For as long as humans have been mating and reproducing, they've been searching for ways to boost their drive and desire. Even today, people are frequently on the hunt for natural solutions, like herbal products or natural solutions, to make sex more fun (or as the case may be, more successful).
Take chocolate, oysters, and the ridiculously-named horny goat weed, for example - you've all heard these touted as aphrodisiacs, but do they actually work? Dr Michael Krychman, executive director of the Southern California Center for Sexual Health in the US, explains all…
The aphrodisiacs that don’t work
Dr Krychman and his co-author took a look at all published researched on the subject of aphrodisiacs that work. They look at 50 studies that examined the effects of herbs and commercially-available supplements. Their analysis, published in this month’s edition of the Sexual Medicine Reviews journal, found that oysters and chocolate probably don’t help.
While these foods contain ingredients that are important for healthy sexual functioning – like zinc and serotonin in oysters and caffeine and cannabinoid-like fatty acids in chocolate – no clinical trials have shown that either actually improves sex drive or performance.
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Other supposed aphrodisiacs, like saw palmetto, wild yam, rhinoceros horn, and yup, horny goat weed, also had no evidence to support the marketing claims often associated with them.
So what does work?
Natural remedies might be the most helpful
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Dr Krychman says that the root vegetable maca and the herbs ginseng, gingko buloba and tribulus terrestris seem to be the most effective aphrodisiacs. He warns that there’s not much evidence to support these claims, but the evidence that there is, looks promising.
If you’re looking to improve your sex drive, give one of these a try. But keep in mind that sexuality is complex. There isn’t a single magic food or miracle ingredient to fix every problem, Dr Krychman says. At the end of the day, there are many facets, most medical and psychological, that can affect both men and women.
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