What causes low libido?

Sexual health possesses a profound impact on the quality of life. Erectile dysfunction is a common sexual problem. It is defined as the inability of the man to achieve and maintain an erection sufficient for mutually satisfactory intercourse with his partner. Around 10- 52% of men and 25-63% of women suffer from sexual dysfunction related to medical issues. Agents that enhance the sexual function and treat erectile dysfunction in males are referred to as aphrodisiacs. [1] About 25% of women of reproductive age and 50% of postmenopausal women suffer from diminished libido. So if you thought you were alone in that, you aren't. Additionally, it is normal for sex drive to wane with time.

How can you increase sex drive?

Your sexual drive is a pretty good Indication of your overall health. That is because your libido is a direct reflection of your overall hormonal balance and hormones are the master regulators of virtually every system, organ and procedure in your body, such as your emotions, mood, and consciousness itself. And this goes far beyond just raising or lowering your testosterone and estrogen levels. There are almost a hundred known hormones as of this writing, each one playing a crucial part in your health and wellness. But despite being a massively intricate and complex biological system, your libido levels are a simple way to enhance your body's overall health and functioning.

If your sex drive is strong and responsive, you are probably in pretty good shape hormonally. But if it is not quite where it should be and you're having symptoms such as low libido or desire, then it might be time to explore a few libido boosting herbs and herbs. These achieve their effect by rejuvenating, balancing and regulating the endocrine system, that's the master control of your circulating hormones.


Herbs to increase libido in men & women

Many factors may impact sex drive, like your relationship, stress level, dietary intake, or health. But if you do not have some of these problems, how come you aren't in the mood? Perhaps it's the hormones that affect sex drive.

Though we have not precisely identified which hormones dictate sex drive, we do understand that hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen, are abundant when we're younger, and decrease as we age.  Since we all know our bodies are producing less estrogen and testosterone, a crucial determinant of the production of the hormones is cortisol, the stress hormone.

A wide range of synthetic pharmaceutical aphrodisiacs is available in the market. However, the side effects associated with these products can be quite significant. Natural ways to increase female libido and enhance male erection time are studied from time to time. A list of ten natural libido boosters is given below:

1.    Crocus Sativus: This herb is commonly known as saffron. It is a perennial herb having aphrodisiac properties. Crocin and safranal are the two active constituents. Studies on animal models show a reduction in ejaculation latency, an increase in erection frequency, and improved sperm motility.[2]

2.    Korean Red Ginseng: It is a potential women libido enhancer having estrogenic properties. Estrogen improves the sexual desire by increasing the blood flow to the vagina and by destroying the free radicals. Dried ginseng powder can be used as an aphrodisiac agent by adding it to tea and coffee. [3]

3.    Nutmeg and Clove: Common kitchen spices nutmeg and clove are potent aphrodisiac agents. 50% ethanolic extract of clove and nutmeg has been used as an aphrodisiac in Unani medicine formulations for ages. This extract enhances the mounting behavior and mating performance in males. No short term side effects were reported during the experimental studies. [4]

4.    Ashwagandha: Roots of this shrub have been used in India since ages as a sexual tonic. It is a perfect woman's libido supplement and a booster sex tonic for men. Consuming 300mg ashwagandha daily enhances lubrication, orgasm, and pleasure in women. It also increases the chances of conception by improving the quality of semen in men. [5]

5.    Fennel and Anise: Extract from fennel and anise are natural libido boosters. They exhibit estrogenic properties and stimulate arousal in females. Anethole is the principal constituent of both the ingredients. However, the active ingredients are the polymers of anethole, dianethole, and photo anethole. Extract from fennel and anise also acts as a powerful natural galactagogue. This action was identified by the farmyard men while feeding their cattle on leaves of fennel and anethole. This substantially enhanced the milking of the cattle. Similar results are observed in humans. Preparing synthetic estrogen from the extract of fennel and anise is quite simple and requires a fundamental technology. Hence, this is a prevalent remedy to enhance libido in women, Worldwide.[6]

6.    Yohimbine: The US FDA has approved this native plant from West Africa for treating impotence in males. Also, it is the only herbal drug to be listed in the Physician Index Reference For The Sexual Function. It is even referred to as the herbal viagra. Yohimbine acts by enhancing the blood flow to the penis and thereby prolonging erection time. The stimulatory action of yohimbine increases arousal, sensation, and stamina. Thus, it is powerful, and for the treatment of sexual dysfunction. [7]

