At one time or another, almost every food you can think of was thought to be an aphrodisiac. But, few of them had any real effects on libido, and the very idea of aphrodisiacs is tenuous at best.
Despite this, a growing body of research has grown around some traditional ingredients thought to increase sex drive. The mechanisms of action aren’t always clear but there is some compelling evidence documenting their effects.
In this article, you’ll find some of the most promising natural ingredients that could help you regain your libido.
1. HORNY GOAT WEED
One of the most promoted natural ingredients for an increased libido is Horny Goat Weed. A staple of Chinese traditional medicine, Horny Goat Weed (genus Epimedium) has been used for centuries to boost sex drive, cure erectile dysfunction, and improve energy levels.
The research into the effects of Horny Goat Weed is growing but there are already some exciting findings.
Researchers theorized that icariin is the active ingredient in Horny Goat Weed doing most of the work. Icariin is classified as a phosphodiesterase inhibitor, which means it blocks the enzyme phosphodiesterase. Medications such as Viagra and Cialis have similar active ingredients.
Horny Goat Weed has also been studied in connection to other effects but it’s most known for the libido boost. It’s a primary component of many supplements designed to improve and stabilize sex drive.
From the other side of the world, the Peruvian maca root is another age-old remedy for a number of sexual ailments. Records exist of its use for medicinal purposes dating back thousands of years by the Incas.
Although the lion’s share of evidence is anecdotal, some peer-reviewed studies have linked maca to improved semen quality and increases in libido for both men and women.
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center stated that it might have a positive effect on sexual dysfunctions. However, they were careful to point out that sexuality has many psychological and social aspects so it’s difficult to make conclusive determinations.
Even overlooking its aphrodisiac effects, maca root is rich in magnesium, selenium, and calcium, and iron, all of which are important for overall health.
Guarana is a South American plant whose seeds are a powerful stimulant. There’s no controversy about its stimulant effects since the seeds contain more caffeine than coffee beans by weight.
However, its use as a libido booster isn’t entirely proven. Yet, studies do show that guarana is an effective cognitive enhancer and reduces mental fatigue. Given how important energy levels are in maintaining healthy libido levels, guarana’s anecdotal effects may be well-warranted.
Of all the ingredients on this list, yohimbe bark may be the one closest to having hard supporting evidence.
Yohimbine hydrochloride is a compound derived from the bark of the yohimbe tree. Yohimbine HCl has been used in prescription medication to treat impotence for almost 100 years.
As a drug, yohimbine is strictly regulated in the United States. However, the bark of the yohimbe tree is a dietary supplement and used in numerous libido-boosting products. Its supporters swear by its effects to help erectile dysfunction, improve libido, and reduce the libido-suppressing effects of some medications.
It’s important to note that yohimbe bark supplements vary in quality, and buying a high-quality, tested supplement is crucial.
5. TONGKAT ALI
Another ingredient with roots in Chinese medicine, tongkat ali was traditionally used as an anti-aging remedy.
Research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition supported some alleged effects of the herb. According to the study, tongkat ali administered in properly standardized doses is effective in stimulating the release of free testosterone as well as improving sex drive and reducing fatigue.
6. GINKGO BILOBA
Ginkgo biloba has a reputation for improving mental faculties and disputed claims of being the oldest tree known to man. Species ages aside, Ginkgo biloba does have some impressive effects when it comes to sexual performance.
Ginkgo biloba positively affects nitric oxide levels in the body. That’s the same effect that drugs like Viagra rely on to function. Nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels and helps improve blood flow, the extra blood flow supports erectile function and improves sensitivity to touch.
7. SAW PALMETTO
Highly widespread in parts of the United States, saw palmetto is a type of small palm.
Berries from saw palmetto are used to treat symptoms of an enlarged prostate. However, new research points to its effectiveness in reducing the rate that testosterone is broken down in the body.
Testosterone is a crucial sex hormone in both men and women and is strongly associated with healthy sexual function.
A NATURAL BOOST
If you resort to natural ingredients to relieve symptoms of low libido, it’s important to be discerning. A lot of supposed effects aren’t rooted in any rigorous testing, and therefore should be viewed with skepticism.
Always rely on evidence-based research and choose products that are independently verified. Otherwise, you might end up paying for something that hardly ever works as a placebo.