5 NATURAL WAYS TO LIFT YOUR LIBIDO
Sugar is a carbohydrate, one of the major nutrient groups, but it doesn’t provide vitamins, minerals, or even fiber to our diet. Still, it’s added to an array of foods, including ketchup, fruited yogurt, cereal, canned soup, certain brands of lunch meat, salad dressing, condiments, bread, and so much more. While we require some sugar (glucose) in order to function property, all of this added sugar is harmful to our system and quite frankly- unnecessary!
Studies show that as many as 43% of women and 31% of men experience a drop in libido at some time in their life. Without a doubt, this has an impact on your overall physical and emotional health, as well as your relationship with your partner. Ironically, those same three issues are often the underlying factors in a low sex drive, which can be attributed to lifestyle and relationship problems, age-related hormonal changes, stress, physical disability, and certain medications. But there is help. Before venturing into unknown territory with a mass-marketed “quickie fix,” consider a variety of holistic approaches to help lift your libido.
TAKE SPECIALIZED HERBS. Several herbs have been studied for their positive impact on low sex drive, insufficient hormone levels, and performance problems, such as erectile dysfunction or inability to achieve orgasm. Herbs to consider are Panax Ginseng, Yohimbe, Maca Root, and Dong Quai. Each one works differently and some can interact with other medicines. It’s important to first consult with a qualified health professional before trying any herbal remedy.
GET TO THE POINT WITH ACUPUNCTURE. Shown to be a beneficial complementary therapy for sexual dysfunction, acupuncture can help boost libido by stimulating physiological systems in the body that are involved in sexual response.
TALK ABOUT SEX. Sometimes what’s not going on in the bedroom has a lot to do with how you and your partner communicate. From the honeymoon period, to being together for decades, sexual needs can and do change. Have honest, open conversations. Consider engaging the services of a sex therapist, who can guide you toward strategies that will lead to more fulfilling and intimate times together.
ENJOY FORBIDDEN FRUITS. While there are few specific studies on the aphrodisiac effects of fruits, for centuries different cultures have touted the stimulating benefits of foods such as avocados, figs, pomegranate, dark chocolate, watermelon, and strawberries. The most likely effect of having these foods in your diet is that they provide vitamins and minerals necessary for peak performance of the whole body. Why not experiment with pomegranate wine and organic dark chocolate nibs to get you in the mood?
MOVE THAT BODY. Exercise improves circulation, creates sexy muscles, helps manage stress, and promotes a positive body image. When you feel good physically and emotionally, you’re more likely to be in the mood for love. Also, working out with your partner can stimulate the sexual energy between you.
Healthy lifestyle practices provide the best foundation for enhancing sexual prowess. When the body is unhealthy, it may not respond optimally to the use of holistic approaches, which are intended to work synergistically with your natural ebb and flow.
- Kotta, S., Ansari, S.H., & Ali, J., “Exploring Scientifically Proven Herbal Aphrodisiacs.” Pharmacognosy Reviews (2013) 7:13, 1-10.
- Meletis, C.D. “Nature’s True Aphrodisiacs: Vital Health Factors For Men and Women.” Alternative and Complementary Therapies.(July 2004) 6:4, 207-211. doi:10.1089/10762800050115176.
- Murphy, L. L. & Lee, T. J.-F. “Ginseng, Sex Behavior, and Nitric Oxide.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (2002) 962:372-377. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2002.tb04081.x
- Everyday Health. “Understanding Low Libido.” Accessed on June 27, 2016.
- Cleveland Clinic. “How Integrative Medicine can help You Enhance Your Libido.” Online Health Chat with Brenda Powell, MD, Integrative Medicine Physician, and Lead Acupuncturist Jamie Starkey, Lac.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT. . .
THE FIG: SWEET. SUCCULENT. SENSUAL.
For centuries, figs have been referenced in mythology and traditional medicine as a powerful sexual supplement. While they have yet to be adequately studied as an aphrodisiac in humans, some animal studies show figs can increase sperm count and motility. Additionally, they are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, and the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E.
When selecting dried figs, they should be plump and soft. They will keep for long periods in a cool, dry place. When choosing fresh figs, which are beautifully delicate, select those with deep color, little bruising and sweet fragrance. Keep them in the fridge and plan to eat them in one or two days; don’t wash until ready to eat. If figs are not yet ripe, keep them at room temperature to ripen.
Figs can add a sweet sensation to just about any dish. But the high fiber can produce a laxative effect, so don’t over do.
- Patil, V. & Patil, V.R., “Ficas carica: An Overview.” Research Jl. of Medicinal Plants. (2011) 5:3, 246-253. Accessed on 10 June 2016.
- California Rare Fruit Growers. Accessed on 10 June 2016.
- The World’s Healthiest Foods. Accessed on 10 June 2016.
- Organic Facts. “Health Benefits of Fig.” Accessed on 10 June 2016. *Has a terrific chart How to Stay Healthy on Figs that is downloadable.
