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Discover the 7 Aphrodisiac Foods That Increase Libido.
An aphrodisiac is defined as a food or drug that arouses sexual instinct, provokes the desire, or increases sexual pleasure or productivity.
Naturally, aphrodisiacs are a hot topic, as evidenced by the number of drugs available and marketed specifically for their libido-boosting effects.
However, some people prefer natural alternatives, as they are generally safer and tend to have fewer side effects.
This article reviews 7 science-backed aphrodisiacs that can boost libido.
Maca is a sweet root vegetable with several health benefits.
In South America, it is commonly used to increase fertility, even by the nickname “Peruvian Viagra.”
It grows predominantly in the mountains of central Peru and is related to cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage.
Maca is one of the few popular natural aphrodisiacs that are backed by science.
Animal studies report increases in libido and erectile function in mice and rats fed maca.
And maca appears to have libido-boosting effects in humans as well. Four high-quality studies reported that participants experienced increased sexual desire after consuming maca.
Additionally, a small study suggests that maca may help reduce the loss of libido that is commonly experienced as a side effect of certain antidepressant drugs.
Most of the studies provided 1.5-3.5 grams of maca per day for 2-12 weeks.
The participants generally tolerated these uses well and experienced few side effects. However, more studies are needed to determine safe dosages and long-term effects.
Caltrop, also known as bindii, is an annual plant that grows in dry climates.
It is commonly used to help improve athletic performance, infertility, and loss of libido.
This supplement is also backed by certain sciences. Animal studies indicate increased sperm production in rats given Caltrop supplements.
Another study found that 88% of women with sexual dysfunction experienced greater sexual satisfaction after taking 250 mg of Caltrop per day for 90 days.
In addition, a group of researchers examined the effect of Caltrop in women with sexual dysfunction, giving them 7.5 mg of Caltrop extract daily.
After four weeks, the women who received Caltrop reported significantly higher levels of desire, arousal, lubrication, and satisfaction with orgasm.
That said, more research is needed to evaluate the optimal dosage as well as the effects of Caltrop supplements in men.
Ginkgo biloba is a green supplement derived from one of the oldest tree species, the Ginkgo biloba tree.
It is popular in traditional Chinese medicine as a treatment for many ailments, including depression and poor sexual productivity.
Ginkgo biloba is said to act as an aphrodisiac helping to relax blood vessels thereby increasing blood flow.
For example, a small study reports that ginkgo Biloba reduced the loss of libido caused by the use of antidepressants, in about 84% of the participants.
Both male and female participants said they experienced increased desire, arousal, and the ability to orgasm after consuming 60-120 mg of the supplement daily, although the effects appeared stronger in the women who participated.
However, a follow-up study found no improvement in a similar group of participants taking Ginkgo Biloba.
Ginkgo biloba is generally well-tolerated, but it can act as a blood thinner. Therefore, if you are taking blood-thinning medications, be sure to check with your healthcare professional before taking Ginkgo Biloba.
Ginseng is another popular herb in Chinese medicine.
One particular type – red ginseng – is commonly used to treat a variety of ailments in men and women, including low libido and sexual function.
Several studies have investigated its use in men and found that red ginseng was at least twice as effective as placebo in improving erectile function.
Also, a small study in menopausal women found that red ginseng can improve sexual arousal.
However, these results are not universal. On the other hand, some experts question the strength of these studies, warning that more research is needed to draw strong conclusions.
In one study, participants took 1.4-3 grams of red ginseng daily for 4-12 weeks.
And another study found that people generally tolerate ginseng well, but it can interfere with blood-thinning medications and the treatment of hormone-sensitive cancers.
In some cases, ginseng can also cause headaches, constipation, or mild stomach upset.
Fenugreek is an annual plant grown throughout the world.
Its seeds are most commonly used in South Asian dishes, but it is also popular in Ayurvedic medicine as an anti-inflammatory, libido-releasing treatment.
