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Ayurveda

9 Natural Aphrodisiacs to Boost Your Libido

If stress, meds, or hormonal shifts have zapped your sex drive, these fixes can rev it back up.

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If you haven’t been feeling particularly amorous lately, who could blame you? Everyone is just…exhausted. Stress and fatigue wreak havoc on our love lives. But low libido could be for any number of other reasons. Certain medications, physical and mental-health conditions, or hormonal shifts can also sink our sex lives. If the lack of libido lingers, bring it up to your physician to identify the underlying cause and develop a treatment plan.

After all, sex doesn’t just feel good, it’s also good for us. It can help the heart, keep the immune system strong, lower blood pressure, and improve sleep. When you’re doing it with a partner, there’s the added benefit of building an intimate connection with another human. But benefits abound even when you’re flying solo.

Ready to ramp things up between the sheets? We asked experts to share their recommendations for natural aphrodisiacs to get you the mood.

Ayurvedic aphrodisiacs

Self–oil massage: Move out of your mind and into your body with abhyanga, or self–oil massage. Self–oil massage nourishes and relaxes the body, allowing you to open up your most sensual and embodied self. It also moisturizes the body. It increases desire because it serves as a kind of foreplay. Any fragrant oil will do, but Ayurveda especially suggests frankincense and bala oils—aphrodisiacs that increase libido and help relax the mind. 

Chyawanprash: This Ayurvedic herbal supplement is a mix of herbs and ghee in fruit jam. It can boost stamina and support the reproductive system. Take a spoonful before foreplay to allow sweetness into the body. 

Womb meditation: In Sanskrit, the word yoni, or womb, translates to “portal between worlds.” Through the practice of Tantra, we can experience unity consciousness through the bliss (ananda) of our bodies. Sit in a quiet, comfortable place. Make a triangle with your hands and place them on your lower belly. Breathe deeply down into the yoni. Tap into how she feels in the moment and listen for any messages she has for you. Try my Wisdom of the Womb meditation.

— Sahara Rose, Ayurveda expert, author and podcast host

In-the-mood foods

The vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in food can help get you in the mood by relaxing the body and increasing blood flow. Try these:

Mediterranean diet: The meal plan emphasizes phytonutrient-rich fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and olive oil—a diet that has proven to regulate blood pressure and blood circulation. Low blood circulation can impact the ability to maintain an erection, which can lead to a decline in sex drive. 

Apples: The fruit contains phytoestrogens, the compounds in plants that mimic estrogen in the body. Apples’ reputation for increasing lubrication and satisfaction has come into question, but eating fruit is good fuel for your general health.   

Oysters: The sexy shellfish might live up to their aphrodisiac reputation thanks to their high levels of zinc, which has been associated with improved sperm production and hormone metabolism in men. 

— Jerlyn Jones, RDN, LD, owner of The Lifestyle Dietitian

Libido-boosting herbs

Damiana: This relaxant that has long been used as an aphrodisiac. Once or twice a day, drink a tea made with 1 teaspoon of dried damiana per cup of warm water (you can add a pinch of cayenne or a half a teaspoon of honey—also thought to boost libido) steeped for 7 to 10 minutes. 

Royal jelly:  Made by worker bees, it contains B vitamins and amino acids. Its anti-inflammatory and vasodilative properties may help sexual satisfaction, which can help you feel more stimulated. A small study of postmenopausal women found that royal jelly improved their sexual function. Drink ¼ teaspoon royal jelly powder mixed into a half-cup of warm water or nut milk. Or take an ⅛ teaspoon dose of liquid royal jelly twice a day. Caution: If you have a bee allergy, consult your doctor first.

Epimedium: Also known as horny goat weed, it is used in traditional Chinese medicine fertility formulas for both men and women. Its reputation as a sexual stimulant has not been proven in human studies. (Research found that it stimulates sensory nerves in the genital region of rats.) Blend together equal amounts of dried or powdered epimedium, goji berries, and Schisandra berries. Infuse 5 grams of the mix in a cup of warm water for 10 minutes, then drink.

— Cameron Allen, herbalist and astrologist at CADreamPlanet