Herbs to Improve Your Sex Life

herbs to improve your sex life

How do herbs help with sex? The term "aphrodisiac" probably comes to mind right away. An aphrodisiac (the word derives from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty) is anything that provokes sexual interest or desire. And it's true -- many herbs can enhance sexual desire. But when it comes to sex, herbs can do more than that.

They can:

  • Set the mood
  • Increase sexual desire and drive
  • Increase sexual pleasure

Furthermore, herbs can also aid health conditions that might otherwise inhibit sex. These conditions include the following:

  • The "male" problems of impotence, prostate problems, and male menopause
  • The "female" problems of menopause and premenstrual syndrome
  • Chronic health problems such as arthritis or diabetes 
  • Other conditions that affect your overall well-being, such as lack of energy or addiction to cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs.

Increasing Your Sexual Desire and Drive

The word "libido" isn't used now as much as it was in the heyday of Freudian psychology. But its definition still aptly describes "sexual drive." One dictionary puts it this way: "The psychic and emotional energy associated with bodily drives." Another dictionary adds that these "bodily drives" arising from "primitive urges" are usually "goal-oriented." Now, what could that mean when we're talking about sex? In this chapter our goal is to focus on sexual desire and drive, which are inextricably connected.

The sexual drive is perhaps the most fascinating of all the "bodily drives." True, its original purpose may have been to ensure the continuation of humankind. But the concept of procreation probably ranks much lower on most of our scales than a desire for plain, "old-fashioned" sexual enjoyment.

But if you don't have the urge -- the libido or desire or drive -- then you may not be having sex as often as you would like. Or, lack of sexual drive can turn sex into more of a chore than a pleasure. It doesn't have to be that way. The herbs described in this chapter can help put sexual desire and drive back into your life -- or back into the life of the person you love.

Increasing Your Sexual Pleasure

Setting the mood and desiring to have sex are certainly the first two steps to enjoying sex. But once the "game has begun," there are many ways to ensure maximum sexual pleasure. Herbs can help, usually by initiating a change in your body's chemical balance, such as increasing your body's production of testosterone, the "male" hormone that functions in both men and women to create your body's sexual response. Because of this chemical-changing role, most of these herbs are more effective when taken consistently over a period of time. Within a few weeks of taking the herb, you should gradually begin to notice a change in your sexual response, increasing your sexual pleasure.

Improving Your Overall Well-Being

Enjoying the best sex takes more than simply ensuring that you have no major health problems that interfere. It also means taking a look at your lifestyle to be sure your overall well-being supports pleasurable sex. Many herbs can help optimize your health, by giving you more energy, helping you relieve stress, aiding you in overcoming addictions, and assisting you in losing any excess weight. See whether any of these herbs may benefit you and your sex life.

Herbs to Increase Your Energy

If you feel fatigued or have a lack of energy, it's no surprise that you may not get too excited about sex. The best way to regain energy is to identify and alleviate whatever is making you feel so fatigued -- a health problem, too much stress, side effects from medication, or lack of sleep, for example. These herbs may also help restore your energy levels and restore your sex life as well: astragalus, fo-ti, ginkgo, ginseng, and spirulina.

Herbs to Reduce Stress

It's almost impossible to avoid stress, but you can control your reaction to it. Uncontrolled stress is at the heart of many ills, including impotence and other sex problems. But these herbs can help: catnip, chamomile, damiana, dong quai, ginseng, gotu kola, guarana, kava, and licorice.

Herbal Bath to Relieve Tension

Try this herbal combination: Place valerian and sweet flag in a cheesecloth bag and soak it in your bathwater.

Overcoming Addictions

Often we assume that addictive substances make our sex lives better -- that's even why we use them at times. But just the opposite is true. Alcohol, tobacco, and street drugs all impair sexual ability. Herbs can help you deal with overcoming these addictions, allowing you to enjoy sex more than before. Try the following: barley, cayenne, ginseng, lobelia, and spirulina.

