by Ashley Tibbits
You’ve heard the theories — from eating oysters to chocolate-covered strawberries — that there are some things you can consume that will naturally boost your sex drive.
Some of them may sound (and probably are) pretty far-fetched, but there’s actually truth to the general concept of herbal aphrodisiacs — they just might not be the herbs you’ve heard of.
It first may be helpful to consider exactly what an “aphrodisiac” is. In a study by Indian educational institute Jamia Hamdard, the term is defined as “any food or drug that arouses the sexual instinct, induces venereal desire, and increases pleasure and performance.”
And the belief that libido boosters occur naturally in herbs, foods, and animal products (like rhinoceros horn and toxic Spanish fly) has existed for centuries all over the world. Anecdotal research has proved varying degrees of success for such aphrodisiacs, but it’s safe to say that there’s no magic dust for better sex.
However, what we do know about sexual performance is that it can be dramatically affected by environmental factors, including stress, diet, exercise, sleep, and other lifestyle habits.
And therefore, a truly effective aphrodisiac would be something that’s able to improve upon some of these areas, such as by offering reduced stress or increased energy, for example.
If you’re looking for an herbal libido enhancer, read ahead for five options that could give you a little boost in the bedroom.
CBD oil and sex
There are a few reasons that CBD oil may have a positive effect on your sex life, but arguably the main benefit it offers is reducing stress — one of the biggest sex drive killers.
An article in Psychology Today explains that some sexual issues, including erectile dysfunction, are a direct result of stress. And what’s worse, stress produces a cyclical effect. “Negative events create a spontaneous stress response that intensifies the more ingrained it becomes,” the article says.
The use of products like our Premium CBD Drops can help to manage stress. That said, in more extreme cases, however, CBD shouldn’t be a replacement for sex therapy/couple’s therapy when stress seems to be an ongoing issue, and the same goes for any herbal aphrodisiac.
There’s also the pain relief factor to consider. In an article from Healthline, it is explained that some women who experience minor pain from sex have been able to get some relief due to CBD’s soothing properties.
There are even topical products, such as lubricants, designed for this use. The article also mentions that CBD can increase blood flow, which may in turn increase sensitivity in the sexual organs.
How does CBD oil increase sex drive
Most of us are not aware that the potential benefits of CBD extend beyond mental stress, anxiety and pain relief. As per research, the same factors that offer relief for the above conditions, also work to boost libido and increase lubrication.
Whether it is painful sex, dryness, or lack of arousal due to stress and anxiety, CBD oil can be used to address all these concerns.
CBD oil can be applied topically, to help relax blood vessels. This mechanism increases blood flow to your sex organs, increasing sensitivity and lubrication.
What follows is a thrilling experience between the sheets. While research is still limited in this field, if you struggle with a low sex drive or painful sex, a CBD oil lubricant might just be the answer to your woes.
What herbs are good for male libido
Numerous medical treatments are available and marketed specifically for boosting male libido. However, many people prefer natural remedies, as they’re generally safer and tend to have fewer side effects.
It is worth mentioning that most of these herbs do not have the backing of scientific evidence, or have side effects.
Here are some herbs that are beneficial for male libido:
- Basil - the aroma of basil stimulates the senses, leaving you relaxed. Basil is an aphrodisiac and contains arginine compounds that can prolong the life span of sperm.
- Garlic - is rich in allicin, which increases blood flow. These effects may be beneficial for erectile dysfunction (ED).
- Ginkgo biloba - is an extract derived from the leaf of the Chinese ginkgo tree. According to research, it is useful for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction in men.
- Horny Goat Weed - as per research, this Chinese herb is effective in reducing symptoms of sexual dysfunction, including erectile dysfunction.
- Red Ginseng - Korean herbal practitioners recommend this herb for its effectiveness to treat erectile dysfunction.
- Yohimbine - an alkaloid found in the bark of the West African evergreen, is often compared to Viagra. Studies suggest that yohimbine bark improves sexual performance. It can help maintain an erection, and also enhance the quality of an erection.
- Fenugreek - is an annual plant cultivated worldwide, it is known for its libido-boosting treatment. This herb may contain compounds that the body can use to make sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone. One such study revealed that men who took 600 mg of fenugreek extract per day for 6 weeks reported increased sexual libido.
