Maybe you haven’t felt the urge in a while. Perhaps it just hasn’t felt as good as it used to. It could be stress, or it could be something more. When it comes to boosting your sex drive, the topic may seem a bit taboo to discuss. Regardless, a healthy sex life is important for reducing stress, building a healthy relationship with your partner, and improving overall wellbeing. Diet and exercise offer the best solutions for stimulating sexual desire; yet, a number of herbal tools may also provide support. When you need a little boost, turn to these 10 herbs for help.
1. Ashwaganda Root
The Kama Sutra identifies ashwagandha as a potent igniter of passion and desire. While that benefit may get your immediate attention, its popularity with women has more to do with the way it stimulates libido and increases satisfaction. The herb can increase blood flow to the clitoris and other female sexual organs, creating an intense sexual experience.
2. Maca root
This has been the go-to herb for women living in the Andes for centuries. Maca’s high iodine content supports a woman’s hormone balance and its high zinc levels, an essential mineral for sex hormones, does more than fan the flames of desire. Women who took maca root in one study reported improved sexual experiences and satisfaction. 
3. Muira Puama
Women who use muira puama report a surge in libido, desire, sexual enjoyment and intensified orgasms.  Its positive effect on both pre- and post-menopausal sexual experience supports its overall benefits for female sexual and reproductive health. It probably comes as no surprise this herb is often called “potency wood.”
4. Dark Chocolate
This one doesn’t make the list by accident. Although not technically an herb, dark chocolate containing 70% cocoa may help increase dopamine levels in the brain. A rise in the brain’s “pleasure chemical” dopamine lifts the mood, relaxes, and improves the body’s response to stimulation.
5. Avena sativa
Generations of women stand by oats (Avena sativa) for its aphrodisiac and libido-stimulating qualities. Tradition holds it increases vaginal stimulation and advances the physical and emotional desires for sex. Scientists trying to understand how it works believe it frees bound testosterone, providing the body with the hormones needed for sexual stimulation.
The Tupi tribe of Brazil praises catuaba for its potent aphrodisiac qualities. Its active compound yohimbine energizes and stimulates libido and desire. Research has determined it increases dopamine levels in the brain, resulting in greater sensitivity to erogenous stimulation. Regular use is known to create erotic dreams and heighten sexual satisfaction and orgasm intensity. 
Turnera diffusa, better known as damiana, grows natively in the American Southwest, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. Many consider its leaf a highly-prized libido enhancer. Flavonoids, phenolics, glycosides, terpenoids, and even caffeine all contribute to reduced feelings of stress and increased blood flow, particularly to the pelvic area where increased sensitivity leads to heightened stimulation. 
8. Suma root
Sometimes called Brazilian Ginseng, this herb is extremely popular with the native population in South America for the way it aids female hormonal balance and excites libido. Science has confirmed suma root increases levels of estradiol-17beta, the primary estrogen hormone during a woman’s reproductive years.  Women who use this herb report more intense sexual experiences and greater satisfaction.
9. Tribulus terrestris
Studies of women who use this herb report greater desire, increased arousal, lubrication, more intense orgasms, and satisfaction.  Tribulus stimulates androgen receptors in the brain making the body much more responsive to testosterone and other sex hormones. It also helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
10. Tongkat Ali
Called the greatest natural aphrodisiac by Dr. Oz, Tongkat ali extract has been used by women to arouse desire and increase erogenous sensitivity. It’s traditionally given to women suffering from low libido, as it also supports positive responses to stress and stimulates memory and overall brain function. By normalizing hormone levels with a gentle increase of testosterone, women also experience increased metabolism and an easier time losing and maintaining weight. 
What Are You Waiting For?
Don’t let stress drive away desire, and certainly don’t believe the desire for sex should fade with age. Maintaining balanced hormone levels promotes overall health, not to mention a healthy libido. So if the flames of passion seem more like cinders these days, it may be time to consider additional tools for kindling your inner fire.
Have you tried one or more of these herbs for your sex drive? Share your experiences below! Let’s keep it G-rated, ladies!
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
- Dording CM1, Fisher L, Papakostas G, Farabaugh A, Sonawalla S, Fava M, Mischoulon D. A double-blind, randomized, pilot dose-finding study of maca root (L. meyenii) for the management of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. CNS Neurosci Ther. 2008 Fall;14(3):182-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-5949.2008.00052.x.
- Waynberg J1, Brewer S. Effects of Herbal vX on libido and sexual activity in premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Adv Ther. 2000 Sep-Oct;17(5):255-62.
- Oliveira CH1, Moraes ME, Moraes MO, Bezerra FA, Abib E, De Nucci G. Clinical toxicology study of an herbal medicinal extract of Paullinia cupana, Trichilia catigua, Ptychopetalum olacoides and Zingiber officinale (Catuama) in healthy volunteers.Phytother Res. 2005 Jan;19(1):54-7.
- Szewczyk K1, Zidorn C2. Ethnobotany, phytochemistry, and bioactivity of the genus Turnera (Passifloraceae) with a focus on damiana–Turnera diffusa. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Mar 28;152(3):424-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2014.01.019.
- Oshima M1, Gu Y. Pfaffia paniculata-induced changes in plasma estradiol-17beta, progesterone and testosterone levels in mice. J Reprod Dev. 2003 Apr;49(2):175-80.
- Akhtari E, Raisi F, Keshavarz M, Hosseini H, Sohrabvand F, Bioos S, Kamalinejad M, Ghobadi A. Tribulus terrestris for treatment of sexual dysfunction in women: randomized double-blind placebo – controlled study. Daru. 2014 Apr 28;22(1):40.
- Henkel RR1, Wang R, Bassett SH, Chen T, Liu N, Zhu Y, Tambi MI. Tongkat Ali as a potential herbal supplement for physically active male and female seniors–a pilot study.Phytother Res. 2014 Apr;28(4):544-50. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5017.
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