Health

Increasing your libido and reigniting your sex life through naturopathy

After a hard day’s work, you still need to cook dinner, wash dishes, help your kids with homework, give them a bath and read them their bedtime stories before any type of relaxation even crosses your mind. Sure, some fun in the bedroom would be nice, but by that point, you’re exhausted and that TV just looks way too appealing.

You’re not alone

Low libido is one of the most frequent sexual disorders among women. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that 43% of women have issues with sexual desire.[1]

What’s going on?

Everything from fatigue and stress, to hormonal imbalance and psychological factors, can decrease your libido. Anxiety and depression are a big part of the problem and, ironically, so are many of the medications used to treat them. Anti-depressants, sleep aids and birth control are all medications that can affect your sex drive.

What can you do?

Ask your doctor to analyze your hormone level. A registered naturopath may suggest a salivary hormone test to assess your cortisol level (the stress hormone), your DHEA (anti-stress/anti-aging hormone), estrogens, progesterone and testosterone.

A decrease in sex drive is seen in about 25–40% of women in menopause, whose testosterone levels have been linked to their libidos.[2] Numerous studies have concluded that testosterone can increase their sex drive.

Several plants and vitamins can be useful for balancing your hormones. Women who tend to have a low libido also have low progesterone, testosterone and DHEA levels, as well as imbalanced estrogen and cortisol levels.

Have your thyroidal function tested as well. Slow functioning can affect your energy and your temper, and decrease your sexual desire.

Do you have a zinc deficiency?

Zinc is a mineral responsible for more than 300 biochemical reactions and is an essential part of sexual function by easing the production of hormones like estrogen and testosterone. Sadness (not limited to postpartum depression), hair loss, slow digestion, a defective immune system, insomnia and low libido are all symptoms of zinc deficiency, which is very simple to test for.

Replenishing your zinc levels can be done through many foods. Oysters, for example, are perfect for their high level of zinc (½ cup = 20.6 mg), in addition to being known as an aphrodisiac. You can also eat two tablespoons of pumpkin seeds on a daily basis to obtain 2 mg of Zinc.

If you’re on medication, talk to your doctor. Some medications like antidepressants, contraceptive pills and medications for high blood pressure have side effects that can decrease your desire. However, never stop taking your medication without first consulting your doctor.

Natural ways of increasing your libido

Here is a list of commonly used herbs that can increase your libido. Make sure you’re properly evaluated before deciding which treatment will best stimulate your libido and consult your health specialist before using it.

  • Ashwaganda
  • Relora
  • Rhodiola
  • Licorice
  • Siberian ginseng
  • Other adaptogen herbs, which can increase energy and reduce stress

As well, maca (Lepidium peruvianum) is a Peruvian plant that grows in high altitudes and has been used for over 2000 years. It’s known to

  • Regulate hormones;[3],
  • Revitalize adrenals (stress glands) and increase energy;[4]
  • Optimize neurotransmitter levels in the brain that, in return, reduce the risk of decreased sex drive, depression and sexual dysfunction.[5]
Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis)

Chronic stress can decrease your libido. A clinical study has shown that three grams (3g) per day of cordyceps, a mushroom used for over 2,000 years to revitalize the body during fatigue or after a long disease [6], improves sex drive in 66% of users after only 40 days.[7]

Exercise and libido

It’s common knowledge that aerobic and muscular training increases your blood flow, reduces stress and improves your energy. It also helps the release of endorphins, which, in turn, ups your self-esteem and stimulates your libido.

Spicy foods for libido

Foods that increase the blood flow in your body and genitals, such as garlic, cayenne pepper and ginger, will help your libido. The capsaicin contained in chili helps to release chemicals that fasten your heartbeat and help release endorphins.

Meanwhile, chocolate contains phenylethylamin, which, in addition to releasing endorphins, reduces depression and anxiety. Dark chocolate is preferable to other varieties because it contains antioxidants. The Journal of Sexual Medicine published a study showing that women who consumed a piece of chocolate each day had a more active sex life than those who didn’t [8].

In any case, don’t give up and don’t hesitate to seek help. There are plenty of solutions out there.

Disclaimer: The options listed in this article are not intended as replacements for health care treatments, but are solely meant for informational purposes. Consult a doctor or other health care professionals to determine which treatments will work best for you.

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References:

1- Lewis RW, Fugl-Meyer KS, Corona G, et al. Definitions/epidemiology/risk factors for sexual dysfunction. J Sex Med.2010;7(4) : 1598-607.
Laumann EO, Paik A, Rosen RC. Sexual dysfunction in the United States. Prevalence and predictors. JAMA. 1999;281(6) : 537-44.

2- naturalstandard.com

3- Gonzales GF, Córdova A, Vega K, Chung A, Villena A, Góñez C. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a root with aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing properties, on serum reproductive hormone levels in adult healthy men. J Endocrinol. 2003 Jan;176(1) : 163-8.
Bogani P, Simonini F, Iriti M, et al. Lepidium meyenii (Maca) does not exert direct androgenic activities. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Apr 6;104(3) : 415-7.
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.

4- Gonzales GF. Ethnobiology and ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a plant from the Peruvian Highlands. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:193496. Epub 2011 Oct 2.

5- Dording CM, Fisher L, Papakostas G, et al. 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.

6- Zhu JS, Halpern GM, Jones K. The scientific rediscovery of an ancient Chinese herbal medicine: Cordyceps sinensisPart II. J Altern Complement Med. 1998;4(4) : 429-57.
Dai G, Bao T, Xu C, et al. CordyMax Cs-4 improves steady-state bioenergy status in mouse liver. J Altern Complement Med. 2001;7(3) : 231-40.
Kiho T, Ookubo K, Usui S, et al. Structural features and hypoglycemic activity of a polysaccharide (CS-F10) from the cultured mycelium of Cordyceps
sinensis
. Biol Pharm Bull. 1999;22(9) : 966-70.

7- Zhu JS, Halpern GM, Jones K. The scientific rediscovery of an ancient Chinese herbal medicine: Cordyceps sinensisPart II. J Altern Complement Med. 1998;4(4) : 429-57.

8- Salonia A, Fabbri F, Zanni G, Scavini M, Fantini GV, Briganti A, Naspro R, Parazzini F, Gori E, Rigatti P, Montorsi F : Chocolate and women's sexual health: An intriguing correlation. J Sex Med. 2006 May;3(3) : 476-82.


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