Wherever you shoot a glance, you will find the advertisements of supplements that promise to increase your libido, enhance your sexual drive, improve your stamina, or boost orgasms and satisfaction. These are the claims of the manufacturers. But what does the science say?
Have you ever experienced problems in bed? Do you know firsthand what lack of libido, low vaginal lubrication, soft erections or premature ejaculations are? And, of course, you have heard that Ginseng, Ginkgo Biloba, Black Cohosh or similar herbs can help you get rid of the sexual dysfunction.
You can find thousands of them in the stores or on the Internet. But what are these natural supplements? Are they safe? Do they work? Do they ensure permanent results? Is it better to buy herbals instead of medications or surgeries?
In this article, we will try to answer these questions.
Natural Supplements and Medical Advice
Let’s see what Hilda Hutcherson, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Columbia University Medical Center, says about female supplements.
Hilda Hutcherson has found that herbs and natural oils help some women to increase their sexual desire and combat vaginal dryness. They cause no serious harm to the health, she adds. But despite positive results, the professor recommends consulting your healthcare provider before you start taking any supplements. Some of them can cause severe reactions when overdosed or interacting with other medications or medical conditions. You can try Diva – natural female sex enhancer.
Christopher Saigal, MD, assistant professor of Urology, UCLA School of Medicine, has left his comments on male natural supplements, particularly those for erectile dysfunction (ED). He recommends evaluating the supplements that you buy. Though most makers claim that their products are natural, there are a lot of frauds. You can address ConsumerLab.com or similar to check your choice. For example, the evaluation of ginseng supplements showed that 50% of them contained contaminants, including pesticides. You should be aware of risks and look for high-quality ingredients.
Natural Supplements and Science
Ginseng is a slow-growing perennial plant that has fleshy roots. There are several types of the herb, including:
- Siberian Ginseng that has been used as an aphrodisiac;
- Panax Ginseng that has been chiefly used in Chinese traditional medicine to improve thinking, memory, and concentration.
Saigal says that ginseng, like some other herbs, is believed to increase the production of nitric oxide in the body, similar to Viagra. Some reliable studies have shown positive effects of ginseng, so men – those who prefer natural alternatives – can use the herb instead of Viagra. But Viagra or Cialis or Levitra will ensure better results.
Hilda Hutcherson states that ginseng also helps women boost their energy and improve their mood. Thus, it can increase their sexual performance, endurance, and satisfaction.
Ginkgo Biloba has been used in traditional medicine (China) for hundreds of years. Its leaf extract is believed to improve memory and thinking, treat tinnitus, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, and sexual dysfunction, and combat fatigue and anxiety. There is the evidence that the herb increases the levels of nitric oxide that improves the blood flow to the penis.
Ginkgo Biloba is among the most popular herbs in the US. Some studies show that the herb provides no results while others indicate slight improvements in sexual function. Meanwhile, some people report that they have gained the positive effect and are satisfied with it.
Chasteberry (or Vitex agnus-castus) is the fruit of the chaste tree, native to the western Asia and Mediterranean region. It is called the “women’s herb” and is approved in Germany to treat premenstrual and menstrual problems. By increasing the levels of brain chemical dopamine and progesterone, it is believed to boost sexual desire.
The herb can also reduce prolactin, a brain chemical that interferes with libido. Hutcherson assures that it does help some of her patients.
Black Cohosh is a perennial plant from North America. Its roots are considered to be healing. The herb has been traditionally used to alleviate premenstrual syndrome (PMS), symptoms of menopause, and painful menstruation in women. Besides, it is effective in reducing muscle pain and arthritis.
Black Cohosh has properties similar to estrogen and stimulates higher blood flow to the pelvis increasing sexual arousal and drive, says Hutcherson. The more blood flows to the genitalia, the more lubrication your body produces and the higher desire you experience.
Nowadays, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) invests black cohosh studies for developing the treatment for menopausal symptoms.
Maca is a plant native to Peru, the Andes Mountains. It has been used since the times of the Incan civilization as a natural remedy for different conditions. Nowadays, it is widely known for its aphrodisiacal properties increasing energy and stamina. Though the research into maca effectiveness is limited, Saigal assures that the vegetable causes no adverse reactions.
L- Arginine is a natural sex enhancer. It is an essential amino acid that our body requires to ensure proper functioning, including strong immunity. L-Arginine helps enhance the production of nitric oxide in the body acting similar to Viagra and increasing blood flow to the genitalia.
Some reliable studies have shown positive results:
- Improvements in sexual function when L-Arginine is combined with glutamate (a key compound in cellular metabolism) and yohimbine (the element approved by the FDA for erectile dysfunction treatment);
- Improvements in sexual function when L-Arginine (500 mg three times a day) is combined with pycnogenol.
However, small doses of L-Arginine do not provide any effect. You may need higher doses (5 grams or so a day) to treat your sexual dysfunction.
The amino acid does not cause side effects if used as instructed. But it can interact with other medications, including heart or high blood pressure drugs. If you take Cialis, Viagra or Levitra, or nitroglycerin for chest pain, you should be careful combining them with L-Arginine. It can cause blood pressure loss.
Saigal recommends trying the amino acid as it can help the heart arteries, and men who suffer from heart conditions can improve their health.
Yohimbe is an extract from the bark of the Yohimbe tree that is native to Africa. It contains yohimbine, a chemical that increases nerve impulses and blood flow to the penis and vagina. The extract has been used as an aphrodisiac, and nowadays, it shows positive results in treating erectile dysfunction (ED). As Yohimbe impacts the brain activity, it can improve erections and boost libido in men.
Some studies claim that Yohimbe treats the ED in men who take medications for depression (antidepressants). However, you should be cautious when buying Yohimbe supplements. Some of them can contain the extract without yohimbine and, thus, ensures no effect. Saigal recommends checking the contents and active ingredients (yohimbine or yohimbine hydrochloride) to be confident of results.
Please note that yohimbine can lead to stomach upset, high blood pressure, anxiety or any other psychological condition. You are recommended taking the supplement under doctor’s control.