- Naghdi M., Maghbool M., et al. “Effects of Common Fig (Ficus carica) Leaf Extracts on Sperm Parameters and Testis of Mice Intoxicated with Formaldehyde.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, (2016) doi:10.1155/2016/2539127. Accessed 10 June 2016.
RECIPE: ROASTED FIG & GOAT CHEESE
- 12 Black Mission figs, halved vertically
- 1 Tbs unsalted butter
- 3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbs honey
- 2-3 ounces fresh goat cheese
- Flaky sea salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. While the oven preheats, melt the butter in a small saucepan, along with the balsamic vinegar, honey, and a hefty pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Place the figs, cut side up, in a baking dish the size of a pie pan. Top each fig half with a 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of goat cheese. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar syrup over the figs.
Roast in the oven until very soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
Arrange on a platter and sprinkle with flaky salt.
BOOST YOUR MOJO WITH MACA ROOT (Lepidium meyenii)
Yohimbe is also believed to stimulate nerves in the pelvic region. This can lead to an increase in sexual sensation and stamina. In a study of men without ED, Yohimbe had an effect on sexual vigor and length of erection. In post-menopausal women, Yohimbe increased sexual arousal when taken in conjunction with the amino acid L-arginine.
Yohimbe can interact with certain pharmaceuticals such as cardiac medications, as well as tyramine containing foods such as cheese and red wine. Be sure to consult with your personal physician before taking Yohimbe and do not exceed the dose recommended by your health practitioner.
- Kotta, Sabna, Shahid H. Ansari, and Javed Ali. “Exploring Scientifically Proven Herbal Aphrodisiacs.”Pharmacognosy Reviews 7.13 (2013): 1-10. PMC. Accessed on 8 June 2016.
- Meston, C. & Worcel, M. “The Effects of Yohimbine Plus L-arginine Glutamate on Sexual Arousal in Postmenopausal Women with Sexual Arousal Disorder. Arch of Sex. Behavior ” (2002, Aug): 31(4), 323-332. Accessed on 8 June 2016.
- University of Maryland Complementary & Alternative Medicine Database. “Sexual Dysfunction.”Accessed on 8 June 2016.
- Natural Fertility Website. “Top 5 Herbs for the Male Reproductive System.” Accessed on 8 June 2016.
ENHANCE SEXUALITY WITH YOHIMBE (Pausinystalia yohimbe, Corynanth johimbe)
Osha grows in a limited region in the U.S. so it can be hard to find in typical grocery stores. Ask for it in specialty or natural foods grocers or look for it online from a source that specializes in the herb. If you’re unsure about the source, don’t buy it (or pick it in the wild), as Osha leaves resemble Hemlock, a poisonous plant.
Many factors determine the appropriate amount of Osha to take, including a person’s age, weight, and symptoms. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take Osha root. Talk with your holistic healthcare professional before taking Osha Root.
- Cleveland Clinic: Cinnamon. Accessed 2 Dec 2016.
- Examine.com: Cinnamon Essential Benefits, Effects & Information. Accessed 2 Dec 2016.
- World’s Healthiest Foods: Cinnamon (ground)
- Johannes, L. Little bit of Spice for Health, but Which One? The Wall Street Journal (online, 2014, Oct.) Accessed 4 Dec 2016.
- Hlebowicz, J. et al., ‘Effect of Cinnamon on Postprandial Blood Glucose, Gastric Emptying, and Satiety in Healthy Subjects.’ Am J Clin Nutr. (2007 Jun) 85:6,1552-6. Accessed 4 Dec 2016.
GOT THE BEDROOM BLUES? CONSIDER SEX THERAPY
Sex Therapists are professionals with an advanced degree, as well as specialized training in human sexuality and relationships. Typically a physician, psychologist, social worker, or licensed counselor can become credentialed through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT).
WHAT HAPPENS IN A SEX THERAPY SESSION?
A sex therapist does not have physical contact of any kind with clients. He or she will engage you and your partner in therapeutic discussion to understand your concerns. The therapist may offer interpersonal communication strategies, teach relaxation and stress management methods, and
ask you to use educational resources such as books, videos or apps.
Keep in mind that difficulties in the bedroom are often linked to other underlying issues, such as stress, anxiety or depression. Sexual function can also be affected by chronic illness, medication side effects, surgery or aging. Your therapist will introduce appropriate strategies for addressing these underlying factors. This can lead to enhanced intimacy and better sexual relations within a few weeks.
A qualified sex therapist can be found through AASECT, or by asking your family physician for a referral.
TANTRIC SEX 101: WHAT IT IS AND HOW TO DO IT
If you are looking for something steamy and next level then check out this article on Mind Body Green on Tantric Sex. There are so many different ways to spark your love life that will make you come alive. Tantric sex is the ancient key to sexual pleasure and psychic power, attained through a set of rituals.
- American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors & Therapists.
- “Should We See a Sex Therapist?” Watson, Laurie J. Posted to PsychologyToday.com (4 Nov 2012). Accessed on 9 June 2016. Institute of Sexuality Education and Enlightenment
- Mayo Clinic. “Sex Therapy Overview.”
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