It is a commonly held belief that women reach their sexual peak later in life than men. This may indeed be true, but a recent study published in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility has found that women generally experience a reduction in their sexual responsiveness as they age. While some of this gradually declining sexual enjoyment may be due to the effects of menopause, this most recent research suggests that it is also a product of the ageing process. Dwindling sexuality does not seem to be confined to women either. The runaway success of the drug Viagra clearly shows that many men have issues here too. Despite Viagra’s popularity, however, a recent study found that little more than half of men who try Viagra are using it three years later. Also, a significant proportion of these found it necessary to use a substantially increased dose to get the same effect. The suggestion here is that Viagra may simply lose its effectiveness over time. Fortunately, natural medicine offers us a number of natural approaches for boosting libido and enhancing sexual pleasure. Here, we take a look at some little-known natural sexual tonics for men and women.
Sexual function and responsiveness and very dependent on the supply of blood to the genital organs. In particular, enhanced blood flow to penis can do much to improve a man’s ability to attain and maintain an erection. In this respect, the herb Ginkgo biloba has much to offer. Renowned as a circulation enhancer, Ginkgo biloba was found in one study to benefit 78 per cent of men with impotence. The dose used in this study was 80 mg of Ginkgo biloba extract, three times a day. The beneficial effects of Ginkgo biloba may take three or more months to become apparent, though it does appear to be a safe, natural alternative to Viagra for men. Ginkgo biloba may have significant benefits for women too. There is growing awareness that improved blood supply to the female sexual organs can do much to enhance sexual sensation. While this has not been studied specifically, I have seen several patients who have experienced a subjective enhancement in sexual pleasure on taking Ginkgo biloba in the long term.
Another herb which may help improve sexual function in both men and women is Damiana. Damiana only grows wild in Central America and Mexico, as was the favourite aphrodisiac of the ancient Mayan people. While the precise effect of Damiana on the body is not known for sure, its botanical name – Turnera aphrodisiaca – hints strongly at the libido-enhancing effects of this herb. Damiana seems to exert its libido-enhancing effects quite quickly after ingestion, making it an ideal for use on an ‘as required’ basis. For rapid absorption into the body, Damiana is probably best taken in tincture (alcoholic extract) form. 5 mls (1 tsp) should be taken ½ – 1 hour before sex.
Another usual sexual stimulant is the herb Panax ginseng. This herb has been used as a tonic for than 2000 years in Eastern medicine. While Panax ginseng has proven energy enhancing effects, there is also evidence that it can improve sexual vitality too. Many women who take Panax ginseng find that it can improve their libido. In men, one study found that taking Panax ginseng brought about a 60 p.c. improvement in the symptoms of impotence, whilst at the same time enhancing sexual appetite. 100 ” 200 mg of standardised extract (containing 5 – 7 p.c. ginsenosides) should be taken every day. Panax ginseng is usually taken for periods of 2 ” 3 weeks, interspersed with break periods of 1 ” 2 weeks.
Catuaba is a species of evergreen tree which grows exclusively in the Amazon rainforest. The inner bark of this tree has been hailed as a potent aphrodisiac by the Brazilian people for hundreds of years. When the Brazilian government researched over one hundred plants used to treat sexual problems, only three were singled out for further research. Catuaba was one of them. One of Brazil’s best kept secrets, Catuaba has recently become available in this country. This herb is a good choice for the man for whom stress is not a particular issue, but who is experiencing problems with low libido nonetheless.
Recommended Dose: 1,000 mg, twice a day.
In Asia, the herb Angelica is considered to be the female ginseng. It is well known to have general tonic action in the female body, and is thought to improve gynaecological function in women of all ages. Historically, Angelica has really been the aphrodisiac of choice for women in the East. Because Angelica is loaded full of plant hormones, it makes a particularly good sexual stimulant for women before, during and after the time of menopause.
Recommended dose: 5ml of tincture, three times a day.