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10 Natural Aphrodisiacs

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Updated June 25, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

natural aphrodisiac
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According to folklore, natural aphrodisiacs may help to raise libido and increase desire. They're being used by an increasing number of people to give their sex lives a boost.

But some of them may cause side effects or interact with medications and others haven't been proven. Here are the facts about 10 popular aphrodisiac herbs and supplements.

1) Ginseng

Ginseng is one of the bestselling herbs in the United States. In much of Asia, ginseng is prized as a revitalizer for the whole body, partly due to the human-like shape of the root.

For more on ginseng's health benefits, read my article on Ginseng.

2) Horny Goat Weed

According to folklore, horny goat weed's reputed aphrodisiac qualities were discovered when a Chinese goat herder noticed increased sexual activity in his flock after they ingested the weed. Find out more about the notorious herb Horny Goat Weed.

3) Fo-Ti

Fo-ti is also called he shou wu, which means "black-haired Mr. He" in Chinese. This name refers to a legend of an older villager named Mr. He who took fo-ti and restored his black hair, youthful appearance and sexual vitality. Check out my article on Fo-Ti.

4) L-Arginine

L-arginine is not a herb but an amino acid that has numerous functions in the body. It has been used for erectile dysfunction and is often promoted as a Viagra alternative. Get more info on L-Arginine.

5) Damiana

Damiana is a plant native to Mexico and the southern United States. It has been widely used as an aphrodisiac in Mexico for men and women. Check out my article on Damiana.

6) Tribulus Terrestris

Tribulus terrestris is a herb that has been used in the traditional medicine of China and India for centuries. It was only in the mid-90s when Eastern European Olympic athletes claimed that tribulus contributed to their success that tribulus became known in the North America. For more on this herb, read my article on Tribulus.

7) Tongkat Ali

Tongkat Ali is a tree native to Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. It was dubbed the "Asian Viagra" in a May 1999 report in the New Sunday Times. See Tongkat Ali for more about this herb.

8) Maca

According to folklore, ancient Incan warriors took maca before going off to battle to make them physically strong. However, they were later prohibited from taking it, in order to protect conquered women from their heightened libidos. For more on maca, read my Maca article.

9) Muira Puama

Muira puama, also called "potency wood" is a small Brazilian tree that grows across the Amazon river basin. It has a long history of use in Brazilian folk medicine as an aphrodisiac. For more information, see Muira Puama.

10) Yohimbe

Yohimbe is an evergreen tree that grows in western Africa in Nigeria, Cameroon, the Congo and Gabon. Yohimbe bark extracts are widely promoted online and in health food stores as a natural aphrodisiac to increase libido and treat erectile dysfunction. For more information about yohimbe, read the Yohimbe Fact Sheet.

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