Aphrodisiacs are considered sexual enhancers. They are the foods or other substances that cause arousal or sexual desire.
It is believed that the nutrients provided to the body via these foods improves the health of sex organs.
There are a lot of drugs marketed by the pharmaceuticals specifically for boosting libido but mostly people prefer natural alternatives as they are safer and have fewer side effects.
7 Aphrodisiac Foods That Help Increase Libido
Maca is also known as Peru’s natural Viagra and is thought to increase energy, stamina, fertility, and libido.(1) It is one of the few natural aphrodisiacs that are backed by science.
It is a sweet root vegetable and serves various health benefits to the body.
A study done on mice reported an increase in libido and erectile function when fed on maca.(2)
Its libido-boosting effects on humans are also studied and had positive results as the participants experienced enhanced sexual desire after consuming maca.(3, 4)
It is also known to reduce the loss of libido which comes as a side effect of antidepressant drugs.(5) Though the dosage and long term effect are yet to be studied 1.5 to 3.5 grams of maca per day for 2-3 days is known to show an effective result.(6)
Saffron is the most expensive spice native to Southwest Asia. It is derived from crocus sativus flower.
It is often used as a medicine to treat stress, depression and enhance mood. It is an aphrodisiac for those taking antidepressant drugs.
A study showed improvement in erectile function in a group of men given 30 mg of saffron per day for four weeks.(7) A follow-up study on female showed an equally positive result. The females given saffron showed an increase in the level of arousal and increased lubrication compared to the placebo group.(8)
It also increases the sperm motility along with improving the sexual side effects of certain anti-depressants.(9)
Pistachios are extremely nutritious and are a rich source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
They are known to be beneficial for health as they help in lowering the blood pressure, controlling weight and reducing the risk of heart diseases.(10, 11, 12)
A study shows, consuming pistachio nuts increases blood flow to the penis and leads to firmer erections.(13) This effect is due to its ability to improve blood cholesterol and stimulate better flow throughout the body.
Fenugreek is well known in Ayurveda treatment for its anti-inflammatory properties and libido-boosting characteristics.
It contains a compound which can help boost estrogen and testosterone levels.(14, 15)
A study reported an increase in sexual arousal and orgasm in men who were given 600 mg of fenugreek extract every day for six weeks.(16)
A similar study, done on females who reported low sex drive observed a significant increase in sexual desire and arousal compared to the placebo group.(17)
Those taking blood-thinning medications should avoid it as it may cause minor stomach upset.
Red ginseng is known to cure various ailments in men and women including libido and sexual function.(18)
Like fenugreek, it may also interfere with the effect of blood-thinning medications and in the treatment of hormone-sensitive cancer and therefore should be avoided.
Ginkgo biloba is a herbal supplement and used in the treatment of many ailments including depression and poor sexual function.
It relaxes the blood vessels and improves the blood flow.(21)
The studies, done on people using Ginkgo Biloba and placebo show the mixed result.(22, 23)
Those taking blood-thinning medication should check with the healthcare professional before taking Ginkgo Biloba.
Tribulus Terrestris is an annual plant which grows in dry climates. It helps improve athletic performances, infertility, and loss of libido.(24) A study shows an increased sperm production in rats given Tribulus supplements.(25) The supplement also has proven effects in females in improving desire, lubrication and orgasm satisfaction.(26)
There are various other foods such as chocolate, oysters, honey, chaste berry epimedium, hot chilies, and alcohol, known to be having aphrodisiac properties. However, they still need some scientific evidence to support their effects.
It is important to know that certain aphrodisiac affects the action of certain medications, therefore make sure to check with the doctor before giving these foods a try.