If the flame isn’t burning as hot as it used to, read on about potential herbal remedies. Keep in mind that many health conditions can decrease libido and should be addressed first before using the following herbs. And without further ado, here are some top libido and sexual health enhancing herbs:
Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium spp. )
The name says it all. This herb supposedly got its name from a Chinese goat herder who noticed an increase in sexual activity in his herd when they grazed on this herb. Researchers have found an active ingredient in Epimedium, icariin, to work the same way as Viagra in terms of increasing nitric oxide and inhibiting the enzyme PDE-5. What’s even more interesting is that the herb has been shown to upregulate genes responsible for producing nitric oxide. In layman’s terms, this means that the herb actually improves a man’s genetic potential to have and maintain an erection. Viagra can’t do this. Another interesting fact about this herb is that it was used to revoke certain aspects of Viagra’s patent that claimed it was a novel application. However, prior to Viagra there was already a PDE-5 inhibitor used medicinally- Epimedium, aka Horny Goat Weed.
Maca root (Lepidium meyenii)
This is used in men and women alike. Maca is a great adaptogen meaning it helps the body adapt to stress. There is also research suggesting that it regulates steroid hormones. These include stress hormones, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. This is why maca can be helpful in supporting sexual function in both men and women. Maca is consumed as a food in South America and is considered to be very safe. It is currently a favourite herb amongst women at infertility clinics.
Damiana (Turnera diffusa)
Often considered the number one libido herb for women, research shows that it increases sexual activity in both sexes (in rats), and a long tradition of use in Mexico supports it improving sexual activity in both sexes (in humans). This herb works by increasing blood flow and heightening sensitivity. Some research indicates that this herb can also help reduce anxiety. Another bonus for men- this herb inhibits aromatase, the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone to estrogen. Guys, that means you keep your testosterone and don’t become estrogen factories.
Ginseng (Panax ginseng)
The original ginseng. Studies have shown ginseng to help with erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation in men. It can also help women too, by giving them more energy and better stress responses making them more likely to “be in the mood.” Not to mention the added side effect of improving your memory! The down side is that good quality ginseng can be difficult and expensive to obtain. It is a very slow growing plant so immature plants are often used and sold instead of waiting years for the plants to mature naturally.