6 Super Herbs To Help You Feel Sexier As You Age
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on April 29, 2010 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Since the days of the flapper – who embodied a new feminine movement in the 1920’s by attempting to eliminate womanly curves – the ultimate modern woman has seemed to be just that: young, scantily clad, and skinny.
Lingerie and exercise aside, women who are not as youthful find their libidos lagging. And for many of them, it’s the hormonal shift that happens as they age – which contributes to some major sexual dysfunction.
For the older woman who still wants to snog but has no spark, here are 6 all natural options to bring back the sex drive!
Does Getting Older Affect Sexiness?
There’s no doubt about it. For the older woman experiencing menopause, often times she’s not feeling it, or wanting to get it on.
Also called the “change” or “change of life”, menopause is a time when a woman stops being fertile and transitions into a different stage of life. In other words: she’s aging, and it’s causing a major hormonal shift.
For women who still have a uterus, menopause is defined as the day after her last final period; once 12 months have gone by with no menstrual flow at all, a woman is considered to be a year into postmenopause. Some people consider the word “menopause” to refer to the entire time a woman spends transitioning through this period – which can last for years.
However long the “change” takes, the menopausal woman no longer has to worry about getting pregnant. Because she’s no longer ovulating, she’s also not as inclined to have sex as she once was.
As a woman ages, her body changes. Her vagina becomes shorter and narrower, and the walls of the vagina also become thinner and a little stiffer. Common sexual dysfunctions for older women include:
- Not being in the mood for sex
- Trouble becoming aroused (vaginal dryness) and having orgasms
- Pain during sex or sexual activity
Most women will also have less vaginal lubrication as they get older.
The above are some major symptoms of menopause, and most women are aware that they are in this part of life as it happens. But for some women, it can be difficult to recognize that this is happening!
Symptoms of Menopause
Woman: know thyself. If your libido is lagging and you’re approaching “forever forty”, you may be heading for the change.
Here is a checklist of 34 menopausal symptoms:
1. Hot flashes, flushes, night sweats and/or cold flashes, clammy feeling
2. Bouts of rapid heartbeat, skipped heartbeats, irregular heartbeats.
3. Irritability, anger, suddenly crying for no apparent reason or provocation
4. Mood swings, sudden tears
5. Trouble sleeping through the night (with or without night sweats)
6. Irregular periods
7. Loss of libido (sex drive)
8. Dry vagina
9. Crashing fatigue
11. Feelings of dread, apprehension, and doom
12. Difficulty concentrating, disorientation
13. Disturbing memory lapses
14. Incontinence — especially upon sneezing, laughing
15. Itchy, crawly skin (feeling of ants crawling under the skin, not just dry, itchy skin Note: the feeling of ants crawling on your skin is called “formication”)
16. Aching, sore joints, muscles and tendons
17. Increased tension in muscles
18. Breast tenderness
19. Headache change
20. Gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain, nausea
21. Sudden bouts of bloat
23. Exacerbation of any existing conditions
24. Increase in allergies
25. Weight gain
26. Hair loss or thinning, head or whole body, increase in facial hair
27. Dizziness, light-headedness, episodes of loss of balance
28. Changes in body odor
29. Electric shock sensation under the skin
30. Tingling in the extremities
31. Gum problems, increased bleeding
32. Burning tongue
33. Osteoporosis (after several years)
34. Brittle fingernails, which peel
Conventional VS Natural Treatments
Conventional treatments for women experiencing menopause, and who have extreme discomfort, can range from hormonal replacement therapy to antidepressants. But these prescription treatments can cause a host of side-effects, including loss of libido – one symptom older women want to help treat!
Thankfully, there are natural alternatives for women who want to increase their sex drive.
6 Herbs That Promote Female Libido
Herbs have been used for centuries by indiginous people to enhance libido. From making teas to chewing leaves, native remedies derived from plants have offered women safe ways to balance hormones – and stimulate their sex drives.
Many herbs work by increasing circulation – enhancing blood flow to the genitals – reducing stress, and improving brain function. With such actions, a woman’s body is more relaxed yet energized, greatly aiding sexual function.
Here are 6 tried and true herbs that still help a woman feel hot under the collar:
1. Dong Quai: Dong Quai is an herb used to rebalance a woman’s hormonal system, and to relieve symptoms of imbalances. A famous Chinese herb used for many menstrual irregularities, Dong Quai has been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Considered the “female Ginseng”, it is the most important female herb in China. It has been bringing relief to millions of Asian women with hormonal issues.
2. Ginseng: Ginseng is an herb that is classified as an “adaptogen”, an herb that can help the body endure physical, chemical, and environmental stresses. Known also as “man root”, since it often grows in the shape of a body, this herb can help promote and strengthen vitality, giving more mileage to the body. American Ginseng has a long history of use in Native American medicine, often used to increase vigor and vitality. An ancient native remedy, American Ginseng was used by many American tribes to boost energy levels, as well as to enhance a strong sex drive. The root contains ginsenosides, which are the substances that are thought to give ginseng these benefits.
3. Ginko Biloba: Ginkgo Biloba is one of the oldest tree species in the world – and also known as “maiden hair”. Its leaves have received world wide attention for their unique health benefits. These Ginkgo Biloba leaves are one of the most extensively studied herbs on the planet. And for good reason… they contain natural substances that encourage brain health and mental sharpness. According to Dr. Ruth, sex therapist extraordinaire, the sex drive exists in our brains – and Gingko surely boosts brain power!
4. Maca: Maca is a plant root, with origins high in the Andes mountains. It has been used for centuries since the native Inca, mostly to increase energy, sex drive and stamina (its effects have been compared to Viagra!). Unlike many stimulants, though, it has no caffeine and therefore no buzz. It’s also supposedly been used to treat depression.
5. Ashwagandha: A root used in the ancient Ayurvedic medicinal system to enhance energy. It also helps to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, which can actually inhibit a woman’s sex drive. It doesn’t hurt that this herb’s name literally translates to “sweaty horse” in Sanskrit (the ancient Indian language) – a sexy association for some.
6. Damiana: There’s a reason Latin lovers are called hot blooded. They’ve purportedly been enjoying Damiana, a shrub that grows in the hot climate of central America, to boost libido for thousands of years! It’s most popular folk-use has been as an “aphrodisiac”, which is an agent that increases sexual arousal.
Herbs can come in a variety of forms: powdered capsule, tablet, liquid, or tea. No matter what form, it’s important to keep with recommended dosages and maintain the length of treatment.
Do Men Have Menopause?
Men definitely have hormonal shifts, just like women. There is a theory that men go through a significant hormone shift during midlife, but since their testosterone levels drop as they age, they don’t have the same “drop off” as women do (estrogen drops like a weight at a particular point for women: hence, menopause).
The theory goes that when a man’s testosterone level reaches a certain low level, issues like erectile dysfunction can occur. As testosterone drops, libidos can drop off.
Just like for women, treatments are available for men – both conventional and natural.
For the woman transitioning to a more mature age, not feeling sexy can be frustrating and even debilitating. It’s the hormonal shift that can put a lock on her sex life – but these hormones can be balanced naturally.
Add to that eating healthfully, exercising and communicating with one’s partner, will not only spice up the sex but add to overall happiness!
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan