Natural aphrodisiacs

Natural aphrodisiacs

In the general article on aphrodisiacs we talked about these substances, emphasizing their “morality” and effectiveness. We have therefore come to the conclusion that, a bit like what happens with homeopathic remedies, aphrodisiac foods and preparations work above all when those who consume them are convinced of their effectiveness (placebo effect).

If all these factors of psychic origin are missing, many products with a presumed aphrodisiac effect inexorably lose their effectiveness. Ultimately, if we think about it, sexual desire is also profoundly linked to psychic, as well as physiological, factors.

In this article we will dedicate our attention to herbal preparations, while foods with aphrodisiac properties will be treated on a separate page.

There are numerous herbal remedies recommended for decreased sexual desire. Some of these are based on herbs and plants rich in substances with properties that have not yet been completely clarified, but which could actually have an important aphrodisiac action. Others derive from popular tradition, which has always been careful to study the stimulating virtues of plants and herbs.

Pausinystalia yohimbe is a tree that grows in the western regions of the African continent (Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo and Gabon). From the bark of this tree a powerful alkaloid called Yohimbine is obtained. This substance, widely used before the advent of Viagra (which cannot be considered an aphrodisiac), is used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

Yohimbine has the ability to release and dilate the vessels of the penis, increasing blood flow and, consequently, the consistency and duration of erection (inhibitory action on α-2 receptors which stimulate the contraction of vascular smooth muscles) . This substance is also known for its alleged slimming effects linked to the stimulation of the adrenergic system (increased secretion of catecholamines).

Due to its side effects, this drug is banned in some countries. This alkaloid can in fact cause severe migraines, insomnia and arterial hypertension.

Dosage: 5 to 6mg to be taken three times a day for eight weeks. When it comes to herbal preparations, the intake levels still depend on the product which can be more or less concentrated and purified.

Muira Pauma

Muira Pauma is a small tree that grows wild in Brazil along the banks of the Amazon River. Interesting alkaloids are obtained from the roots and stem, which can, in this case too, cure sexual dysfunctions in both men and women. In fact, these substances stimulate peripheral vasodilation thanks also to the increased production of nitric oxide.

Investigations into the possible effects of this plant have highlighted that, at high doses, Muira Puama extracts alter the coordination of movements due to the increase in acetylcholine in the muscle resulting from the massive inhibition of cholinesterase (enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter).

Ginkgo bilboa is a typical plant of Chinese folk medicine but also well known in Western countries.

Its aphrodisiac properties are linked to the content of terpenlactones and ginko-flavone glycosides. Both of these classes of substances with a not very reassuring name are actually very useful in regulating circulatory function. Their vasodilatory actions are used not only to increase sexual desire, but also for their adjuvant effect in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Ginkgo extracts should not be used in association with antiplatelet agents, such as heparin and aspirin, and products that increase gastric acidity, such as garlic and willow.

The roots of Maca, also known as Peruvian Ginseng, are used for their energetic, aphrodisiac and restorative properties. Being rich in vitamins and phytohormones, Maca extract would be able to naturally increase testosterone levels (from which the alleged aphrodisiac effect derives), sexual desire and the amount of sperm produced.

Also in this case there are several studies that testify to the aphrodisiac properties of Maca-based preparations. Alongside these there are others which, as often happens, promptly deny them by highlighting the absence of the presumed beneficial effects. According to these studies, Maca extracts are unable to keep their promises and do not appreciably increase sexual desires and hormone levels.


Damiana is a plant native to Mexico and the southern United States. Extracts of this plant have been widely used by Mexicans as a powerful aphrodisiac useful for both men and women.

Unfortunately, even in this case there is a lack of clear scientific evidence on the real properties of the plant. A study suggests that some substances present in Damiana could have effects similar to progesterone and could therefore contribute to the regulation of the menstrual cycle and increased libido in women.

L-Arginine is an amino acid that regulates numerous bodily functions. Among all these functions, arginine also intervenes in the synthesis of nitric oxide, a substance that induces vasodilation by decreasing blood pressure and increasing the blood supply to the tissues. This effect could somehow contribute to increasing sexual desire and performance by increasing the blood flow to the genitals.

Terrestrial tribe

Tribulus terrestris is an herb that has been used for many centuries in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. Various researches attribute to this plant strong aphrodisiac properties capable of increasing male and female fertility by compensating for any hormonal deficiencies. Obviously, even in this case, there are studies that demonstrate the exact opposite (see: tribulus terrestris)

At this point, three other plants remain to be examined (Tongkat Ali or Eurycoma longifolia; Fo-Ti or Polygonum multiflorum; epimedium or Epidmedium Sagittatum) but we prefer to stop here and conclude with a brief reflection.

At the end of this article, even the most distracted reader has probably understood that the effectiveness of natural aphrodisiacs derives mostly from local traditions and from a few isolated studies, often devoid of any scientific basis (not to mention the possible side effects and interactions with other drugs or pathologies).

If the lack of desire is significant, it is advisable to contact a specialist doctor who will try to solve the problem by collaborating with other important figures, such as the psychologist and the herbalist himself.

Finally, we underline the importance of physical activity and a healthy diet. The pleasure of moving and being with others, associated with the aesthetic and functional improvement of one's body, is in fact able to give confidence and self-esteem while also improving sexual desire and performance.


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