Rediscover your most vital self with some herbal help from Jayney Goddard
As February is traditionally considered to be the ‘month of love’, I wanted to share with you some of the most potent herbs. These natural wonders can dramatically enhance your health, balance your hormones, boost your youthful vitality and noticeably enhance your libido! Why is this important? Well, often, when women notice that they just don’t feel sexy, or their desire for sex is decreased, it may well be a sign that hormonal balance is off kilter and I’d have to say, that nine times out of 10, a flagging libido can be a sign of suboptimal hormonal levels and compromised general health.
Most of us are familiar with herbs such as ginseng and rhodiola – both of which are effective health and libido boosters, so I wanted to bring you some that you may not have come across. These herbs have been used by women for millennia in cultures globally to help improve overall health and balance hormones. However, as with all herbs, it is vital to carefully check all labels and check with your health practitioner if in any doubt as to their suitability.
Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in ayurvedic medicine. Used for millennia, it has been shown to reduce stress hormones (including cortisol) which can disrupt endocrine function, increase deposits of fat around the midriff and contribute to premature ageing. Ashwagandha stimulates blood flow to female reproductive organs, therefore increasing sensitivity and arousal. This makes it a particularly popular choice among women who wish to derive more sexual pleasure or regain lost sex drive. Menopausal women also find that it helps to reduce anxiety, depression and hot flushes. Ashwagandha is a powerful ally in the fight against chronic inflammation, making it one of the most important pieces of the natural anti-ageing jigsaw.
This root, also known as ‘Peruvian ginseng’, has been used for thousands of years by the native people of the Andes to address issues such as infertility, hot flushes, sexual dysfunction, sleep disruptions and even night sweats associated with the menopause. As maca is loaded with phytonutrients and zinc, it is a commonly used aphrodisiac and libido stimulant; women who use maca commonly report greater sexual desire and improved sexual satisfaction. It’s something of an acquired taste, so it is best to start with a small dose. Work up to taking about a flat tablespoon per day in smoothies.
This is where the old saying ‘getting your oats’ comes from! Avena sativa is the Latin name for common oats, used for aeons to provide fast energy; it’s one of the reasons they are fed to racehorses. Scientific research now shows that Avena sativa is an effective libido enhancer and it also alleviates menstrual cramps, because it both improves blood flow and stimulates the central nervous system. Research suggests that it frees ‘bound testosterone’ (which is an essential hormone for sexual desire in both men and women) to make it more available throughout the body.
This herb dates back to the ancient Mayans who used it to improve sexual interest and desire. Recent research shows that it is a superb sexual ‘pick-me-up’ for both men and women. Several other studies show that a preparation containing damiana, ginseng and ginkgo increased sexual satisfaction in women. And two to three cups of damiana tea per week can make menopausal symptoms disappear for many women.
Also known as ‘horny goat weed’, Epimedium can help with loss of libido (as suggested by its nickname) but also has outstanding menopause-relieving effects. It has been found to act similarly to testosterone and is far more effective for some people than many current drug therapies, but without the side effects.
This herb, also known as ‘potency wood’, works to calm the nerves, relieve anxiety, fight fatigue, improve cognitive function and promote a healthy stress response, as well as increasing blood flow to the pelvic area. Many women who regularly take Muira Puama report increased sexual desire, more satisfying intercourse and more intense orgasms. In trials it has also been shown to improve bone density – which is good for osteoporosis sufferers.
This herb, used by women in Southeast Asia who wish to stimulate their libido and erogenous sensitivity, is often thought of as the greatest aphrodisiac known to humankind. As well as having the power to improve all aspects of our sexual response, it can boost energy levels, improve cognitive function and enhance resilience by regulating our responses to stress. Tongcat Ali also boosts testosterone levels, promoting all-round optimal hormonal balance.
Used for many hundreds of years in both Chinese and Indian cultures, Tribulus Testris has a long-held reputation as an aphrodisiac. A lot of women who use the herb experience increased arousal, better sexual satisfaction and improved health of the reproductive system. It also has a variety of other health benefits, including the ability to encourage the body to use hormones more efficiently, to reduce blood-sugar and to lower cholesterol levels.
If you’re considering using any of these herbs to balance your hormones, first have your hormone levels checked by a trusted healthcare professional. Most hormonal imbalances that women experience are subtle, and include tiredness, weight gain, thinning hair etc. and most doctors aren’t trained to recognise that symptoms like these may indicate hormonal imbalance. You might therefore struggle to get tests or even to get a doctor to acknowledge that you have a problem. Clients of mine have been told in the past that they should just expect all these symptoms at this time of life as that’s “just what happens to women”. This doesn’t sit well with me. And for this reason, I have curated an array of test providers on my website, JayneyGoddard.org, to help you navigate where it might be possible to have such tests done if you would like them.
Jayney Goddard is President of The Complementary Medical Association (The CMA) and the author of Rewind Your Body Clock: The Complete Natural Guide to a Happier, Healthier, Younger You. Visit JayneyGoddard.org
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