What herbs are good for women’s libido
Many women these days suffer from low libido (low desire for sex) issues and have difficulty reaching climax.
Here are some herbs that may help:
- Maca root that has been used since ancient times to enhance fertility and sex drive. Studies suggest that taking 1.5 to 3.5 grams of maca daily for two to 12 weeks helps to boost libido in both men and women.
- Puncture vine plants have been used medicinally in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Indian Ayurvedic medicine for a long time now. Parts of this plant can be used to enhance libido, keep the urinary tract healthy, and minimize inflammation.
- Damiana is an aphrodisiac, native to Central and South America and the Caribbean. Known for warming the pelvic region, damiana has its uses as herbal medicine.
- Ocotillo is a pelvic lymphagogue, it promotes the flow of lymph and “energy” through the female reproductive system, supporting female libido. In cases of chronic congestion in the pelvic region, as with ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and recurrent urinary tract infections, this herb can be ingested under a herbalist’s supervision.
- Asparagus racemosus or Shatavari, is an age-old Ayurvedic Medicine that is used for female reproductive health for many centuries. It is used for a variety of women’s reproductive issues, to improve libido, support fertility, and miscarriage.
Native to the Indian sub-continent, in Sanskrit, the word Ashwagandha means ‘smell of the horse’. Ashwagandha has been attributed to immense importance in Ayurveda. It has been recommended by herbalists for thousands of years to relieve stress and anxiety, improve concentration, and increase energy levels.
Ashwagandha sex benefits women’s health
Ashwagandha is a magical herb found in the Indian subcontinent. From making you feel relaxed to treating several health issues, this herb can be a great addition to a woman’s diet.
Ashwagandha is an aphrodisiac. This simply means that it could boost your libido, give you great orgasms and improve your sex drive.
In a study, women took a dose of Ashwagandha daily for over a month and saw significant improvements in achieving better orgasms. The herb is known to help with sexual dysfunctions in women by increasing the production of progesterone.
Moreover, as Ashwagandha is known to have psychological benefits, it de-stresses the mind, thereby improving sexual potency.
Ashwagandha and female sex drive
Ashwagandha is widely used in Ayurveda, a traditional system of medicine in India. An “adaptogen,” this herb reduces stress and helps the body deal with the ill effects of stress. This increases blood flow and improves a woman’s sexual drive.
Ashwagandha also plays a role in increasing androgens in women. Research and findings, however, are still limited. Female sexual dysfunction (FSD) results in reduced libido, dryness in the vagina, reduced genital perception and arousal, pain during intercourse, and difficulties in attaining orgasm.
While Ashwagandha has some positive effects on FSD, the ongoing research suggests that the search needs to continue for safe and effective botanical answers to female desire and sexual dysfunction.
Another buzzy plant that’s been getting some attention for its purported sex-boosting benefits is the adaptogen Rhodiola rosea.
According to some professionals, including Dr. Sarah Brewer, a medical doctor, licensed nutritionist and nutritional therapist, that has to do with the plant’s ability to manage moods, which many consider essential to a healthy sex life.
This Alpine herb is widely used to aid stress and fatigue, and that’s exactly why Dr. Brewer believes it to also improve libido. “Stress has profound effects on your hormone balance,” she states.
“When you are stressed, your adrenal glands ramp up their production of stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline/epinephrine) and reduce their output of the androgen sex hormones DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) and DHEAS (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate).”
Therefore, taking Rhodiola could help give you a mood and energy boost that can greatly benefit your sexual desire.
The adaptogen is available in a few forms, such as capsules, teas, and tinctures. You also can try it combined with the benefits of CBD in a wellness stack like FOCL Day.
Rhodiola and sex
Did you know that for centuries, Rhodiola was given as a wedding gift to couples? Native to Europe and the eastern countries, this sex-enhancing herb encourages a healthy sexual appetite among males.
It is known to relieve stress and increase blood flow to the sex organs. It enhances sexual drive and sexual responsiveness.
Rhodiola replenishes the adrenal reserves of the body and recuperates the body from stress and fatigue. It also improves a person’s sleep quality and maintains ample hormonal levels. This enhances the male libido and arouses healthy sex urges in men.
