(Natural News) One of the most essential human experiences involves the desire for sexual activity. Libido, colloquially known as sex drive, pertains to a person’s sexual desires. Sex drive can be determined and influenced by the desire for pleasure, sexual identity, affection, intimacy, as well as socio-cultural, emotional, and cognitive factors. Studies have been conducted on the various factors that affect sex drive and sexual behavior, and one study, published in the journal Nutrire, particularly focused on the effects of herbal medicine on the libido.
It is known that there are certain nutrients that help regulate hormones, and in this context, sexual function may be improved with dietary and lifestyle changes.
The study, titled The action of herbal medicine on the libido: aspects of nutritional intervention in increasing sexual desire, looked into the actions of herbal medicines to determine if natural sources can be used to enhance sexual desire and performance.
The researchers conducted a systematic review of PUBMED, Scielo, and EMBASE databases using the keywords “libido, food, and nutrient.” Out of the 2,798 articles identified, 34 were chosen to be reviewed according to specific inclusion and exclusion criteria set by the researchers.
The inclusion criteria included describing the use of supplement, herbal medicine, or food that improved the libido, while exclusion criteria consisted of hormone replacement therapy, surgical procedures, and therapy with drugs.
The researchers determined that the following herbal medicines contain certain phytochemicals that may help improve sex drive and enhance sexual performance and stamina.
- Bindii (Tribulus terrestris) – This annual plant was found to increase testosterone serum levels.
- Eurycoma longifolia – This flowering plant, commonly known as “tongkat ali,” also increases testosterone serum levels, as well as biosynthesis of several androgens.
- Ginseng – This root vegetable was found to increase energy levels and stimulate smooth muscle relaxation.
- Maca (Lepidium meyenii) – This herbaceous biennial plant, which belongs to the same family as cruciferous vegetables, was found to have androgenic effects and improve sexual performance. (Related: Maca enhances libido, increases sperm count, and reduces post-menopausal symptoms.)
- Mondia whitei – This perennial herbaceous climber grows from a tuberous rootstock which has a ginger or licorice taste. It was found to improve the libido and erection.
In addition to herbal medicine, dietary changes such as opting for low-energy, low-fat, and high-protein diets were shown to also improve sexual and erectile functions and increase testosterone levels.
A study reported an improved sexual function with 31 participants after they were subjected to a diet of whole foods. In the same vein, over half of the patients with erectile dysfunction reported an improvement of five to 10 percent in sexual desire, due to weight loss induced by caloric restriction. In addition, weight loss influenced the increase in testosterone levels.
The findings demonstrate positive effects of certain medicinal plants on the libido, as well as dietary and lifestyle changes, which suggest that nutritional intervention is a promising field in providing support for sexual function, performance, and behavior.
Herbs that can boost female sex drive
While certain herbs can help increase levels of testosterone and help with erectile dysfunction in men, there are also a handful of herbs that can boost female libido.
- Ashwaganda root – The herb may help improve sexual experience as it has been found to increase blood flow to female sexual organs.
- Muira puama – Some of the effects of using this herb include a surge in libido, desire, sexual enjoyment, and intensified orgasms.
- Oats – Oats have been known to possess aphrodisiac and libido-stimulating qualities.
- Catuaba – Its active compound yohimbine energizes and stimulates libido and desire.
- Damiana – The leaves of damiana are considered libido enhancers. The leaves contain flavonoids, phenolics, glycosides, terpenoids, and even caffeine that contribute to reduced stress and increased blood flow, particularly to the pelvic area.
- Suma root – Also known as Brazilian ginseng, the suma root aids female hormonal balance and boosts female libido. It has been found to increase levels of estradiol-17beta, the primary estrogen hormone during a woman’s reproductive years.