There are numerous reasons and treatments for a low sex drive in women. Stress, depression and aging are common causes. Rather than turning to prescription medications, natural homeopathic remedies can work just as well.
The Brazilian government has led research into more than 120 prosexual herbs, with three standing out as more effective than the rest. Catuaba, derived from the bark of the Tree of Love in the Amazon, has been studied for its aphrodisiac qualities, and has been found to promote erotic dreams in men and women. Within five to 21 days of taking the herb, patients reported increased sexual desire for their partners. Yohimbine, an extract from the bark of a West African tree, has similar effects on the dreams of men and women. It has also been approved by the Food and Drug Administation for erectile dysfunction. Damiana is derived from the leaves of a small shrub, Turnera diffusa aphrodisiaca, the name of which gives a nod to its prosexual quality. Those who take the herb report tingling and throbbing in their genital area, as well as increased blood flow and sensitivity in the clitoris (or penis in men).
Ginkgo biloba contains chemicals that relax blood vessels and boost circulation to the genitals, among other organs. Ginseng has also been reported to have an aphrodisiac effect in humans as it increases nitric oxide levels in the spongy tissue of the clitoris (and penis). Women with a penchant for vaginal dryness should look at Siberian ginseng, an herb that relieves this symptom; while still being researched for its effect in humans, Siberian ginseng enhances vitality through the normalization of sex hormone levels.
Damiana leaf increases sensitivity in the clitoris, stimulates sexual desire and pleasure, and strengthens the hormone system. Muira puama increases libido and helps hormone production. Black cohosh has compounds that mimic estrogen and balance the body's hormone levels. Licorice balances hormone ratios as well as alleviates stress. Coleus forshokli, aloe vera, guarana, black walnut and passion flower stimulate blood flow and increase energy.
Finally, St. John’s wort boosts the sex drive, enabling users to feel sexy and more confident in the bedroom. While usually prescribed for those suffering from depression and its symptoms, including low sex drive, it has the potential to heighten sex drive in middle-aged and older women in the absence of depression.
Homeopathic remedies for low sex drive are hormone-based. Those experiencing low sex drive are often prescribed testosterone or DHEA to normalize imbalances in hormones that can cause a loss of libido. There are similar, over-the-counter remedies such as Ovarinum (ovarian extract) that can be combined with lycopodium (ground pines), selenium (micronutrient), agnus castus (Mediterranean flower) or ambra grisea (sperm whale secretion) to raise the libido.
If your loss of sex drive is linked to stress or lethargy, phosphoricum acidum (phosphate minerals) should be an effective remedy.
Oats have been discovered to increase sexual desire, as well as performance, when taken with stinging nettle extracts. Fava beans produce L-dopa in the human body, which increases levels of dopamine; dopamine, in turn, improves mood and libido. Foods high in zinc, such as oysters, strawberries, yogurt, milk and shrimp, are also recommended to increase low sex drive since the mineral is known for its aphrodisiac qualities.
A variant of homeopathy, aromatherapy uses the therapeutic effects of the oils in medicinal plants. According to anthropologists, for over 4,000 years aromatherapy has been used to stimulate sensuality in India, Greece, Italy and Egypt. Smell is connected to the body’s limbic system, which is linked to centers in the brain that deal with arousal, emotions and hormone secretions. Sexual desire can therefore be triggered by certain smells. This is especially true for women, who have a more acute sense of smell. The best oils researched to boost sex drive include angelica, ambrette, benzoin, clary-sage, cumin, mace, nutmeg, patchouli, pimento berry, sandalwood and vetiver. Angelica specifically is known for stimulating low sex drive in menopausal women, or those with heavy, painful or irregular periods.
Some women may prefer hot or spicy aromas such as black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and ginger. Floral scents such as geranium, rose, jasmine and ylang-ylang give off heady fragrances that positively effect sex drive.
As always when taking supplements, read labels carefully and confer with your doctor, especially if you have health problems such as high blood pressure or if you are taking prescription medication. Some herbal remedies interact badly with other medications and can cause serious health problems.