Weight Loss

Extra weight can inhibit your sex life in many ways. It makes movement difficult. It contributes to health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart problems that impair sexual function. It makes you feel less attractive. And, the truth is, it may turn off your partner. Herbs can help you achieve weight loss. Take a look at these to see if they are appropriate for you: cayenne, cinnamon, lobelia, spirulina, and wild yam.

Setting the Mood

Most sex therapists insist that sex begins in your head -- in a way, it's an idea that overtakes you. Your body's physical reaction -- hormone surges, growing sensitivity of the genital areas, and all the rest -- follows. A key part of starting that sexual idea is setting the mood. And herbs can certainly help.

The herbs listed below can create the right climate for enjoyable sex, influencing your feelings and mood rather than necessarily changing your body chemistry (though some of these herbs may do that as well). Because what appeals to us and makes us "in the mood" is so individual, view these suggestions as possibilities to get you started.

AROMATHERAPY

Aromatherapy means using scent to evoke a response, such as greater concentration, relaxation, or even putting you in a sexy mood. You can find many oils of aromatic herbs in health food stores and home decorating stores. Or use dried flowers or potpourri placed in a dish.

One aroma scientifically proven to evoke feelings of sexuality is the odor of cinnamon buns baking in the oven! The list of herbs whose aromas can create desire for sex is endless and subjective -- experiment with scents that appeal to you and your partner.

These will get you started: basil, cardamom, cinnamon, jasmine, lavender, patchouli, sandalwood, and vanilla.

BATHS

One of the best ways to start a romantic encounter is by sharing an herbal bath. Place any combination of these herbs -- dried or fresh -- in a cheesecloth bag or tea infuser, letting the herbs soak in warm water along with you. Or try bath oils containing any of these herbs: aloe vera, basil, chamomile, cinnamon, comfrey, eucalyptus, hops, lavender, oats, parsley, and St. John's wort.

BODY PRODUCTS

Herbs can help make bodies more appealing by deodorizing them providing aroma, and offering smooth-textured skin. Many body products, such as soap, deodorants, lotions, shampoos, and body oils, have herbs added. Or you can experiment with making your own, from this list of herbs (check for them or their oils at health food stores or herb shops): almond, aloe vera, anise, basil, black and green teas, calendula, chamomile, eucalyptus, jojoba oil, lemon, mugwort, myrrh, oats, olive, pansy, papaya, parsley, sage, and tea tree oil.

BREATH FRESHENERS

Essential mood-setters are those delicious kisses that send shivers down the spine. One way to avoid a turn-off from halitosis is to freshen your breath with your own herbal mouth wash. Take several ounces of fresh or dried herbs from the following list, put them in a lidded jar, and fill the jar with vodka. Steep for a few days, then get ready to sip it and pucker up!

Herbal breath fresheners include anise, basil, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, coriander, dill, eucalyptus, fennel, ginger, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, sage, spearmint, and turmeric. For parsley, anise, fennel, and the like, eat the greenery or suck on a few seeds to freshen your breath; or try herbs in breath mints or chewing gum.

Sex Herb Combinations

Take a step into your local supermarket, discount store, drugstore, health food store, ethnic foods store, herb shop-even into your local convenience store -- or "surf" into one of the many online shopping areas of the Internet. You'll probably be astonished to see that herbs are available everywhere these days, and in every form imaginable! First look in their medicine area; you'll find boxes, bottles, and bags, all full of herbal products. Then look in the candy section; there you'll see herbs as ingredients in "sports bars" or "energy bars." Next, take a stroll to the beverage section; look for an array of colorful bottles bearing names like "SoBe," "Arizona Tea," or "Hansen's." You'll also notice a wall of boxes containing a range of herbal teas.

Given this wealth of herbal products, what exactly should you buy? You may have a clear idea of which herbs you wish to try. In that case, simply find the individual herbal products in the form you desire -- with guaranteed ingredients -- at the best price. But if selecting and using herbs to enhance your sex life seems overwhelming, you may want to take a look at the various herbal combinations now available. These blends of herbs come in a variety of forms: capsule or pill, extract, or even beverage or tea.

