2 All Natural Ways to Boost Sex Drive
Close to one-third of men over the age of 40 report some form of sexual dysfunction, which can be brought on by health conditions, stress, alcoholism and drug abuse, and the use of certain medications. And, of course, there is the issue of aging and the effect it has on your libido.
Tens of millions of men turn to drugs like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra for erectile dysfunction (ED), and the market for them now surpasses $5 billion a year.
Then there are the men who take the natural route, using herbs or supplements such as DHEA, epimedium (more commonly known as horny goat weed), folic acid, vitamin E, ginkgo, ginseng, yohimbe, zinc or fenugreek seeds to boost their sex drive and performance.
In a new study, researchers looked at the ability of another herb, kaempferia parviflora (also known as krachai dam or black galingale), both alone and in combination with exercise, to see what effect it may have on sexual motivation and performance.
Kaempferia parviflora is a member of the ginger family that is native to Thailand, and it has traditionally been used there to treat things such as inflammation, diarrhea, vertigo and heart problems. It has also been thought to enhance male sexual activity and reproductive function, and research is emerging to back up those claims.
In the study at hand, 40 male rats were randomly assigned to four groups of 10. One group was given ethanol extract of kaempferia parviflora for four weeks, another performed treadmill running at a moderate intensity for four weeks, and the third group received both the extract and exercise training. Finally, there was a control group that received neither.
At the end of the four weeks, researchers found that both kaempferia parviflora extract and the exercise training had measurable effects on the animals. Specifically, in all three treatment groups, the time it took for the male to initiate sex (an indicator of sexual motivation) and the time it took until ejaculation (an indicator of sexual performance) were significantly shortened in comparison to the control group.
However, when it came to what the authors termed “mounting frequency” (the number of mounts until ejaculation), only the exercise and the extract combined with exercise intervention groups saw an improvement. Both exercise groups also saw an increased number of ejaculations (another performance indicator) compared with the control and extract-only groups.
But the kaempferia parviflora treatment did decrease the amount of time between ejaculation and the next mount, i.e., the recovery period, when compared with the control.
As a side note, there was no indication that the exercise or the extract had any effect on fertility.
The authors concluded, “This study clearly showed that [kaempferia parviflora] or exercise training significantly enhanced aphrodisiac activity of male rats. Combined treatment with [kaempferia parviflora] and exercise had no additive effect.”
In other words, both treatments had an overall positive effect on sex drive and performance when looked at separately and combined, but combining them did not seem to make the results all that more, um, potent. However, given that they affected different sexual indicators, it might make sense to consider both avenues.
When it comes to exercise, the results may be due in part to an increase in serum testosterone. It could also be that the exercise training had direct or indirect effects on the brain and/or spinal neural circuits involved in sexual behavior.
As for the kaempferia parviflora, the authors hypothesized that the impact was related to an increase in blood flow to the reproductive organs as opposed to a change in testosterone levels. So, in addition to sticking with a moderate intensity exercise program, you could try this herb to give your sex life a boost. It comes in extract or capsule form, and also as an herbal tea. Look for it in a dietary supplement store or online.
Chaturapanich, G et al. Enhancement of aphrodisiac activity in male rats by ethanol extract of Kaempferia parviflora and exercise training. Andrologia. 2012 May;44(S1);323-8.
Emily Norris is the managing editor of Peak Health Advocate, a site devoted to bringing you the latest natural health news. Her career in financial publishing began in 2006, and she worked on numerous investing and options trading services and websites before switching her