10 Natural Aphrodisiacs to Turn Up the Heat
By Suzy Cohen Published July 25, 2009 Ready to turn up the heat in the bedroom? Suzy Cohen, shares 10 natural aphrodisiacs. Plus, rate your sex drive with our quiz…
Doing the deed regularly will improve your relationship and help you live longer. But what if you’re feeling less punch in your pajamas these days?
The levels of sex hormones in your body affect sexual vitality, stamina and arousal. Stress plays a role too. So does working late every night or chasing the kids all day.
Thus it’s no surprise that almost half the married couples in America have sex only a few times a month.
Fortunately, you can bring back heat between the sheets with natural remedies found at most health food stores, pharmacies or online:
Ladies Come First
1. Peppermint Soap or Shampoo
Women will love this simple, quick trick to heighten stimulation, especially if the Big O is elusive. And for those lucky ladies who easily reach orgasm, peppermint products may help you become multi-orgasmic.
Buy natural peppermint soap made with pure essential oil for a cheap, easy enhancer. The cooling effect increases sexual pleasure and intensity.
Dr. Bronner’s liquid or bar soaps are a good choice (www.DrBronner.com).
Also, try topical gels and creams with peppermint extract. Vigel, a popular product sold at most pharmacies and online (www.vigel.net), has peppermint oil and arginine, which increase sexual stimulation.
Watch out: Skip artificially-scented products that just contain perfume and chemicals. Only peppermint extract will prime the pump.
Use it carefully at first: Some women find peppermint or arginine-based products a bit too stimulating.
This feminine arousal liquid may arouse without irritating sensitive parts. Zestra (www.zestra.com) contains plant-derived ingredients, such as borage oil, angelica extract, vitamins E and C.
Apply it to the vaginal area during foreplay to lubricate and heighten arousal.
Watch out: Zestra doesn’t taste good, so if oral sex is part of the plan, apply it to the clitoris afterward.
3. Passion Rx
Some over-the-counter supplements contain herbs and vitamins that may rev up sex drive.
Active ingredients include: Tribulus terrestris, tongkat ali, ashwagandha, rhodiola, catuaba bark, yohimbe, maca or eleuthero extract. These aren’t immediate enhancers, but when taken routinely or according to label directions, supplements with these ingredients may pep up your passion over time.
One oral supplement, formulated by Ray Sahelian, M.D., (www.RaySahelian.com) may help correct hormone imbalances and increase libido. (Guys, you can take it too!)
Watch out: Some OTC sex supplements containing yohimbe may spike blood pressure in sensitive people.
Also, some herbal combinations may interact with certain medications. Ask your doctor and pharmacist if these supplements are safe for you. Start with a low dose and work your way up.
This blend of herbs, including raspberry leaf, nettle and chasteberry (vitex), may improve fertility in women, increase libido and balance hormones.
FertiliTea (www.FertiliTea.com) may also help women with ovulation difficulties. If sipped daily, you may see results within two weeks.
Watch out: Don’t take it if you become pregnant.
This spice has been shown to increase sex drive over time and, in women, reduce urinary tract infections. The benefits come from its ability to lower high blood sugar, which restricts blood flow to the vagina (and the penis). So, if you can control your blood sugar, you’ll have better sex.
Cinnamon is not an immediate aphrodisiac, but it’s still reason enough to say yes to warm cinnamon buns for dessert.
And you have nothing to lose by adding a teaspoonful of fresh cinnamon to your morning coffee or bran muffin each day.
Watch out: Sprinkle cinnamon onto your food, but only use a teaspoonful. Too much of this good thing is dangerous, especially if inhaled or taken dry. You also don’t want to eat a spoonful, because it can trigger vomiting.
Men, You’re Up!
Prescription drugs such as Viagra and Cialis might have an uplifting effect, but taking sex pills is like jump-starting your car every two miles instead of just fixing the battery.
Problems, such as low testosterone, elevated cortisol, hypothyroidism, high cholesterol or high blood sugar, may cause erectile dysfunction (ED).
These supplements may rev up your sex drive and address some of those underlying issues:
1. Saw Palmetto (serenoa repens)
Men with prostate problems, such as prostatitis or an enlarged prostate, respond best to saw palmetto.
Studies prove it eases weak flow, night urges (to urinate, that is) and that awful feeling you haven’t emptied your bladder.
Saw palmetto helps nourish the prostate gland and stimulate production of the sex hormone testosterone.
As a bonus, it may also help slow down male pattern baldness.
Take 160 mg twice a day and make sure your product contains at least 85% fatty acids.
Watch out: Saw palmetto may cause bad breath, insomnia, diarrhea or constipation in sensitive people. It may enhance blood flow, so be careful, especially if you take Coumadin (warfarin), Lovenox, Plavix, aspirin and other blood thinners.
Ask your pharmacist if it’s safe for you.
2. Hot Plants
This herbal supplement contains nutrients clinically proven to help increase sexual satisfaction. It may reignite sexual desire, improve performance and heighten erotic pleasure. The supplement is available in “him” and “her” formulas.
The ingredients in this product include horny goat weed, tongkat ali, Panax ginseng, rhodiola and maca, all of which are thought to support sexual health.
It claims to begin to work within a week or two and nourishes adrenal glands, the prostate gland and circulatory system.
Watch out: Hot Plants’ ingredients may interact with medications, so ask your doctor or pharmacist if it’s safe for you.
For more erotic herbs and oils, check out Nature's Rx for Better Sex.
Arginine is ideal for men with hypertension (or coronary artery disease) and erectile dysfunction.
This natural amino acid works much like Viagra, helping to open up blood vessels that lead to the penis and the heart, improving blood flow and ultimately, performance.
It's found in many sex supplements, like VasoRect (www.amazon.com) and Libido Tonight (www.RapidNutritionProducts.com).
You can take arginine orally with your daily vitamins or apply cream on the penis for immediate action. Arginine is safe for women too.
Watch out: If you have herpes – fever blisters or the genital sort – arginine can increase your risk for an outbreak. Sex supplements containing arginine may have herbs and ingredients that can interact with medication.
Check with your physician if these multi-tasking supplements are safe for you.
4. Ginkgo Biloba
This centuries-old herb improves blood flow to the brain, heart and all your good parts to help obtain and maintain an erection. Ginkgo could be a good antidote to the pesky sexual side effects of antidepressants, such as Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Prozac, Wellbutrin and others.
For other drugs that could put a damper on your sex drive, click here.
Take about 40-80 mg twice daily, and be sure your product contains 24% “ginkgo heterosides,” a potent antioxidant that also reduces free radicals. It’s safe for women too.
Watch out: Ginkgo biloba is a strong blood thinner, and may interact with Coumadin (warfarin), Lovenox, Plavix, aspirin and other blood thinners. Ask your pharmacist if it’s OK for you.
5. Pumpkin Seeds
These seeds are high in zinc, which has been known to increase fertility and sex drive.
Oysters are also incredibly rich in this mineral. But because you might not want to eat slimy critters every day, pumpkin seeds are a great alternative.
They’re also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which clean up arteries and capillaries – the ones that lead to your nether regions.
Eat ’em right out of the bag, sprinkle them on salads or grind pumpkin seeds and mix them with flour when breading chicken and other foods. Ladies, you can toss back a handful too!
Also, try zinc supplements or lozenges. Take one per day, any flavor.
Watch out: Some brands of pumpkin seeds contain artificial colorants and chemicals, so check the label for additives.