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11 Herbs for Sex Drive and Libido

11 Herbs for Sex Drive and Libido

Looking for a new way to improve your sex life? There are plenty of aphrodisiacs out there but it can be difficult to decide which is the best for you. You may have considered medication such as Viagra at some point but been put off by possible side-effects or other concerns. Have you tried going the natural route instead? There are a number of libido-boosting herbs you can try, many of which have solid scientific research behind them. We’ve broken down some of the better-known one’s for you, so you don’t have to – and you can focus your energy in the bedroom instead.


Disclaimer: No medicinal or therapeutic claims are being made or meant to be implied. The information here is for general information and to provide insight into how tonic herbs, medicinal mushrooms and adaptogens have been used historically and are still used by many for general health and wellness. Use your best judgment, seek out good advice and use the herbs moderately. In this way, you will enjoy them immensely and may benefit in many ways. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Aether Herbalist & Apothecary products have not been certified to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Bangalala (Eriosema kraussianum)

Also known as Africa’s Viagra. Need we say more? Bangalala is actually the Zulu word used to describe a variety of tonic herbs, with Eriosema kraussianum being the most potent. It’s been used by African men for sexual energy for centuries – and that’s a pretty good endorsement. Studies have shown that extracts from the plant have hypoglycaemic and vasorelaxant effects, which are probably responsible for its effectiveness in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. The traditional means of consumption is to take milk infusions or decoctions of the plant’s root 2 to 4 hours before sex for maximum benefit. Why milk? It reduces the rate of absorption from the gastrointestinal tract and so prolongs the duration of action. In other words, it allows you to maintain your erection for longer – so more chance of satisfaction in the bedroom.

Gokshura (for him)

Gokshura is commonplace in traditional Chinese & Ayurvedic medicine and one of the earliest aphrodisiacs used by ancient populations. It is also popular as a dietary supplement in Western countries, where it can be bought as powder, capsules or tablets. Often, it is marketed as a means to increase testosterone levels but this has only really been proved in animal studies. That doesn’t mean it’s useless, though. In fact, a study into the efficacy of Gokshura in male sexual dysfunction showed it increased intercourse satisfaction, orgasmic function, sexual desire and overall satisfaction. In summary, it’s a great libido-booster. And the benefits don’t stop there. Gokshura can also help to improve blood circulation and the transport of oxygen around the body, as well as boost physical performance. Why not try it as your next pre-workout – whether that’s in or outside the bedroom.


If you haven’t heard of the others on this list, you’ve almost definitely heard of ginseng at some point. You may have tried ginseng tea or seen it listed as an ingredient in products marketed for elevated performance, such as Monster energy drink.

Another one of its most-researched effects is the boost it gives to the immune system – plenty of studies have been conducted into its beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. But those aren’t the only reasons it’s one of the most popular herbal medicines. Research has also shown its benefit in improving sexual satisfaction, most commonly in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. No matter the reason you might start taking it, we can almost guarantee you’ll be grateful for this addition to your diet.

Entengo (Mondia whitei)

Commonly known as white’s ginger or tonic root, M. whitei is a medicinal plant endemic to Africa. Its uses differ between ethnic groups, which use it to treat ailments ranging from nausea to ringworm. The root of the plant is the most popular organ used in traditional medicine and it gives off a distinctive vanilla aroma. M. whitei has been studied particularly for its aphrodisiac activity, specifically its ability to overcome erectile dysfunction. Doses of the root extract in solution have been shown to improve and sustain an erection, as well as to cause an increase in erectile frequencies. Additionally, it has been investigated for its ability to enhance sperm motility, meaning it helps with low sperm count.


Maca is another one you’ve probably heard of before. It’s also a root but comes from Peru, where it grows exclusively in the central Andes. There is a ton of anecdotal information about its usefulness, but most scientific studies about its aphrodisiac properties have been done on animals rather than on humans.The first study of this kind was done on mice, revealing that oral administration of maca results in enhanced sexual function, evidenced by an increase in the number of intromissions (in other words, more sex).

While subsequent studies have so far failed to show maca affecting serum reproductive hormone levels in men, it has been proved that it does in fact improve sexual desire as compared to a placebo.These investigations were done with healthy men as the subjects so it still may be the case that maca is beneficial for those with sexual dysfunction. In any case, Maca is a nutritionally rich superfood, full of protein and fibre, making it incredibly good for your health. And what better place to start your journey to better sex than with a healthy body?

Love Reed / Love Root (Typha capensis)

Love reed – it’s all in the name. This “love reed” or bulrush is an indigenous plant growing in South Africa’s wetlands, commonly used for its medicinal benefits. It’s an incredibly versatile plant, and its leaves, seeds, rhizomes and pollen are all used in making decoctions. The love reed’s most-studied effects are on male reproductive functions, including potency and libido. It increases production of testosterone, which makes it a potential treatment for male infertility and problems accompanying male ageing. It has uses in females too – the rhizomes are traditionally used for pregnancy-related purposes, such as the enhancement of female fertility, the strengthening of uterine contractions during childbirth and the easy removal of the placenta.


Ashwagandha is another popular adaptogen of the Ayurvedic system and is often referred to as “Indian Ginseng”. It can be traced back directly to Atreya Punarvasu, the sage whose teachings founded the six schools of Ayurveda. Translating to “the smell of a horse” for its pungent odour, it might not sound particularly enticing … except when you consider this is also a reference to it possessing the power of a stallion. It is best known for its ability to ease stress by reducing cortisol levels and is often used by those struggling with anxiety or depression. Makes sense why it’s so popular at the moment.

And if sex is usually your stress-reliever of choice, Ashwagandha can help with that too. It improves sexual function in women, helping to boost arousal, lubrication, orgasm and satisfaction. And the reproductive benefits aren’t limited to women – this wonderful herbal ally may also help increase testosterone levels in men.

Horny Goat Weed

This one speaks for itself. This aptly named herb supposedly got its name thanks to a Chinese goat herder who claimed his goats were, um, hornier after eating the leaves of the plant. It has, in fact, been used for centuries for sexual enhancement and this reputation as an aphrodisiac is what has made it famous. In women, it is often taken as to increase libido, but is also meant to be useful in treating osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, which many post-menopausal women suffer from. In men, it is used to treat sexual dysfunction, helping them to achieve and maintain an erection.

We hope this list gave you a good idea of all the incredible libido-boosting herbs that are out there and assured you that natural options are often great alternatives to synthetic medication. Hopefully, you’ll be trying one of these soon and seeing the amazing effects – both to your sex life and to your life in general. As always, remember that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to herbal medicine, so you may have to try a few of these before you find what works best for you and your needs. We produce many of the medicines on this list on our farm in the Eastern Cape and feel privileged to work with these plant and mushroom allies.

Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or need assistance deciding which product to purchase.

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References :


Compiled by Ricky-Anne (Aether Herbalist and Apothecary)


Brusie, C. (2017). Adaptogenic Herbs: Benefits and Effectiveness. [online] Healthline. Available at: [Accessed 6 Mar. 2020].

Panossian, A. ans Wikman, G. (2010). Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress – Protective Activity. Pharmaceuticals, [online] 3(1), pp .188-224. Available at:

Time. (n.d.). What Are Adaptogens and Why Are People Taking Them?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Mar. 2020].