A 2008 Massachusetts General Hospital study of more than 30,000 women found that 39 percent suffered from low sexual desire. I think that number may be even higher based on what my clients tell me about their own lives. How many women out there have lost their groove? Busy lives with marriage, work, kids, keeping a home, and other social and family obligations have run us ragged as women. We have lost our mojo!
Our level of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a hormone the body uses to produce the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone is connected to our libido. DHEA production drops dramatically between age 30 and the onset of menopause. Midlife isn’t the only sex drive-squelching issue. Stress and fatigue, unresolved conflict, and underlying health issues, as well as prescription drugs including antidepressants, can also diminish desire. Obviously you can’t turn back the hands of time, and the best long-term solution is to address any underlying issues. In the meantime, certain herbal aphrodisiacs (yes, they do exist!) and sex-supercharging supplements can help. So what can you take to find your frisky again? Here’s a look at some key ingredients and how they work.
Catuaba This Amazonian aphrodisiac, which also goes by the name erythroxylum catuaba, comes from a tree native to Brazil, where tribes traditionally use it to remedy a lagging libido, impotence and nervousness (a well-known mojo-killer). The plant’s active compounds, catuabine A and B, appear to act on the sex centers in the brain, says Chris Kilham, an ethnobotanist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and author of Tales from the Medicine Trail (Rodale), so you may experience erotic dreams when taking catuaba. Recommended Rx: 100 milligrams daily
L-arginine This amino acid helps with nitric oxide production, which increases blood flow throughout your body and to your clitoris, says Mark Blumenthal of the American Botanical Council in Austin, Texas. According to research published in The Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 70 percent of women with low libidos reported that they were more satisfied with sex after taking ArginMax, which contains L-arginine as well as damiana leaf (see below), ginseng and ginkgo, for one month. The women in the study also saw an increase in their desire, lubrication, clitoral sensation and orgasms. Recommended Rx: 2,500 milligrams daily.
Damiana leaf Because it reduces anxiety and inhibitions, this nervous system tonic, also known as Turnera diffusa, helps you become more relaxed and amenable to arousal, says herbalist Roy Upton, R.H., executive director of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia in Scotts Valley, Calif. Damiana leaf’s aphrodisiac abilities are also linked to one of its compounds, progestin, which is similar to the female sex hormone progesterone that drops, and dampens libido, as we head toward menopause. Recommended Rx: 1 gram daily.
Maca Ancient Incans consumed this energizing Peruvian plant before battle or a bout of sex, says Kilham. Maca increases sexual appetite, stamina, endurance and even fertility. One 2008 study conducted at the Depression Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston found that maca helped people with antidepressantinduced sexual dysfunction to regain their libidos. Recommended Rx: 400 milligrams daily.
Muira puama A 2000 study conducted at the Institute of Sexology in Paris (big surprise there) found that muira puama (also known by the names Marapuama or Ptychopetalum olacoides) and ginkgo biloba, another stimulating sex herb, increased desire, intercourse regularity, sexual fantasies, ability to reach orgasm, intensity of orgasm and, therefore, satisfaction with their sex lives in women who had been experiencing low libido. Other studies show that this happy-making (and potentially baby-making!) herb from a tree native to the Brazilian Amazon also counteracts chronic stress, depression and nervous exhaustion. Recommended Rx: 800 milligrams daily
Horny goat weed Traditional Chinese medicine views low libido as a deficiency of kidney yang qi, or energy, so Upton advises taking the aptly named horny goat weed (aka epimedium) to boost kidney function and your sexual vitality. Recommended Rx: 250 to 500 milligrams daily.
Yohimbe bark extract This African tree bark extract sends blood flow to the genitals and stimulates the sensitive tissue of the clitoris, says Williams, Ore.-based herbalist Ed Smith, a founding member of the American Herbalist Guild. He warns, however, that yohimbe can cause nervousness and sleeplessness, raise already existing high blood pressure (so avoid taking it if you have heart or kidney disease), and can also negatively interact with antidepressants. Recommended Rx: 200 milligrams of a standardized extract containing 4 percent yohimbines (the plant’s active ingredient) for no longer than six weeks.
If you are looking for an all-in-one solution I have a recommendation that I give to my clients looking to find their “inner sex kitten” again. Before I let you in on the secret, let me tell you, I have used this supplement when I lost my “va va va voom” and it works FAST! Within a few days I was initiating (even in the morning!) and it boosted my self confidence throughout the day.
Hot Rawks Libido Enhancer For Women (they have one for men too!) works by combining raw maca root, catuaba bark, korean ginseng , raw cacoa (boosts magnesium levels which reduces stress) , horny goat weed (need I say more?) and other herbal powerhouses to create an organic supplement that just plain works. It’s the first and only raw, organic supplement on the market and it works! Plus, there is a 30 day money back guarantee if you aren’t “finding that loving feeling”.