Often referred to as “natural Viagra,” maca is a Peruvian root used as far back as the ancient Incans to stimulate sex drive. Maca is rich in plant sterols, which in addition to boosting libido, are known for balancing hormones.
Some studies have shown maca to be effective at reducing symptoms of stress, though the reason is unclear. Maca powder can be easily added to juices and smoothies.
Gingko biloba is known to enhance blood circulation in the brain and is taken to improve cognitive function. Studies have found the herb also improves blood flow to other parts of the body, and some men find it useful in treating erectile dysfunction.
Women have also found the herb helps to improve libido. In fact, 65 percent of women who participated in a study at the Institute of Sexology in Paris reported an increased sex drive after taking a supplement containing ginkgo biloba and muira puama extract.
Long-promoted as an aphrodisiac, seeds from the South American fruit guarana work as a stimulant due to their high caffeine content.
If you’re simply too tired to get into “the mood” for love, this herbal supplement may be just what the doctor ordered. A 2008 study found guarana was effective in reducing mental fatigue and enhancing cognitive performance.
Native to Mexico, the damiana herb has been used for centuries to boost sexual desire and increase stamina and energy levels in both men and women. The herb was even used in margarita recipes to enhance relaxation and stimulate desire.
While most studies have been done in rats, the research does point to the herb having some effect on sexual function due to its flavonoid content.
Karen Morse, MPH, is a freelance health and nutrition writer. In her free time, she enjoys Pilates, exploring nearby hiking trails and cooking up fresh, seasonal eats in the kitchen. Her work has appeared in Clean Eating, Weight Watchers, YouBeauty.com and others.