treating Antidepressant-induced Sexual Dysfunction.
2. Dong Quai
What is it? It’s a herbal remedy made from the roots, seeds, stalk and leaves of Chinese angelica.
How does it work? It is an adaptogen, which is a term for a substance that strengthens the body’s system by increasing cell (energy) production. A general tonic that normalizes hormonal levels, aids libido, and calms symptoms of PMS and menopause. This is because it contains estrogenic substances – Coumarin and other volatile oils. “It may help to boost sexuality in women whose low sex drive is linked with menopausal symptoms, heavy periods, anaemia, and menstrual cramps,” says Dr. Brewer. By stimulating blood flow to the genitals it works simultaneously as an aphrodisiac and pain-reliever. Studies have shown it is more effective for pain relief than aspirin.
Related: Dong Quai for Menopausal and Menstrual Problems
3. Muira Puama
What is it? Meaning ‘Potency Wood’ – it is an extract from the roots and bark of a Brazilian tree that grows in the Amazon.
How does it work? Studies at UCLA School of Medicine have proved its effectiveness in boosting libido and sexual desire. It increases blood flow and sensation in the genitals and is used as a natural cure for impotence. “It is thought to have a direct effect on the brain chemicals (dopamine, noradrenaline, serotonin) through stimulation of the nerve endings in the genitals and through boosting production of sex hormones,” says Dr. Brewer. She cites one clinical study of 262 male patients, which found that 62% of the subjects with lack of libido had a ‘dynamic effect’ and 51% reported that it had helped improve their erectile dysfunction.
4. Damiana Leaf
What is it? It’s a small shrub native to South America, Mexico, Namibia, and the Caribbean. The leaves are dried and used as a herbal remedy in a tincture, tablets or tea.
How does it work? A friend of mine swears by it for enhanced clitoral stimulation and likes to use it prior to sex. I have found that it increases nipple sensitivity. The herb contains alkaloids, which stimulate blood flow to the penis and clitoris so increasing sensitivity and giving both sexes longer and stronger erections (women get clitoral erections too – they may be tiny externally but the legs of the clitoris extend far back into the vagina). Damiana is a great tonic for boosting energy levels, as it helps repair the central nervous system, calming you down and improving mood and vitality.
5. Panax Ginseng
What is it? It’s a perennial plant that grows in China, Russia and Korea. ‘Ginseng’ means “Essence of the earth in the form of man” and ‘Panax’ is Greek for “to cure all”.
How does it work? There are two types of ginseng – red and white, with red being the strongest in terms of aphrodisiac properties. The root of the plant is steamed and dried to make red ginseng. It is an adaptogen and has been used as a tonic and revitaliser for thousands of years. It normalises glucose levels in the body and strengthens the immune system. It helps the body to produce more sex hormones and contains an enzyme that is thought to boost sex drive. It encourages the body to produce more nitric oxide, a key factor in stronger, longer erections. For this reason, it’s often referred to as ‘natural Viagra’ and is a common ingredient in sports energy drinks.
6. Maca Root
What is it? It’s a root vegetable that grows at high altitude in the Andes. Probably the most versatile aphrodisiac as you can eat it fresh added to yoghurt, soups, cereal, smoothies, in rum, or in capsule form, as it’s an acquired taste.
How does it work? Apparently Incan warriors used to take it before going into battle and it helped to increase energy levels and stamina. However the local women were not too happy with the side effects, which included a raging libido so its use was stopped. It contains vitamins, carbs, amino acids, fatty acids, minerals and steroid glycosides, which have estrogenic properties. It increases energy levels, stamina, sex hormone production and balance so can also help relieve PMS and menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness and low libido. I take it daily along with drops of Damiana extract and have found the two remedies to be effective in boosting my energy levels and libido.
What is it? It’s an extract from the bark of a West African evergreen tree.
How does it work? It has long been used by Africans to boost libido, cure impotence, enhance sensual dreams and boost energy levels and stamina. It contains alkaloids that have a widening, relaxing and holding effect on veins and arteries, promoting stronger erections and more lubrication. A 10-week double-blind trial of Yohimbine at Queen’s University, Kingston for the treatment of psychogenic impotence found it helped to restore or improve erectile function in 62% of the yohimbine group and 16% of the placebo group. They concluded that it is a safe treatment for psychogenic impotence that seems to be as effective as sex and marital therapy for sexual functioning. Dr. Julian Davidson, a Stanford University physiologist studied the herb widely and in his study subjects reported a 80% increase in sexual desire and performance. Dr. Brewer recommends using it in homeopathic form, under medical supervision, as occasional rather than long term use.
I order my herbs and remedies from Victoriahealth.com. (Not for promotion)
Note: Always buy herbs from a qualified medical herbalist or reputable pharmacy to ensure you get the best quality and value for your money. Never take herbs during pregnancy and check with your GP if you are on prescribed medication, as some herbal remedies can interact.
1. Dr. Ava Cadell. Sex Herbs. Loveology University.
2. Dr. Sarah Brewer. Increase Your Sex Drive. Thorsons: Feb, 1999.
3. Susan Jimison. Miracle tea cures impotence & fires up sex life, say docs. Weekly World News: May 7, 1991.
4. Reid K., Surridge DH., Morales A., Condra M., Harris C., Owen J., Fenemore J. Double-blind trial of yohimbine in treatment of psychogenic impotence. The Lancet, Vol 330, issue 8556, pp 421 – 423. August 22, 1987.
5. PDR Staff (Compiler). Physicians’ Desk Reference, 2011 Edition. PDR Network: December, 2010.