Our sex drive changes drastically throughout our lives, and we only tend to notice when it inevitably declines. For us adults, gone are those lustful high school days when sex permeated every thought and motivated most of our actions. And although our mature libidos allow us to much more easily function and focus in the working world, when they get too low they could cause some serious relationship and personal issues. But before you go chasing that little blue pill or seek sex therapy, let’s talk about some natural and healthy ways to help give your libido that little boost it may need.
Herbs to Increase Sexual Functioning
There are many herbs that claim to be aphrodisiacs, a lot for good reason. One of the most well studied of these herbs is Panax Ginseng. “Panax” is Greek for “all healing” and that could not describe this herb more accurately. Studies have shown Ginseng to be positively correlated with libido and sexual performance. Furthermore, it is shown in human studies to increase sperm production and motility in healthy individuals. Maca root, or Lepedium meyenii, is another promising bedroom herb. This root has been used in the Andes for thousands of years to enhance fertility, and as it turns out, there is some good reason for this. The herb has been shown in clinical trials to enhance androgenic effects and increase sperm motility and count. It is shown to improve sexual function in both men and women, making this a good libido boost for couples! The last herb worth discussing for its aphrodisiac properties is Tribulus terrestris commonly known as damiana. Animal studies have shown this herb to increase testosterone and spermatogenesis as well as several other hormones vital to healthy sexual functioning. Administration of the herb to rats showed significant increase in their sexual behavior. Ask your doctor before taking any herb or supplement as they may interfere with certain medications.
Nutrients to Increase Sexual Functioning
There are also certain dietary nutrients and supplements that have shown efficacy in improving erectile dysfunction. Pycnogenol and arginine taken in a combined supplement have been shown to increase blood flow to the erectile tissue and produce normal erectile function in 92.5% of study participants over a 3 month period. In terms of diet, increasing consumption of polyphenols has proven to be an effective treatment for ED as they improve blood flow and cardiovascular function. Where do you find polyphenols? Foods such as cocoa powder, spearmint, rosemary, thyme, chestnuts, dark chocolate, and flax meal are all rich in these super antioxidants that help increase blood flow down under. Zinc and Vitamin D are both important nutrients in the formation of testosterone, a deficiency of which is linked to sexual dysfunction in both men and women. Zinc is found in high concentrations in oysters and other shellfish, while the best source of vitamin D is the sun. It is not always possible to get sufficient amounts of these nutrients naturally, so supplementation can be helpful.
Other Approaches to Improve Sexual Health
There can be many causes of sexual dysfunction including poor nutritional status, hormone imbalance, stress, and psychological issues. The best and the most accurate treatments are always the ones that address the root cause of the issue, which is why having an evaluation by a holistic practitioner is recommended. If you want to get to the root cause of your sexual health, book a free 15 minute consultation with one of our doctors. If you suspect hormone imbalance may be at the root of your issue, hormone therapy may be right for you. If you want to learn more about balancing hormones naturally, check out this book by our colleague, Dr. David Brownstein.
Chauhan NS, Sharma V, Dixit VK, Thakur M. A Review on Plants Used for Improvement of Sexual Performance and Virility. BioMed Research International. 2014;2014:868062. doi:10.1155/2014/868062.
Leung KW, Wong AS. Ginseng and male reproductive function. Spermatogenesis. 2013;3(3):e26391. doi:10.4161/spmg.26391.
Shin B-C, Lee MS, Yang EJ, Lim H-S, Ernst E. Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: a systematic review. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2010;10:44. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-10-44.
Singh S, Nair V, Gupta YK. Evaluation of the aphrodisiac activity of Tribulus terrestris Linn. in sexually sluggish male albino rats. Journal of Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics. 2012;3(1):43-47. doi:10.4103/0976-500X.92512.