New Healing Herbs

These days, I write primarily about sexuality. But from the 1970s until 2005, sex writing was just one element of my career as a health journalist. I also wrote a great deal about alternative therapies, particularly herbal medicine, and wrote a book about it, The Healing Herbs, later The New Healing Herbs, which has been in print for 28 years in three editions and has sold more than 1 million copies worldwide.

Rodale Press has re-released The New Healing Herbs in a revised, updated, expanded, fourth edition, and it includes several herbs with potentially sex-enhancing effects:

Black cohosh. This herb helps relieve premenstrual syndrome, menstrual cramps, and the discomforts of menopause, all of which may interfere with sexual interest and enjoyment.

Cannabis (marijuana). In the one study so far, 60 percent of respondents to an Internet survey called cannabis sex-enhancing. Many said they don’t make love without it. However, 30 percent said this herb is a sex-killer. If you haven’t already, I suggest experimenting to see how it affects your sexuality.

Chaste Tree. Here’s another herb that may boost sex by relieving premenstrual syndrome, menstrual cramps, and menstrual breast tenderness and pain.

Coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, maté. They all contain caffeine and have stimulant action. Traditionally, all stimulant herbs were considered sex stimulants. Try one before getting it on and see what you think.

Ginkgo. There’s some evidence that ginkgo improves erections and helps relieve sex problems caused by the SSRI family of antidepressant drugs (Prozac, etc.).

Ginseng. This revered Asian herb is a non-caffeine stimulant. Like the herbs containing caffeine, for centuries it’s been considered an aphrodisiac, and some studies suggest that it helps with low sexual desire and erection problems.

Maca. This Andean groundcover has gained a reputation as a sex-enhancer. Several studies show that it helps treat a variety of sex problems and improves libido and sexual function.

Muira Puama. Native to the Amazon, some studies show that this herb boosts sexual desire in both men and women.

Yohimbe. The bark of this West African tree has a centuries-old reputation as an erection enhancer. Studies show that it works, thanks to a compound it contains, yohimbine. Long before Viagra, the FDA approved yohimbine for erectile dysfunction.

Don’t expect erotic miracles from any of these herbs, but they just might improve your lovemaking. For more, check out the fourth edition of The New Healing Herbs.

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