Do you want to improve your sex life? If you're like many people, the answer is “yes.” If the stresses, demands, or monotony of everyday life have cooled your desire, what can you do to bring back the fire?
For centuries, the root of the ginseng plant has been revered for its rejuvenating powers that are said to enhance vitality and sex drive in both men and women. Indeed, this ancient Asian herbal lore has helped to fuel the growth of the ginseng-supplement industry – making it one of the best-selling herbal remedies in the United States.
Uncovering Ginseng Benefits
So, can ginseng really improve your sex life? Is its status as an aphrodisiac merely the stuff of ancient folklore, or does scientific research back up the claim?
Over the past 2 decades, numerous controlled clinical studies have been conducted to assess whether ginseng can arouse or increase sexual response. Although some animal studies have suggested that Asian ginseng may help treat male erectile dysfunction (ED), there is little compelling evidence to date that suggests ginseng has the same effect on humans.
Because human sexuality is more complex than the physiological mating urges of animals, the results from animal studies do not necessarily translate to humans. What do studies with people reveal? Let's take a look.
A review of seven studies investigating the effect of Korean red ginseng on erectile dysfunction concluded that, while there seemed to be some suggestion that ginseng may have a beneficial effect on ED, the studies were ultimately too small and not methodologically robust enough to support the use of ginseng for ED.
Studies involving women are rare, due in part to the difficulty of establishing a standard means of measuring female sexual response. One study reported that a dietary supplement containing extracts of Korean ginseng as well as ginkgo and other ingredients improved the sex drives of female participants. But it is not clear how the supplement worked to enhance function, and further research is necessary to determine the role, if any, of ginseng. Clinical studies using consistent doses of pure ginseng are needed in order to assess the effect of ginseng on female sexual response.
Consistency and Claims
Variations in the potency of ginseng supplements pose another problem for consumers. The extracts in ginseng that are thought to be relevant to sexual function are called ginsenosides. However, because independent laboratory analysis reveals considerable variation in ginsenoside content among supplements, consumers can't be sure what they're getting when they buy ginseng supplements. Products could contain very little of the active ingredient or could be contaminated with other substances.
In addition, the makers of herbal products are not required to submit their health claims to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prior to marketing their products, so claims of ginseng benefits made by the manufacturer may not be evaluated or assessed before the products hit store shelves. Consumers may be seduced by product claims that don't stand up to scrutiny.
Diabetics who are being treated with insulin or similar medications could experience a hypoglycemic reaction from American ginseng. Ginseng has also been associated with episodes of hypertension and rapid heart beat, so it should not be taken if you have uncontrolled high systolic blood pressure above 180 mm Hg. And because ginseng also was found to inhibit a blood-thinning drug used during surgery, you should stop use at least 7 days prior to surgery.
Ginseng may not be the quick fix you were hoping for, but there are several other ways to improve your sex life, including eating healthfully, exercising, improving communication, doing exciting activities together, and avoiding substances that may put a damper on your efforts, such as alcohol and tobacco. These habits may help not only your relationship but also your overall health and happiness.
Is your sex life normal for your age? Find out with the SexAge Test.