Two pairs of feet sticking out from the end of the bed to represent sex drive and libido

Herbal help to boost your libido this Valentine’s Day

We are coming up to (supposedly) the most romantic day of the year when the whole world is expected to spoil, treat, pamper and show their love for that special person in their life. But what if you’re just not in the mood? Stress and tiredness are often responsible for damping down libido.

Medical herbalist Gabriella Clarke suggests some herbs that may help increase your energy and reignite that passion.


This adaptogen is an effective remedy for treating stress, depression and insomnia. Recent research carried out by Dr Edwards and published in the Journal of sexual medicine and the Journal of Phytotherapy Research showed that rhodiola improved libido in both men and women especially when stress appeared to be the cause.


Plenty of anecdotal evidence suggests that Korean ginseng increases libido and improves sexual satisfaction. However, although it has a long tradition of use as an aphrodisiac, research is somewhat inconclusive. One trial did show that it may increase libido in premenopausal women. In men, Korean ginseng appears to improve libido and may even increase fertility.[i]


As its name suggests, horny goat weed is used to increase libido. It is also said to improve testosterone levels in men and oestrogen levels in woman[ii]. The main active constituent is a flavonoid known as icariin. It is recommended in erectile dysfunction because it helps to increase blood flow by relaxing the smooth muscles of the arteries and allowing more blood to reach the reproductive organs. However women with a history of oestrogen-dominant cancers should not use horny goat weed.


This malty tasting Peruvian powdered root is becoming a popular ingredient in super smoothies and other health drinks. It was used traditionally as an aphrodisiac and there is some evidence to support this. An Italian study [iii]demonstrated that maca helped men with erectile dysfunction while an Australian study showed that it helped to increase sexual desire in post-menopausal women[iv].

Another study carried out in the UK on a group of cyclists, found that not only did maca improve libido but the cyclists were found to be clocking in faster times on the course after consuming maca.[v]


[i] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4700177/


[ii] https://draxe.com/horny-goat-weed/

[iii] Zenico, T. et al. “Subjective Effects of Lepidium Meyenii Extract on Well-Being and Sexual Performance in Patients with Mild Erectile Dysfunction: A Randomized, Double-Blind Clinical Trial,” Andrologia (2009) 41:95.

[iv] Dording, C.M. et al. “A Double-Blind, Randomized, Pilot Dose-Finding Study of Maca Root (L. Meyenii) for Management of SSRI-Induced Sexual Dysfunction,” CNS Neuroscienceand Therapy (2008) 14:182.

[v] Stone, M. et al. “A Pilot Investigation into the Effect of Maca Supplementation on Physical Activity and Sexual Desire in Sportsmen,” Journal of Ethnopharmacology (2009) 126:574.