And maybe it’s for good reason – this herb appears to contain compounds that the body can use to make sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone.
In a small study, men who received 600 mg of fenugreek extract per day for six weeks reported experiencing greater sexual arousal and more orgasms.
Similarly, a small study investigated the effects of a 600 mg daily dose of fenugreek extract in women who had reported low sex drive.
At the end of the eight-week study, a significant increase in sexual desire and arousal was observed in the group given fenugreek, compared to the group given a placebo.
Fenugreek is generally well-tolerated, but it can interact with blood-thinning medication and can cause mild stomach upset.
Additionally, due to its influence on sex hormones, fenugreek can also interfere with hormone treatment of sensitive cancers.
People have been eating pistachios since 6,000 BC
They are very nutritious and particularly rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
Pistachios can have a variety of health benefits, including helping to lower blood pressure, control weight, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
In addition, they can also help reduce erectile dysfunction symptoms.
In a small study, men who consumed 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of pistachios per day for three weeks experienced increased blood flow to the penis and firmer erections.
Experts have suggested that these effects may be due to pistachios’ ability to improve blood cholesterol and stimulate better blood flow throughout the body.
However, this study did not use a group given a placebo, making the results difficult to interpret and compare. More studies are needed before strong conclusions can be drawn.
Saffron is a spice derived from the Crocus sativus flower. It is native to Southwest Asia and one of the most expensive spices by weight.
This spice is often used as an alternative remedy to help treat depression, reduce stress, and improve mood.
What’s more, saffron is also popular for its potential aphrodisiac properties, especially in individuals taking antidepressants.
One study observed that a group of men who received 30 mg of saffron per day for four weeks experienced greater improvements in erectile function than men who received a placebo.
A follow-up study in women reported that those in the saffron group experienced higher levels of arousal and increased lubrication, compared to those in the placebo group.
However, studies on the aphrodisiac properties of saffron in individuals who do not suffer from depression produce inconsistent results.
Well-known aphrodisiac foods that are not backed by strong scientific evidence
Other foods are touted to have aphrodisiac properties. However, its libido-enhancing effects are largely supported by very little scientific evidence.
Here are some of the most popular of these questionable foods:
Chocolate: Compounds in cocoa are often believed to have an aphrodisiac effect, particularly in women. However, studies provide little evidence to support this popular belief.
Oysters: Although one study reports that they may have some libido-enhancing effects in rats, no studies are supporting the libido-enhancing properties of oysters in humans.
Chasteberry: Studies suggest that this fruit may influence hormone levels and reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in women. However, there is no evidence to certify libido-boosting benefits.
Honey: It has been used for centuries to bring romance to marriages. A class of honey called “crazy honey” is even marketed as a sexual stimulant. However, no studies support this, plus it may contain dangerous toxins.
Epimedium: Also known as goat cornea, it is popular in traditional Chinese medicine for treating ailments such as erectile dysfunction. Cell and animal studies provide some early support for this use, but human studies are needed.
Hot Chili Peppers: According to popular belief, capsaicin, the compound that gives hot chili peppers their spiciness, stimulates nerve endings on the tongue, causing the release of sex drive-activating chemicals. However, no studies support this belief.
Alcohol: Alcohol can act as an aphrodisiac helping both men and women to relax and get in the mood. However, excessive alcohol consumption can reduce sexual arousal and function, so moderation is key.
When it comes to boosting sexual desire, the list of foods with potential aphrodisiac properties is very long.
However, only a small proportion of these alleged aphrodisiacs are backed by science.
If you’re interested in trying science-backed options, you may want to start small and increase the dosage based on your tolerance.
Also, it is important to note that natural aphrodisiacs can interact with some medications.
If you are currently taking medication, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before trying these foods and herbs.
You can also know what kind of supplements you can take to help your sexual performance in our article: Supplements to improve your sexual performance.
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