Can you really lift libido?
Sometimes no matter how attracted you are to someone, no matter how much you love them, no matter how happy you are in life in general, your libido can drag you down, wreaking havoc on your bedroom satisfaction. (Make sure you aren't falling for any of these these sex myths.) You may be feeling too tired, too stressed, or consistently not in the mood for seemingly no reason at all. Perhaps you go in with good intentions, but feel a lack of interest once invested. Whether you don't want to, or it doesn't feel as good as it used to, having a healthy sex life is an intricate part of living a well-balanced lifestyle. It's capable of reducing stress, building a healthy relationship with your partner, and so much more.
While there are surely synthetic pills to guide your way back to a healthy sex life, some people prefer the all-natural route, and for that, there are a number of remedies that can provide support. Many may likely already be in your kitchen!
"Herbal remedies, rich in natural plant-based chemicals, provide an answer to common problems people experience," says Joel Kahn, MD, a holistic cardiologist who has written about the importance of utilizing plants for boosting your sex life. "As I say, put plants in your pants and your love life will grow strong."
Next time you need a boost, try the following natural remedies to get you back on track.
Revered as an Indian wonder herb for thousands of years, this root is described as "Indian ginseng." The name ashwagandha comes from the Sanskrit language and is a combination of the word ashva, meaning horse, and gandha, meaning smell. The aroma of the root is thought to be "horse-like." (Could one of these eight reasons explain your loss of libido?)
One of its many health benefits is stimulation of the libido and increased satisfaction by increasing blood flow to sexual organs. A 2011 study published in the International Journal of Research in Ayurveda and Pharmacy found the root to be a natural alternative treatment for low sexual desire and erectile dysfunction.
One of Dr. Kahn's top picks for boosting libido, damiana is a shrub native to southern Texas, Central America, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean. For centuries, the Mayan Indians of Mexico have used it as an aphrodisiac for both men and women.
A 2008 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology supports the age-old folk use of damiana, calling it a beneficial aphrodisiac with the potential to provide therapeutic properties in the treatment of sexual dysfunction thanks to the flavonoids found in the herb's leaf.
An annual plant whose seeds are a common ingredient in dishes from South Asia, fenugreek not only spices up meals, but, according to research, the bedroom too. (If you're battling a flagging desire, check out these reasons for having sex.) A 2011 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that the plant boosted sex drive in men experiencing low libido. Other benefits include lower blood sugar levels in diabetics, and increased milk production for women who are breastfeeding.
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Though it has become a popular additive to smoothies, maca root, which comes from the radish family, has been used for centuries in the Andes to increase libido. A 2002 study published in the journal Andrologia gave 57 men either 1.5 grams of maca, 3 grams of maca, or a placebo, with the men receiving the supplements daily for 12 weeks. After eight weeks, the men taking the maca reported heightened sexual desire.
Dr. Kahn notes maca's ability to alleviate symptoms of menopause in women as well, significantly reducing both the frequency and severity of hot flushes and night sweats.
This popular kitchen spice has been used in the Indian culture to boost sex drive, while in Africa, it's referred to as "Viagra for women." According to a 2003 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine that tested nutmeg as an aphrodisiac using animal studies, the spice is beneficial in increasing sexual behaviors.
Saffron's alluring flavor makes it among the most expensive spices out there, but a little goes a long way! The tiny yellow threads offer plenty of benefits while adding intense color and unique flavor to dishes like paella. Just a couple of strands of saffron can boost sex drive, too, according to 2011 study published in the journal Food Research International.
Another top pick from Dr. Kahn, this lemon-like fruit grows on trees on one region of Southern Italy. Bergamot has been shown in a 2015 study published in the journal PharmaNutrition to improve erectile dysfunction in men who also have diabetes mellitus. According to Kahn, such findings may be the result of bergamot also supporting healthy blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol, while also having powerful antioxidant properties known to improve endothelial function—the lining of your blood vessels and key to cardiovascular health.
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Catuaba bark has been used by Brazilians as an aphrodisiac for many years. According to a 2005 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, it boosts dopamine levels in the brain, which creates an increase of sensitivity to erogenous stimulation. Consuming it regularly has been found to boost erotic dreams, increase sexual satisfaction, and heighten orgasm sensitivity.