Natural Aphrodisiacs: Part One

Natural Aphrodisiacs

In the early days of the internet I was often bombarded with ads for penis extension, and given the prevalence of such ads, one would think that we were faced with a plague of unusually small members. Now, with the advent of algorithms, and the marketing companies figuring out where to target their ads, I don’t see such ads anymore. But back then the penile extension ads were only rivalled by the ones offering breast expansion.

Now, the concept of making the penis permanently larger is ridiculous, unlike breast expanding formulas, which are, in fact, much more likely to work. Since the breast can grow or shrink up to 25% during sex, or within the menstrual cycle, herbs known as phytoestrogens can actually work to some degree, on some women. Such formulas usually include saw palmetto, black cohosh, and/or fenugreek.   However, the penis is pretty much fixed at its size, though in cases of abnormally low testosterone, penis shrinkage has been documented.

Most of these extension pills are in fact more aphrodisiacal in nature. And in this area, herbs work quite well for men. Since men are simple creatures, you pretty much only have to increase their testosterone levels and their sex drive goes up. For women, on the other hand, things are a little more complicated. With them, the emotions and psychology are more involved in sexual satisfaction, and these things require less in the way of pills and more in the way of love and romance.

From an evolutionary point of view, this difference is based on man’s need to sow as many seeds as possible, while woman requires someone who will stick around the nest long enough to help raise the offspring (which evidently do leave the nest until well into their 30s, these days.) So, I’m afraid most (though not all) of this article will relate to men, since chocolates and flowers do not work in pill form, while testosterone boosters do.

Testosterone Boosting Herbs

There are many herbal supplements commonly used to boost testosterone levels. However, upon researching scientific databases, we find that some are lacking in scientific evidence as far as directly boosting testosterone goes. However, as we will see, even these herbs still seem to have an aphrodisiacal effect nonetheless.  Let’s have a look at the most commonly used ones.

Horny goat weed (Epimedium) is “an erectile aid and aphrodisiac used in Traditional Chinese Medicine that just so happens to also increase testosterone in research animals (has not been looked at in humans). May also be a cognitive booster and heart health agent”.   (Source)

Muira puama has a good scientific record for being an effective aphrodisiac. “One study conducted in men using 1000-1500mg of a 4:1 extract of Muira Puama noted that 51% of respondents reported an improvement in erectile function after 2 weeks of usage.”  (Source)

Tongkat ali (Eurycoma longifolia, also known as Longjack) “has a decent amount of evidence for aphrodisiac and profertility effects. Some evidence suggests antiestrogen and proerectile effects, too”.   (Source)

Tribulus terrestris is a herb from the Ayurvedic medical system, which is mostly recommended for male health including virility and vitality, as well as having benefits for cardiovascular and urogenital health. It is commonly used for its libido enhancing properties and supposed testosterone boosting properties.

On the sexual side of things, tribulus does appear to be a relatively reliable and potent libido enhancer in rats and the lone human study assessing this has confirmed an increase in sexual well being and erectile function.”   (Source)

However, in a clinical review of all such studies on herbs that supposedly can boost testosterone levels, both tribulus and maca (to be discussed further on) had no scientific evidence to support the idea that they can increase levels of this hormone.

The use of tribulus and maca were not scientifically supported to improve serum T levels in men. Moderate evidence supports the use of long Jack (Eurycoma longifolia), mucuna pruriens, ashwagandha, fenugreek, and black seeds (Nigella sativa) to increase total T and improve seminal parameters.”   (Source)


With referrence to fenugreek, one would need to consume massive amounts in order to boost testosterone. While there are clinical studies showing fenugreek to strongly elevate testosterone levels, these tests are done with standardized extracts: “Different types of glycoside extracts of fenugreek have shown androgenic and anabolic effects in males.”  (Source)

One such product now commercially available is TestoSurge, which can be purchased from online vendors.

With regards to Tribulus, other research I found confirmed that, even if Tribulus does not appear to raise testosterone levels directly, it still is of benefit for male sexuality: “Despite inconclusive evidence for use of tribulus as a T booster, it may provide advantageous effects on sperm parameters in men with idiopathic infertility.”  (Source)

Tribulus also has proven to be of much benefit for women: “After 1 to 3 months of treatment, premenopausal and postmenopausal women randomized to T. terrestris had a significant increase in sexual function scores. Three months of treatment with T. terrestris showed a significant increase in the serum testosterone levels of premenopausal women.”   (Source)

It is a little odd that tribulus can raise testosterone in women but apparently not in men. This discrepancy may be due to insufficient research, since tribulus works by first elevating levels of luteinizing hormone, and this hormone is a precursor to testosterone in men. However, in women luteinizing hormone is a precursor to follicle-stimulating hormone which is part of ovulation and fertility. So, in theory, tribulus should elevate testosterone in men, but only make women more fertile. Such are the limits of scientific research.

Black Seed

While black seed oil has proven effective at raising testosterone levels in mice, rabbits, and rats, there appear to be no human studies to confirm this, though it has a long tradition in the Middle East for enhancing fertility.  Nonetheless, considering the massive amount of other health benefits that black seed oil has proven to have (in humans), it is definitely one of our better choices.   (Source)

Furthermore, we must consider that prostate swelling is commonly associated with break-down metabolites of testosterone. Therefore products which boost testosterone too much can negatively affect the prostate, especially in those who already have prostate issues. So, one big advantage of using Black Seed is that it also can prevent the break-down of testosterone, thus helping to reduce prostate swelling, and it even lowered PSA levels (a benchmark of prostate health). However, just to be clear, these were also rodent studies.   (Source)


In part two, I will look at how we can increase testosterone without negatively affecting the prostate, things to be aware of when choosing a testosterone boosting supplement, and how both genders can gently balance out their sex hormones.

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