Several different herbs have been used in traditional medicine to boost libido and treat sexual problems. Whether you have erectile dysfunction or just a low sex drive, certain herbal remedies may help. Be sure to discuss any herbs that you’re taking with your doctor so you understand the potential side effects and dangerous interactions with certain medical conditions or medications.
Horny Goat Weed
Taking the herb horny goat weed may help to improve your sexual function, especially if you’re a woman, says the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. As its name implies, horny goat weed is primarily used in traditional Asian medicine for treating sexual problems, notes the University of Michigan Health System. The herb contains flavonoids that have demonstrated an ability to suppress estrogen in test tube studies. These hormonal effects may lend credence to horny goat weed’s use in treating sexual problems and boosting sex drive, the University of Michigan notes. A Chinese study published in 1995 found that taking horny goat weed helped to increase sex drive in people with kidney failure who were undergoing dialysis, compared with the placebo group.
Yohimbe is a common herbal treatment for erectile dysfunction, or ED, in men and it contains hydrochloride, a chemical used in prescription ED drugs. Yohimbe may provide benefits for both men and women with low sex drive, however. In both men and women, yohimbe may help to increase arousal, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. For women, yohimbe is typically combined with the amino acid arginine. A double-blind study of 23 women with female sexual arousal disorder found that taking yohimbe with argininine increased physical sexual arousal compared with placebo, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In a smaller study of only nine people with sexual dysfunction caused by taking the antidepressant drug Prozac, researchers found that taking yohimbe improved sex drive and function in eight of the participants.
Ginkgo, Ginseng & Damiana
Taking the herbs ginkgo, damiana and Asian ginseng individually may help to improve your sex drive, but taking them together may increase the effects. A four-week-long, double-blind clinical trial of 77 women with sexual dysfunction found that taking these three herbs along with arginine and a multivitamin-mineral supplement helped to substantially improve sexual satisfaction compared with placebo. The women who took the herbal combination experienced increased sex drive, among other positive sexual benefits, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Asian ginseng, ginkgo and damiana have all been used alone as individual herbal remedies for treating ED in men, says the University of Michigan Health System.
Maca may help to increase your sex drive and fertility in men, says the University of Michigan Health System. Maca doesn’t appear to affect sex hormones in the body, but it does help to increase sperm counts and motility. In women, maca may help to boost libido and treat sexual dysfunction as well, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.