Approximately 30 to 45 percent of men and women have had sexual dysfunction, and 36 percent report low libido. Stress, cardiometabolic health, medication side effects, depression, and other issues are often at play, which may warrant professional diagnosis and care. Nonetheless, many herbs can help bring back that lovin’ feelin’.
Sexual function relies heavily on adequate blood flow to the genitals, but circulation issues are most apparent in erectile dysfunction. Get a full cardiovascular assessment to identify and address early warning signs of disease like atherosclerosis.
Alongside a plant-rich diet and regular cardiovascular exercise, consider heart tonic and circulation-enhancing herbs and foods like hawthorn, garlic, ginger, and low doses of cayenne and rosemary for general support. Watch for herb-drug interactions and seek the guidance of a healthcare professional if you have cardiovascular disease.
Nothing kills the mood quite like stress, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed.
Mood boosters are individual and can include:
You should also follow a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables that balances blood sugar.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) root acts as an adaptogen, improving resistance to stress while also boosting mood and easing anxiety and insomnia.
Ashwagandha also supports sexual function, fertility, and libido. It enhances testosterone and sperm health.
A pilot study on sexual function in women found that taking 300 milligrams of ashwagandha extract capsules twice daily for eight weeks, compared to a placebo, improved:
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) boosts mood and energy while enhancing sexual vitality. It’s helpful in middle age to maintain vitality and virility.
Several studies support its ability to boost desire and sexual function, including in postmenopausal women, in antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction, in erectile dysfunction, and in healthy adults. Maca may also support:
Alongside maca and ashwagandha, other herbs have the reputation more specifically for libido.
In Mexico, calming and uplifting damiana (Turnera diffusa) leaves and flowers form the base of a libidinous cordial, and the herb can also be incorporated into tea, liquid extract, or pills. It’s traditionally used in all genders and may work partly via the nitric oxide pathway.
Tribulus (Tribulus terrestris), meanwhile, has stimulating and testosterone-like effects on libido and sexual function in erectile dysfunction and perimenopause.
Stronger libido herbs may not be necessary and are difficult to source from reputable companies via ethical harvesting methods. Adulteration and illegal poaching of wild stands are common.
Also rule out and address underlying deficiencies in zinc or iron, which may reduce libido and sexual function.
Traditional aphrodisiac mussels and oysters are naturally abundant in both minerals.
Be aware that the libido supplement industry is the worst sector of dietary supplements in terms of adulteration, often with undeclared drug ingredients, unsubstantiated claims, and unsafe ingredients.
Seek quality products from stores and companies you can trust including natural food stores, co-ops, and herbalist-run shops.
Choose reputable brands, such as: