An adaptogen refers to a substance that helps your body adapt to the challenges of life. They mainly consist of herbs that interact with your cells to aid them to cope with short and long-term stress.
Adaptogens can improve your health in a variety of ways, including optimising mental performance, reducing fatigue threshold, and promoting libido.
When a food or drug helps with sexual activity, we refer to it as an aphrodisiac. Unfortunately, many libido-boosting products have no clinically relevant effect on sexual activity.
In this article, we will cover 7 adaptogens that can improve your sexual life and discuss the scientific evidence that supports our claims.
Maca is a sweet root vegetable that comes with several health benefits.
In South America, maca is commonly used to boost fertility, which is why natives refer to it as the Peruvian Viagra. This herb primarily grows in the mountains of central Peru.
Multiple animal studies found that maca increases erectile function and libido in rodents. Furthermore, some studies found the same effect on human subjects.
In one study, researchers found that maca may be useful in reducing libido loss induced by antidepressant drugs. The typical dosage of maca in these studies ranged between 1.5 and 3.5 grams per day consumed over a period of 2–12 weeks.
Participants had very few side effects and the dosages were generally tolerated.
Tribulus Terrestris is an annual plant that grows in dry climates.
Many people take these supplements to boost their libido. When inspected by scientists, Tribulus seemed to ramp up the production of testosterone in animals; however, we lack the evidence that supports this effect on humans.
With that said, some studies found that Tribulus may boost sexual function and desire in both males and females.
3. Ginkgo Nut
The ginkgo nut is a herbal supplement derived from the Ginkgo biloba tree.
Chinese medicine uses this herb to treat a variety of diseases, including poor sexual function and depression.
The effect of the Ginkgo nut on sexual function may be explained by its vasodilatory properties, which help in the relaxation of blood vessels to increase blood flow to the penis.
In one small study, researchers reported that the ginkgo nut reversed the loss of libido in 84% of patients who took antidepressants.
The study found similar results in both genders, manifesting as increased desire and ability to orgasm after the consumption of 60–240 mg of this supplement. However, researchers noted a more potent effect in female participants.
With that said, many scientists criticize the results of this study due to its poor epidemiological standards.
While the ginkgo nut is generally safe to consume, you may want to speak with your doctor or pharmacist before taking the supplement since it may cause the blood to thin – there is a risk of interaction with other blood-thinning medications.
4. Red Ginseng
Red ginseng may aid with a variety of disorders, including sexual dysfunction and low libido in both males and females.
Researchers confirmed the positive effect of this supplement by comparing the results to a group of participants who took a placebo.
One study found that the intake of red ginseng may help women undergoing menopause to maintain their sexual desire and function.
For completeness’s sake, we should note that some experts question the validity of these findings and ask for more in-depth research before drawing any conclusions.
The regular dosages taken by participants ranged between 1.8–3 grams for 4–12 weeks.
Similar to ginkgo biloba, red ginseng may interact with the action of blood-thinning medications. Additionally, some people reported headaches, stomach aches, and constipation after taking the supplement.
Speak with your doctor before taking this supplement.
Fenugreek is an annual plant cultivated worldwide.
South Asian countries use fenugreek in many dishes. However, this substance is popular in Ayurvedic medicine due to its libido-boosting properties and anti-inflammatory effects.
Researchers found that fenugreek contains some precursors of sex hormones (e.g., estrogen, testosterone).
In one study, male participants took 600 mg of fenugreek extract for 6 weeks. The results showed increased sexual arousal and more orgasms.
Other ingredients found in this supplement include magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B6. Therefore, scientists still do not have the full picture about which substances produced the libido-boosting effect.
In a study that included female subjects, 600 mg of fenugreek extract was enough to significantly increase the sexual desire and arousal of these women. The study lasted for 8 weeks.
Once again, fenugreek may interfere with blood-thinning medications, hence the need to consult your doctor before consumption.
6. Pistachio Nuts
Pistachio nuts are rich in protein, healthy fats, and fiber. This food may help with high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, and erectile dysfunction.
Consuming 100 grams of pistachio nuts for 3 weeks led to increased blood flow to the penis, which promoted firmer erections.
Scientists suggested that these effects were the result of pistachios’ properties to improve blood flow throughout the body.
Unfortunately, the study that reported these results did not use a placebo group for comparison; therefore, we do not know whether the findings were due to pistachios nuts or other factors.
Saffron is native to Southwest Asia and considered one of the most expensive spices by weight.
It is commonly used to help people with chronic stress, depression, and mood swings. Moreover, saffron has some aphrodisiac properties, especially in sexual dysfunction induced by medications.
One study observed the effects of saffron on male participants who took 30 mg per day for 4 weeks. The results showed great improvement in erectile function relative to the placebo group.
Some adaptogens have impressive libido-boosting properties that could naturally help people who struggle with sexual dysfunction. However, you need to consult with your primary care physician before consuming random supplements, especially when you are taking other medications.
We hope that this article managed to highlight the potential role of adaptogens in improving your sexual life and restoring lost libido.
Want to learn more about aphrodisiacs?
Join us this September at our Aphrodisiac Recipes for Unlocking Desire Workshop. Boost your zest for life and invigorate your passion in the bedroom with a side of aphrodisiac superfood canapés that'll awaken your 5 senses.