7.    Chlorophytum borivilianum: popularly known as Safed Musli, borivilianum is used to cure impotence and enhance sexual performance in males. It has been used as a sex tonic in Ayurvedic, Unani, Homeopathic and Allopathic systems of medicine. The spermatogenic property of musli helps in curing impotence. Roots of this plant contain the active ingredients, and hence, they are used in medicinal preparations. [8]

8.    Ginkgo Biloba: This herb potentiates arousal and helps in sexual dysfunctioning via more than one pathway. It enhances the oxygenation of the tissues, protects blood vessels from the damage via free radicals, restore the elasticity of the blood vessels, and improves the blood flow. Thus, Ginkgo is a great sexual stimulant for both men and women. A research was conducted to study the impact of Gingko on impotent men. Studies reveal that consuming 60mg of Ginkgo for six months can potentially cure erectile dysfunction in men. It directly enhances the blood flow to the penis by stimulating the release of nitric oxide. This further helps in achieving and maintaining an erection for a prolonged period. Gingko is one of the main components of most of the aphrodisiacs circulating in the market. [9]

9.    Muira Puama: Ptychopetalum olacoides, popularly known as the Muira Puama is a Brazilian shrub. It has been used as an aphrodisiac for ages to promote virility and treat impotence in males. The potential of Muira Puama to enhance the libido and treating erectile dysfunctioning was proven by six human studies conducted at the Institute of Sexology in Paris. As per the participants of the study, Muira Puama had a "dynamic effect" on them. Muir puama, offers additional benefits as well. It reduces fatigue, enhances sleep, and increases morning erections as well. Out of all the participants, Muir puama was 100℅ of the cases effective in treating Asthenia, 85% of patients reported improvement in libido, and 90℅ of the facts show they improved for coital erection. [9]

10.  Tribulus: Tribulus Terrestris is one of the herbs widely studied for its aphrodisiac properties. It works as a women's libido booster and improves sexual performance in males. Consumption of Tribulus increases the level of Luteinizing hormone by 72% and that if free testosterone by 41%. This herb is very effective in increasing sexual desire and prolonging an erection for better coitus. Protodioscin is the active compound present in Tribulus. In the human body, Protodioscine converts to DHEA, which brings about the aphrodisiac effects. These effects include relaxing of corpus cavernosum tissues, which causes the erection. [9]


The ten herbs listed above are natural libido boosters. The main benefits of using natural ways to increase libido are better efficacy with minimal side effects. They are very easily available in the marketplaces and can be used for enhanced pleasure with sex.


1. Sumalatha, * K, Kumar, A. S., & Lakshmi, S. M. (2010). IJPT REVIEW ON NATURAL APHRODISIAC POTENTIALS TO TREAT SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION. International Journal of Pharmacy & Therapeutics (Vol. 1). Retrieved from www.ijptjournal.com

2. Hosseinzadeh, H., Ziaee, T., & Sadeghi, A. (2008). The effect of saffron, Crocus sativus stigma, extract and its constituents, safranal and crocin on sexual behaviors in normal male rats. Phytomedicine, 15(6–7), 491–495. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phymed.2007.09.020

3. Shin, B. C., Lee, M. S., Yang, E. J., Lim, H. S., & Ernst, E. (2010). Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: A systematic review. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 10. https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-10-44

4. Tajuddin, Ahmad, S., Latif, A., & Qasmi, I. A. (2003). Aphrodisiac activity of 50% ethanolic extracts of Myristica fragrans Houtt. (nutmeg) and Syzygium aromaticum (L) Merr. & Perry. (clove) in male mice: a comparative study. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 3(1), 6. https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-3-6

5. Choudhary, D., Bhattacharyya, S., & Bose, S. (2017). Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 14(6), 599–612. https://doi.org/10.1080/19390211.2017.1284970

6. Albert-Puleo, M. (1980). Fennel and anise as estrogenic agents. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2(4), 337–344. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-8741(80)81015-4

7. Kotta, S., Ansari, S., & Ali, J. (2013, January). Exploring scientifically proven herbal aphrodisiacs. Pharmacognosy Reviews. https://doi.org/10.4103/0973-7847.112832

8. Thakur, G., Bag, M., Sanodiya, B., Debnath, M., Zacharia, A., Bhadauriya, P., … Bisen, P. (2009). Chlorophytum borivilianum: A White Gold for Biopharmaceuticals and Neutraceuticals. Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, 10(7), 650–666. https://doi.org/10.2174/138920109789542084

9. Arginine and Select Phytonutrients Enhance Libido | Nutrition Review. (n.d.). Retrieved November 26, 2019, from https://nutritionreview.org/2013/04/arginine-select-phytonutrients-enhance-libido/

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