When thinking about support libido, most people immediately think of Viagra.
One of the many reasons I love being a Naturopathic Doctor is because I know that there are so many other safer and natural options to try to help improve libido before reaching for a prescription.
Here are the top 3 libido boosting herbs:
- Maca is a powerful adaptogen which means it naturally increases energy levels. It contains naturally occurring B vitamins fortify the ability to cope with stress. While it doesn’t change testosterone or estrogen hormone levels and its mechanism of action is not quite known, multiple studies revealed that maca may increase libido in both men and women [1, 2, 3]. Maca contains phytosterols and phytoestrogens which are thought to play a role.
- There are four randomized controlled trials which have looked at make and female response using maca – three of those trials showed positive effect on sexual dysfunction in healthy menopausal women, healthy adult men, and men with erectile dysfunction.
- In a clinical trial on 50 healthy men with mild erectile dysfunction, reported 40% increase in sexual desire and libido after 2 months of daily Maca ingestion 
- Maca helped to improve sexual dysfunction, improved self reported sexual enjoyment, and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety in a trial of 14 post-menopausal women .
- For someone needing more support in the emotional aspect of libido, and improvement in immune system and chronic fatigue, I would choose this herb.
- This herb has been studied to enhance libido in both men and women. This herb also works more on the emotional aspect of sexual desire. I have written an article about it for enhancing libido in women here.
- This herb has many other functions in addition to enhancing emotional aspects of libido, including supporting dopamine and seratonin in the brain.
- Also known as “Asian Ginseng” or “Korean Ginseng” this plant is considered to be a general tonic for well-being. It increases fertility and arousal in both men and women and fights the effects of stress. Animal studies found that it also improved heart function.
- The proposed mechanism of action is through nitric oxide (NO) release from the smooth muscle of the corpus cavernosum and smooth muscle relaxation on the clitoral cavernosal muscle and vaginal walls in females
- According to clinical trials, ginseng substantially improves symptoms of erectile dysfunction in men [6, 7, 8, 9].
- Ginseng may also be helpful for postmenopausal women. In several studies on postmenopausal women, ginseng relieved symptoms of sexual dysfunction and increased libido and sexual satisfaction. It can also boost mood, which is key to sexual health [10, 11, 12].
Please note that it is important to work with a doctor before trying any new herbals. Some herbals can interact with existing medications, and they are unregulated — meaning it is important to obtain products that are tested for quality, purity, and safety from reputable companies.
Low libido may sometimes be an indicator of an underlying health condition. If someone notes issues with libido without a clear stimulus for several weeks, it is reasonable to discuss the problem with a doctor, who may be able to determine if an underlying physiological, psychological or relationship issue is causing these concerns.
To book an appointment with me:
-Dr Diana Semjonov, ND
This article is for educational purposes only and does not advocate self-diagnosis. Due to individual variability, consultation with a licensed health professional, such as a naturopathic doctor is highly recommended prior to starting a natural treatment plan.
- Gonzales GF, Córdova A, Vega K, Chung A, Villena A, Góñez C, Castillo S. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men. Andrologia. 2002 Dec;34(6):367-72. doi: 10.1046/j.1439-0272.2002.00519.x. PMID: 12472620.
- Dording CM, Fisher L, Papakostas G, Farabaugh A, Sonawalla S, Fava M, Mischoulon D. A double-blind, randomized, pilot dose-finding study of maca root (L. meyenii) for the management of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. CNS Neurosci Ther. 2008 Fall;14(3):182-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-5949.2008.00052.x. PMID: 18801111; PMCID: PMC6494062.
- Stone M, Ibarra A, Roller M, Zangara A, Stevenson E. A pilot investigation into the effect of maca supplementation on physical activity and sexual desire in sportsmen. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Dec 10;126(3):574-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2009.09.012. Epub 2009 Sep 23. PMID: 19781622.
- Zenico T, Cicero AF, Valmorri L, Mercuriali M, Bercovich E. Subjective effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) extract on well-being and sexual performances in patients with mild erectile dysfunction: a randomised, double-blind clinical trial. Andrologia. 2009 Apr;41(2):95-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0272.2008.00892.x. PMID: 19260845.
- Brooks NA, Wilcox G, Walker KZ, Ashton JF, Cox MB, Stojanovska L. Beneficial effects of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) on psychological symptoms and measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women are not related to estrogen or androgen content. Menopause. 2008 Nov-Dec;15(6):1157-62. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181732953. PMID: 18784609.
- de Andrade E, de Mesquita AA, Claro Jde A, de Andrade PM, Ortiz V, Paranhos M, Srougi M. Study of the efficacy of Korean Red Ginseng in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Asian J Androl. 2007 Mar;9(2):241-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7262.2007.00210.x. Epub 2006 Jul 11. PMID: 16855773.
- Hong B, Ji YH, Hong JH, Nam KY, Ahn TY. A double-blind crossover study evaluating the efficacy of korean red ginseng in patients with erectile dysfunction: a preliminary report. J Urol. 2002 Nov;168(5):2070-3. doi: 10.1097/01.ju.0000034387.21441.87. PMID: 12394711.
- Choi HK, Seong DH, Rha KH. Clinical efficacy of Korean red ginseng for erectile dysfunction. Int J Impot Res. 1995 Sep;7(3):181-6. PMID: 8750052.
- Kim TH, Jeon SH, Hahn EJ, Paek KY, Park JK, Youn NY, Lee HL. Effects of tissue-cultured mountain ginseng (Panax ginseng CA Meyer) extract on male patients with erectile dysfunction. Asian J Androl. 2009 May;11(3):356-61. doi: 10.1038/aja.2008.32. Epub 2009 Feb 23. PMID: 19234482; PMCID: PMC3735289.
- Oh KJ, Chae MJ, Lee HS, Hong HD, Park K. Effects of Korean red ginseng on sexual arousal in menopausal women: placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover clinical study. J Sex Med. 2010 Apr;7(4 Pt 1):1469-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01700.x. Epub 2010 Feb 5. PMID: 20141583.
- Kim SY, Seo SK, Choi YM, Jeon YE, Lim KJ, Cho S, Choi YS, Lee BS. Effects of red ginseng supplementation on menopausal symptoms and cardiovascular risk factors in postmenopausal women: a double-blind randomized controlled trial. Menopause. 2012 Apr;19(4):461-6. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3182325e4b. PMID: 22027944.
- Wiklund IK, Mattsson LA, Lindgren R, Limoni C. Effects of a standardized ginseng extract on quality of life and physiological parameters in symptomatic postmenopausal women: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Swedish Alternative Medicine Group. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res. 1999;19(3):89-99. PMID: 10761538.