It is estimated that 1/3 of the US male population and as much as 40% of females experience sexual dysfunction at some point in their lives. This can be a sensitive and potentially embarrassing subject for many patients to discuss, but this need not be the case. One of the more common manifestations of sexual dysfunction is low libido due to hormonal deficiencies or imbalances. Certain herbs can be useful in treating low libido naturally. Here are 5 of them, with brief descriptions of how they work:
- Epimedium (yin yang huo): This is the premier Chinese herb for treating low libido. It is fabled to have been discovered by goat herders who saw their flocks grazing on the herb and subsequently having very robust tendencies to procreate with some frequency. For this reason, epimedium is nicknamed “horny goat weed” – a little crass, but you get the idea. Pharmacological effects on administration of this herb can increase sperm production, stimulate important sensory nerves and increase sexual desire and activity.
- Tribulus: The leaves of this plant are used to boost both male and female libido. Tribulus leaf containing the compound protodioscin may gently stimulate the normal production of leutinizing hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland, which in turn, may lead the body to maintain testosterone at healthy levels. In this way, Tribulus may help with normal sexual function.
- Chaste Tree: Despite its name, this herb has primary benefit for female patients experiencing low libido. Chaste Tree has many potential effects on hormone levels, most notably progesterone and prolactin. Because of its ability to influence hormone levels, Chaste Tree may be beneficial in boosting female sexual vitality.
- Deer Antler (lu rong): A powerful tonifying herb in the Chinese pharmacopeia, deer antler or deer antler velvet has gotten some attention in the press the last couple of years for its use in supporting athletic function and stamina during competitions. It may also have benefit in cases of impotence. In one clinical study, 42 patients with impotence were given both injections and oral forms of deer antler daily, with marked effectiveness.
- Cordyceps (dong chong xia cao): While typically used in Chinese medicine to benefit the Lungs and Kidneys, cordyceps has also been shown to work in cases of sexual dysfunction. In one study, 197 patients with sexual disorders were treated with 1 gram of the herb three times daily for 40 days. The rate of effectiveness was 64.15% in 159 patients who received the cultivated form of this herb.
This information is provided for information purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. I recommend consulting with a board certified herbalist, such as myself, if you have questions regarding the above information.