Herbfacts

Herb Health: Libido Lifters

Not feeling the love? There are plenty of reasons for losing your sex drive and thankfully lots of ways herbs can help.

Editor Jane Garton shares some herbs that may help give your love life a boost.

Stress, overwork or just the day-to-day monotony of a relationship are well known passion killers. If this sounds familiar and your libido is at an all time low it might be time to try a herbal boost.

Identifying where the problem lies is the first step to a better love life.  It will also help you to identify the herb which will benefit you the most. Have a read through the following common problems and figure out the best remedy for you.

FEELING BLUE?

Feeling down is guaranteed to put you off sex.  St John’s wort is one herb that can help to lift a low mood, even in cases of moderate depression.  It is also good for anxiety and has been shown to help re-establish good sleep patterns. At least one trial using St John’s wort in pre- and post-menopausal women found that those taking a standardised extract of the herb felt sexier and more confident because they were happier in themselves.  They were more inclined to initiate sex with their partners, and to become more adventurous under the duvet as a result.

STRESSED OUT?

A great stress-buster is Panax ginseng.  It is thought to support the adrenal glands, which are responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ hormones that go into overdrive when stress becomes an on-going reaction to everyday tensions and worry.  Ginseng can give your energy a boost too, helping you to cope better with life’s ups and downs, as well as giving you more staying power at times when you might otherwise tire more easily!

TIRED AND ANXIOUS?

Taking a low, day-time dose of valerian – either with soothing lemon balm or St John’s wort – can be useful if you find yourself worrying needlessly, or getting things out of proportion.  How can you enjoy yourself if you can’t relax?

ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION?

Ginkgo biloba improves blood flow to the extremities.  It increases the amount of blood and energy-giving oxygen reaching the fingertips and toes, as well as the genital areas of both men and women.  It can help a man achieve and sustain an erection, particularly if this is difficult because arteries and blood vessels in the penis have narrowed.

HORMONAL?

Hormonal ups and downs can send your libido plummeting.  If you are suffering from PMT, agnus castus can help to put things on a more even keel and stabilise hormone levels. Meanwhile, if you are menopausal, black cohosh can help balance hormone levels as well as reducing hot flushes and relieving vaginal dryness, making sex more pleasurable.

Contrarily, agnus castus was known by medieval monks as ‘chasteberry’ because they thought it would help them suppress feelings of sexual desire; in women, however, it is now known to increase production of progesterone and to improve fertility.

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