For centuries, humans have sought out libido boosters in the form of foods, drinks, herbs, and plants that were believed to enhance sexual appetite when consumed. They may have been on to something. While many of these foods have been relegated to tall tales and fantasies, some may show promise in boosting libido in women of all ages. Here’s what the science has to say.
What we know about six natural sexual health products
- 1. Red ginseng: A small study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2010 monitored the libido of menopausal women who took red ginseng. Scores measured against the female sexual function index (FSFI) showed an increase in sexual desire in those who took red ginseng against those in the study who took a placebo.
- 2. CBD: This famous phytocannabinoid is less about increasing libido, and more about getting you into the right mindspace for pleasure. CBD can help you reduce stress and improve focus so you can let go of tomorrow’s to-do list and embrace the moment.* Consider products that can be part of your daily routine like our The Daily capsule, which blends 15mg of broad spectrum hemp extract with complementary oils, to promote balance from within on the regular. Looking for something more on-demand? A hemp extract-infused bath bomb can elevate a romantic, relaxing bath, or try our R+R cream for a stress-melting massage.
- 3. Fenugreek: This herb and its seeds are not only a delicious ingredient in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes, but it’s been found to have an impact on libido for both women and men.
- 4. Saffron: This treasured Indian spice may have implications beyond the kitchen.
- 5. Ashwagandha: This ancient plant has been hailed for centuries for its purported effect on sexual desire. While several studies have uncovered the plant’s positive effects on men, the research on women’s desire is emerging, yet promising.
The rumor mill: what about other foods or products?
There’s no shortage of foods, drinks, and herbs purported to boost libido, but many of them are rooted in legend and not in science. Here are some widely-discussed foods for women that may be little more than an old wives’ tale:
- Oysters: While some studies have observed oysters’ effect on libido in rats, human studies have not been conducted on this food’s impact on sexual health enhancement.
- Cacao: Sure, chocolate-covered strawberries and truffles in a heart-shaped box are romantic, but can they boost your libido? Don’t break out the chocolate bars just yet: while one study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that women who ate chocolate had higher female sexual function index (FSFI) scores than women who did not, the study also states that results categorized by age changed this conclusion. So while it may be delicious, the jury is still out on cacao’s impact on libido.
- Hot peppers. As legend has it, hot peppers and other foods that contain capsaicin, the component in plants that lend them their famous heat, can create spice outside the kitchen. However, these may generate heat in name only, as no study so far has conclusively linked capsaicin to increased libido in women or men.
- Honey: It might be sweet, but evidence that honey has an effect on sexual desire is little more than an analogy to love and romance in marriage.
Natural sexual health products: entering the right state of mind
Many foods and herbs have been touted for centuries as the key to an improved sex life. While many have been studied, not all of them shake out. Foods like oysters and honey with practically legendary status in the world of erotic foods have shown little impact once the science comes into play. However, that doesn’t mean that all rumored natural sexual health products are duds. Whether they have a physical impact or a mental impact, studied and scientifically backed compounds can help you unwind and be fully present and engaged in the moment.