Medication to increase your libido and assist with erectile dysfunction sprung into the spotlight over 15 years ago with the release of the popular drug Viagra. But did you realise that herbs have traditionally been used to increase libido for 1000s of years?
Here are some of the more common herbs traditionally used as aphrodisiacs, to increase libido, improve sexual function and stimulate sexual desire:
Horny goat weed
Although the name of this aphrodisiac may sound funny, the herb has been in use for over 2,000 years.
The most common story about the origin of this herb is that it was discovered after a Chinese herdsman noticed increased sexual activity among his goats after they ate the weed. Although the way horny goat weed works is yet to be verified, it has since traditionally been consumed to boost erectile function and restore sexual desire.
With the origin of this plant being Peru, many individuals refer to Maca as the Peruvian Ginseng even though it bears no relation to ginseng. Incas traditionally used the herb to support sexual function, energy and stamina. Initially they chewed the roots to get the benefits, then gradually improvised to process the roots into powder form, which is how you will most commonly find Maca today.
Ginseng’s story starts in ancient China, where the (possibly mythical) Emperor Shen-Nung is reported to have tried the herb to test its benefits. Emperor Shen-Nung had tested many roots and herbs but gave special praise to the ginseng roots. After chewing a part of the ginseng's tree roots, he is reported to have said that he felt a warm sensation that triggered sexual desire. As a result, many people in China began to use the ginseng roots to boost sexual desire.
The most common type is the Korean or Chinese ginseng, Panax ginseng, which has been used traditionally to enhance libido and increase energy amongst other things.
Also known as puncture vine, tribulus originates from warm temperate and tropical regions across Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. Used for centuries in both Chinese and Indian traditional medicine, it was popularly taken for erectile dysfunction and low libido. To this day, tribulus is one of the most popular ingredients used in modern sexual enhancement products.