If you wish to try an herb blend, be sure to read the list of ingredients to make sure the product contains the herbs you wish, in quantities that are appropriate. You'll want to refer to the herbs described in this book, and possibly even consult a knowledgeable store employee or an herbalist or nutritionist about specific brands. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not allow herbal products to make direct claims about the uses or benefits of the product; however, some products have "sexy" names that imply their intended benefits. Other products have more ho-hum names but contain similar combinations of herbs.

Capsules, Pills, and Extracts

The products that contain the greatest amount of herbs are the ones found in capsule, pill, or extract form. These herbal blends are sold practically everywhere these days, and under many brand names. Large stores or nutritional supplement chain stores often sell their own "house" or "generic" brands. If you look at these products closely, though, you may find that in fact they are actually produced by the same well-known manufacturers as the name-brand products. Some products may not have the actual manufacturer listed, but instead may list a telephone number. By calling, you may be able to find out the actual manufacturer, or at least get more information about the product. Some stores that specialize in herbs and supplements often provide written information about the products.

There are literally hundreds of brands of herb blends available in capsule, pill, extract, juice, and essential oil form. Combination products are becoming increasingly more popular, and you'll find many similar herbs bundled together in these products. You can easily find yohimbe and damiana together, as well as blends of goldenseal and fo-ti.

Sex Herbs in Food Products

One of the latest trends is to consume herbs in the form of a nutrition bar or even in a drink. But be cautioned: Some of these products don't have enough herbs contained within them to do much good. Again, know the dosage you're looking for and read the label. In an herb shop or health food store, you'll probably find that the sales staff will know a lot about these products. Another consideration when choosing food products that contain sex herbs is their calorie level. Many of these products contain a substantial amount of calories and need to be dealt with by adjusting the rest of your calorie intake.

Nutrition Bars

Many nutrition bars are quite appealing in taste and are available in different flavors, such as chocolate, vanilla, and peanut butter. You'll probably even find an assortment on the shelf at the gym where you work out. One brand of nutrition bars contains numerous ingredients, including these sex herbs: guarana seed, ginkgo biloba, and panax ginseng. Again, no amounts of these herbs are listed, but hey, it only contains 4 grams of fat! Other brands may also add sex herbs to their energy or nutrition bars -- take the time to read labels to discover which bars might work for you.

Herbal Beverages

The herbal drinks are the latest rage. They are prettily packaged, often in very colorful, eye-catching bottles. These herbal drinks usually have names that suggest what effects they might have on the drinker. However, they usually contain only a little of the active herb, and do not have to list specific amounts of herbal ingredients.

Herbal drinks these days aren't just packaged in flashy single-use bottles, but are also available in many stores in larger containers -- and in more plainly packaged bottles or jugs. Herbal teas also offer an easy way to obtain your sex herbs.

Think of other, less-obvious places where you might find sex herbs as food ingredients, as well. For instance, cough drops often contain licorice. Candies often contain anise. Breath mints often contain peppermint. Again, amounts of these herbs contained in the products may be small, but it may be worth a few cents and a little extra effort to see if these food products work to help you improve your sex life.

The possibility for combinations of herbal products is almost endless -- and even mind-boggling at times. But by checking many sources, reading labels carefully, and talking with people knowledgeable about herbs, you are likely to find an herbal blend that can best meet your goal for enhancing your sex life.


herbs to improve your sex lifeThis article is excerpted with permission from the book:

Sex Herbs
by Beth Ann Petro Roybal and Gayle Skowronski.

Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Ulysses Press. ©1999.  www.ulyssespress.com

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About The Authors

Beth Ann Petro Roybal, M.A. and Gayle L. Skowronski have collaborated on many patient education projects over the years. Beth Roybal is an award-winning writer, editor, and instructional designer of books, brochures, videos, and computer-based programs dealing with health and safety topics. Gayle Skowronski has worked at a range of jobs within the health care industry. She has put her inside knowledge of this field to work in researching and writing materials for patient and public education.


 

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