Some Scientists Say These Aphrodisiacs for Women Could Actually Boost Your Libido

You might want to give one of these popular love potions a try.

Traditional herbal medicines in black background
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Sex, and how to make it better, has long been a topic of study — and a much-needed one: 43% of women and 31% of men report having sexual dysfunction, according to the . From ancient fertility deities to modern erectile dysfunction drugs, we've literally tried every so-called miracle cure in the pursuit of great sex.

Aphrodisiacs — named after the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite — are any food or drugs that arouse sexual desire or pleasure. But despite their long-standing history, the limited scientific research done on natural libido boosters has produced little clinical evidence supporting their effects, according to the .

Most recently, a team of scientists reviewed approximately 50 studies done on the most popular animal- and plant-based aphrodisiacs and OTC supplements on the market. Here's what , published in the journal of the International Society for Sexual Medicine in 2015, and other health authorities have to say about which ones pack the potency they claim.

Always consult your healthcare provider before taking any supplements and with any questions about your sexual health. A doctor can look into underlying medical conditions, offer suggestions, or refer you to a sex therapist or counselor.


Oysters

Worth trying? Not really.

Legendary lover Casanova supposedly downed 50 oysters a day to boost his virility and sexual stamina. Why? Because they contain zinc, which is essential for testosterone production. They also contain certain amino acids and serotonin, two factors linked to feeling pleasure. However, research has failed to connect the mollusks with actually enhancing sexual drive.

Any positive differences you personally experience from visiting the raw bar may stem from another reason: the placebo effect. Simply believing a certain food will get you in the right mood can make all the difference, according to .


Worth trying? Yes.

This herb is already a popular herbal remedy, but preliminary studies show that it may help with erectile dysfunction. Research on its effect on women is limited, but one type, Korean red ginseng, has been shown to boost sexual arousal in menopausal women. Ginseng is generally safe, the states, but may cause insomnia.


Chocolate

Worth trying? Nope.

Even the early Aztecs believed chocolate boosted virility — an attitude probably shared by loads of Russell Stovers-bearing men on Valentine's Day. Cacao does contain components linked to increased serotonin production, which was believed to boost desire. Heartbreakingly, though, the scientists found no evidence to support this claim. When they compared chocolate consumers and non-consumers, there was no difference. But don't throw out your chocolate bars yet: There is still evidence that it has other benefits from increasing heart health to boosting memory.


Worth trying? Yes.

This root vegetable, native to Peru's Andes region, has been used for centuries for fertility, arousal, and hot flashes. It's typically taken ground up . Researchers found a that indicate it might help healthy menopausal women with sexual dysfunction, as well as men with erectile dysfunction. While they acknowledge that more research is needed to determine dosage, they did find that maca is generally considered safe, but remember that the does not review or approve any dietary supplements for safety or efficacy.


Honey

Worth trying? Nope.

For centuries, honey has been attributed with injecting romance into marriages. (The term "honeymoon" is rumored to have originated in 16th century England with the newlywed tradition of drinking mead, made from fermented honey, for a month after their vows.) Unfortunately, no reliable studies prove it's aphrodisiac effectiveness. And researchers warn against trying "mad honey," a product made in Turkey that claims to be a sexual stimulant. Made from a specific type of nectar, it that can lead to heart complications.


Gingko

Worth trying? Maybe.

Ginkgo biloba is an extract from an ancient species of tree used in traditional Chinese medicine as a remedy for depression, sexual dysfunction, and other ailments as it may increase blood flow. But the research behind it is inconclusive and ginkgo can interact with other medications like Xanax, antidepressants, diabetes drugs, and even ibuprofen. The bottom line: The advises taking caution because even though taking ginkgo extract appears to be safe, it can also increase your risk of bleeding.


Wild Yam

Does it work? Nope.

In pill form, wild yam has been used to treat gastrointestinal issues. And the extract is added to creams that claim to ease menopausal symptoms and boost arousal. But the 2015 scientific review states that no studies found a significant sexual improvement for people using wild yam products.


Worth trying? Yes.

While researchers say most vitamins don't do anything significant to boost sexual function, they found that the combination supplement has more potential do the trick. A blend of vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, zinc, Korean ginseng, ginkgo, and Damiana leaf, it had a demonstrable effect on women's desire and satisfaction in . As always, consult with your doc before starting any supplement regimen.


Chasteberry

Worth trying? Nope.

Chasteberry (often sold as ) comes from the chaste tree and has long been taken for menstrual and menopausal concerns. And although some preliminary research indicates it may ease PMS symptoms, there is no evidence that it boosts desire. It may also interfere with birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, so definitely skip it if you take either, the recommend.


Addyi

Worth trying? Maybe.

Nearly 20 years after Viagra hit the market, the FDA finally approved a prescription medication for low sexual desire in women in 2015. Flibanserin — sold under the trade name Addyi — is a daily pill that may boost sex drive, but can cause potentially serious side effects like low blood pressure, sleepiness, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and fainting, especially if mixed with alcohol, according to the .

A doctor may also recommend estrogen therapy in the form of a vaginal ring, cream, or tablet to improve sexual function. Then there's always non-medical strategies like limiting alcohol consumption, getting more physically active (outside the bedroom, that is!), and simply talking with your partner about likes and dislikes, all of which can have a positive effect on sexual function and satisfaction.

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