I don’t know the question, but sex is definitely the answer ~ Woody Allen
A healthy sex life has been shown in many studies to be a determinant of mental and physical health for many different reasons. Since disease states, fatigue and mood disorders can affect sexual desires and function, substances that promote optimal nutritional status like Zinc and Vitamin E have been studied for their role in overall sexual function with positive results for many populations. This indicates what we might have already guessed– that in general, the better we feel, the more satisfying our sexual experience.
Throughout history, humans have ingested a whole host of substances that were said to be aphrodisiacs, just about anything that resembles human ‘gender bits’. This includes various sea animals, elephant tusks, ginseng root and other plants that are phallic in appearance.
The medicines that have stood the test of time are most often adaptogens, herbs that balance the body’s stress response and hormones. Health issues aside, sexual function requires good circulation and of course the appropriate mood, or a relaxed state to sufficiently enjoy a sexual encounter. Some of the most well-known adaptogens used for this purpose include Maca, Ginseng and Gingko.
Perhaps the most legendary and researched for this purpose is Ginseng. Taken long-term, Ginseng has been used in ancient India as a remedy for impotence due to its stimulating and rejuvenating properties. Ginseng is more often a good fit for a male since its energy matches the vigor required for what is seen as ‘male potency’ or ‘virility’.
Gingko (Gingko biloba) is also one of the oldest and most documented sex tonic ingredients that dates back over 2,000 years. Its action is to modulate the effect of stress on the body as well as stimulate peripheral circulation. Likely safer of the three, this may be most appropriate where there are longstanding circulatory issues.
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is an Andean plant of the Brassica (broccoli) family. It has been studied in many different populations and a 2010 study has shown positive results for age-related erectile dysfunction and sexual dysfunction in menopausal women. Its effect is similar to ginseng by acting as a stimulant and is generally taken regularly to balance hormones and regulate sexual function long-term.
Hops (Humulus lupulus) is particularly interesting, since it is known to decrease sexual tension in men while increasing desire in women due to its effect on estrogen, a hormone which is most dominant in females. Since most of us know Hops as an ingredient used to add bitter qualities to beer, wine might be a better choice for those romantic moments.
The herbs above are used after other health issues have been corrected, Naturopathic Doctors assess the whole person to find restore balance to the system overall. When we experience harmony on the inside, we increase our capacity to connect with our partners sexually. The age-old quest for aphrodisiacs will likely continue as long as humans search for balance in their health and relationships. From basic nutrition to mood and stress balance, ask me how I can help you move towards balance in your life, for you and your relationships.
If you have any questions and would like to discuss an individualized health plan, please book an appointment and we’ll get you on track! First-time patients get a free, 15-minute consultation.