Guys (and you ladies who love them), let’s be honest. There isn’t a man on this planet that couldn’t use a bit of a boost in the bedroom from time to time.
Because no matter whether it’s triggered by stress, a hormone problem, or heck even just plain old life getting in the way, no guy is immune from having an occasional dip in his libido. And ladies, we’re no stranger to those dips in desire ourselves, are we?
But have you ever wondered if so-called natural aphrodisiacs work?
If so, you’re not the only one. Some researchers from the University of Guelph did too, so they set up a study to find out.
ED drugs don’t improve libido
If you’re taking an E.D. drug and things still aren’t all peaches and cream in the bedroom don’t despair. Because here’s the thing about those drugs. They don’t address your libido. Which means they won’t do a darn thing about a lagging sex drive.
In other words, you need to already want to have sex to use them successfully. Without the desire you may technically end up able, but not really willing.
And randomly popping them in the hope that it will heat things back up in sack when you simply aren’t in the mood is a set up for failure, not to mention asking for physical trouble. Because ED drugs can come with some troubling side effects that will make you feel ANYTHING but sexy, including…
- muscle pain
- blurred vision
- stomach problems
- flushing or reddening of the skin
- congestion or a runny nose
- a painful erection that won’t go away (priapism)
Which brings us back to those natural aphrodisiacs. The University of Guelph researchers took a deeper dive into literally hundreds of studies on natural aphrodisiacs, narrowing them down only the ones that met stringent clinical requirements.
Next they examined the data from those remaining studies, looking for any herbs that showed evidence of psychological and physiological sexual enhancement, according to the research published in the journal Food Research International.1
In other words… real libido boosters.
3 proven herbal aphrodisiacs
In the end, they concluded that three of the herbs that had been studied actually improve sexual function for certain users. (And ladies, keep reading because it turns out a couple of them could work for you too!)
1. Panax ginseng:
In traditional Chinese medicine Panax ginseng (also called Korean red ginseng) is used both as a mood-enhancing aphrodisiac and a treatment for sexual dysfunction. And according to experts the science backs up the herb’s use.
Panax ginseng is proven to naturally support physical endurance and mental clarity, both of which can give you just the boost you need in the bedroom.
For example, in a double-blind placebo controlled study guys with severe ED who took Korean red ginseng for eight weeks not only had improvements in their ED scores, they reported being much more satisfied with their love life.2 And in a similar, 12-week long study, men had significant improvements in all aspects of their bedroom experience from better erections to endurance.3
Plus studies suggest ginseng may be able to help boost testosterone, which is like rocket fuel for the libido.4,5,6
And ladies, we didn’t forget about you. If your love life could use a little extra spice ginseng could be your secret weapon too! According to research published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, a ginseng supplement significantly improved desire and arousal in a group of female volunteers.7
Saffron has long been used in traditional medicine as both a mood enhancer and aphrodisiac.8,9 And studies have confirmed extracts of the golden red spice could help improve your love life by boosting mood in both men and women, and improving ED symptoms in guys.10,11,12,13
For example, in a study published in the journal Phytomedicine, researchers reported 200 mg of saffron for 10 days led to a significant improvement in a group of guys who were having trouble in the sack. 14
Plus research has found saffron can induce relaxation leading to better blood flow.15,16,17,18 This of course could, in turn, help send more blood to exactly where you need it most to help heat things back up in the bedroom.
According to researchers other similar spices such as nutmeg, cloves, garlic and ginger are also promising libido boosters, but more research needs to be done.
It’s really no surprise that yohimbine made the researcher’s list. The herb has been and accepted treatment for ED, even in mainstream medical circles, for decades.
Experts say yohimbine can be very effective at boosting men’s sexual function. For example, in one study men who were suffering from a lack of libido or erectile dysfunction had a 62 percent boost in function in just two weeks.
Researchers believe the plant is so effective because it naturally dilates blood vessels increasing blood flow. And, of course, better blood flow below the belt can help put both men and women in the mood for love. Plus, for guys that same rush of blood can trigger firmer erections and longer lasting lovemaking sessions.
And yohimbine’s benefits don’t end there. Experts say the herb also naturally raises norepinephrine levels and boosts adrenaline to your nerve endings, which can make for some pretty intense bedroom bonding. But keep in mind that yohimbine is a powerful herb, so have a chat with a doc skilled in herbal medicine before you try it out.
Now if your favorite bedroom booster didn’t find its way into this decidedly short list, don’t worry. The researchers admitted folks also regularly reported increased sexual desire after taking in other traditional aphrodisiacs including maca root, muira puama, oysters and even chocolate (yum!).
So in the end if something floats your boat, and makes for good times between the sheets, there’s certainly no reason to not continue using it.
1. “Aphrodisiacs from plant and animal sources—A review of current scientific literature,” Food Research International, Volume 44, Issue 4, May 2011, Pages 840–850
2. “A double-blind crossover study evaluating the efficacy of korean red ginseng in patients with erectile dysfunction: a preliminary report.J Urol,” 2002 Nov;168(5):2070-3
3. “Study of the efficacy of Korean Red Ginseng in the treatment of erectile dysfunction,” Asian J Androl. 2007 Mar;9(2):241-4
4.”Effect of Panax ginseng on testosterone level and prostate in male rats,” Arch Androl. 1982 Jun;8(4):261-3
5. “Effects of Panax Ginseng C.A. Meyer saponins on male fertility,” Panminerva Med. 1996 Dec;38(4):249-54
6. “Restorative increases in serum testosterone levels are significantly correlated to improvements in sexual functioning,” J Androl. 2004 Nov-Dec;25(6):963-72
7. “Effects of Korean red ginseng on sexual arousal in menopausal women: placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover clinical study,” J Sex Med. 2010 Apr;7(4 Pt 1):1469-77
8. “Clinical Applications of Saffron (Crocus sativus) and its Constituents: A Review,” Drug Res (Stuttg). 2015 Jun;65(6):287-95
9. “Crocus sativus L.: A comprehensive review,” Pharmacogn Rev. 2010 Jul;4(8):200-8
10. “Evaluation of Crocus sativus L. (saffron) on male erectile dysfunction: a pilot study,” Phytomedicine. 2009 Aug;16(8):690-3
11. “Exploring scientifically proven herbal aphrodisiacs,” Pharmacogn Rev. 2013 Jan;7(13):1-10
12. “Effect of saffron on fluoxetine-induced sexual impairment in men: randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial,” Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2012 Oct;223(4):381-8
13. “Saffron for treatment of fluoxetine-induced sexual dysfunction in women: randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study,” Hum Psychopharmacol. 2013 Jan;28(1):54-60
14. “Evaluation of Crocus sativus L. (saffron) on male erectile dysfunction: a pilot study,” Phytomedicine. 2009 Aug;16(8):690-3
15. “The Effect of Chronic Administration of Saffron (Crocus sativus) Stigma Aqueous Extract on Systolic Blood Pressure in Rats,” Jundishapur J Nat Pharm Prod. 2013 Nov; 8(4): 175–179
16. “Relaxant effect of Crocus sativus (saffron) on guinea-pig tracheal chains and its possible mechanisms,” J Pharm Pharmacol. 2006 Oct;58(10):1385-90
17. “The effects of Crocus sativus (saffron) and its constituents on nervous system: A review,” Avicenna J Phytomed. 2015 Sep-Oct; 5(5): 376–391
18. “Smooth muscle relaxant activity of Crocus sativus (saffron) and its constituents: possible mechanisms,” Avicenna J Phytomed. 2015 Sep-Oct; 5(5): 365–375
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