Sexual well-being

Aphrodisiac plants and their mechanism of operation

Since the world is world

The use of plants or herbal products to stimulate sexual desire and to enhance performance and pleasure is almost as old as the human race itself. Various herbs have been used by people from different cultures to treat the conditions of male infertility or for the treatment of reproductive disorders. They have also been advocated to improve sexual desire as well as sexual performance, erectile dysfunction, vasodilation, increased testosterone level and monoamines (neurotransmitters) of the brain and so on, are all suggested medicinal benefits of these herbs [1].

Skeptical about using them?

In the absence of clinical efficacy and safety data on many of these herbs, people are skeptical about using them. On the other hand, several plants have been the subject of clinical trials and have shown that they have a real effect on the physical sexual mechanism of men and women and on libido in general. For example, butea tubers (Butea superba Roxb) that have long been consumed as a traditional medicine for the promotion of male sexual vigor has successfully passed clinical trials. It is the same with Ashwagandha root extract known as Indian ginseng commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine which was administered to oligospermic patients and resulted in a significant improvement in spermatogenic activity and serum hormone levels compared to treated placebo [2]. Maca improved fertility in both men and women [3, 4]. Maca does not activate androgen receptors and can actually block androgen receptors [5, 6]. Finally, the list is long (see section plant and aphrosidiacs).


[1] : N. S. Chauhan, D. K. Saraf, and V. K. Dixit, « Effect of vajikaran rasayana herbs on pituitary-gonadal axis, » European Journal of Integrative Medicine, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 89–91, 2010. View at Publisher · View at Google Scholar · View at Scopus

[2]: V. R. Ambiye, D. Langade, S. Dongre, P. Aptikar, M. Kulkarni, and A. Dongre, « Clinical evaluation of the spermatogenic activity of the root extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in oligospermic males: a pilot study, » Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2013, Article ID 571420, 6 pages, 2013.

(3): G. F. Gonzalez, A. Córdova, K. Vega, A. Chung, A. Villena, and C. Góñez, « Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a root with aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing propeties, on serum reproductive hormone levels in adult healthy men, » Journal of Endocrinology, vol. 176, no. 1, pp. 163–168, 2003.

(4): G. F. Gonzales, A. Córdova, K. Vega et al., « Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men, » Andrologia, vol. 34, no. 6, pp. 367–372, 2002.

(5): G. F. Gonzales, S. Miranda, J. Nieto et al., « Red maca (Lepidium meyenii) reduced prostate size in rats., » eproductive Biology and Endocrinology, vol. 3, article 5, 2005.

(6): F. Chung, J. Rubio, C. Gonzales, M. Gasco, and G. F. Gonzales, « Dose-response effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) aqueous extract on testicular function and weight of different organs in adult rats, » Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 98, no. 1-2, pp. 143–147, 2005.

(7) G. Singh and T. Mukherjee, « Herbal aphrodisiacs: a review, » Indian Drugs, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 175–182, 1998.

(8) The Ayurvedic Pharmacoepia of India, Part 1–4, Government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Indian System of Medicine & Homeopathy, New Delhi, India, 1999.

(9): A. J. Afolayan and M. T. Yakubu, « Erectile dysfunction management options in Nigeria, » Journal of Sexual Medicine, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 1090–1102, 2009.

(10): W. Low and H. Tan, « Asian traditional medicine for erectile dysfunction, » The Journal of Men’s Health and Gender, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 245–250, 2007.

(11): H. S. Puri, Rasayana: Ayurvedic Herbs for Longevity and Rejuvenation, CRC Press, New Delhi, India, 2002.

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