Maca, a perennial plant native to South America, has been used for some time for its believed ability to increase vitality. This use dates back to ancient Andean shepherds (who both ate the plant themselves and fed it to their livestock), according to Psychology Today.
In fact, more recently maca has been proved to increase the sperm count for livestock. But the plant potentially benefits humans the same way: Studies have shown that this may be due to the fact that it can increase energy, balance mood, and even potentially regulate hormones.
Does maca root increase sex drive?
Maca has been used for centuries to increase energy levels and enhance sexual drive. It also benefits menopausal symptoms in women and helps with mental clarity.
In addition, Maca has mood-boosting, anxiety-easing, and energizing properties.
As per a 2002 study, Maca could increase male sexual libido. A 2008 study stated that maca consumption reduced sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women. In another 2001 study, the semen count improved in men who daily consumed maca over four months.
While Maca is safe to consume, it could have adverse effects on people suffering from thyroid issues, and pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Many people like having a Maca latte to improve mental health while reaping the benefits of an increased sexual drive.
The Korean herb Red Ginseng has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine. While Medical News Today is quick to explain that it has yet to be proved to increase hormone levels (as some suggest), when taken in tea or supplement form it has been shown to increase nitric oxide, which leads to increased blood flow and therefore more sensitivity and better muscle performance.
Korean red ginseng for libido
This herb finds its use in traditional Chinese medicine, and western medicine supports its medical benefits. Yes, Koran Red Ginseng has tremendous libido lifting powers, allowing better penetration and erection maintenance.
Panax ginseng can improve sexual performance in both men and women. Also, research studies of the Maryland University Medical Center suggest that it may improve libido or sexual desire. Experts believe that the herb works by enabling the body to adapt to stress.
According to the National Institutes of Health, Panax ginseng can reduce the symptoms of erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. Its intake has been shown to increase sperm counts and sperm motility. Herbal medicine practitioners prescribe ginseng as a complementary treatment option for men with infertility caused by low sperm count.
Although, studies are still ongoing to confirm the exact impact and dosage of Panax ginseng required to improve male sex drive.
Another staple of Chinese medicine, ginkgo works in a similar way to ginseng. It offers an increase in blood flow, as well as a “relaxant effect on smooth muscle tissue,” according to a study by UT Austin’s Department of Psychology on women with sexual arousal disorder.
This research determined that long-term use of ginkgo — when combined with sex therapy — showed a significant increase in the women’s arousal.
Gingko Biloba before sex
Another magical herb from the Chinese medicine closet, Gingko Biloba is known to improve blood flow. Males suffering from erectile dysfunction can benefit from better blood flow in their sex organs.
If you are planning to take Gingko Biloba supplements to enhance sexual pleasure, here’s how it works. A chemical reaction takes place when you take ginkgo supplements.
On intake, the levels of nitric oxide increase in the bloodstream. This compound works on vessels and arteries to act as a vasodilator; it causes them to widen. This not only increases the blood flow in the entire body but also causes the blood pressure to drop.
However, evidence is limited to support the theory that ginkgo can improve blood flow in ED. There is also some evidence to support that Gingko works on mental health and reduces anxiety.
In adverse cases, ginkgo can increase the risk for bleeding problems if combined with certain medications, such as warfarin
Though each of these herbs have been shown to be an herbal aphrodisiac, its important to take a holistic look at your (sex) life before deciding which one will be best for you.
For example, if you find it hard to drum up desire after a week of poor sleep, you’ll likely need to start by addressing the underlying issue first. Incorporating changes that decrease stress and fatigue across every aspect of your life will help you feel more confident and comfortable — both in and out of the bedroom.
Exploring scientifically proven herbal aphrodisiacs - Department of Pharmaceutics, Jamia Hamdard
The Stress-Sex Connection - Psychology Today
Is Maca an Aphrodisiac? - Psychology Today
Can CBD Make Sex Better? Here’s What the Experts Say - Healthline
Should I use red ginseng for erectile dysfunction? - Medical News Today
Can supplements save your sex life? - Harvard Medical School
Ancient Answers to Erectile Dysfunction - Healthline
Short- and Long-term Effects of Ginkgo Biloba Extract on Sexual Dysfunction in Women - Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin