Whether you’re 20, 40 or 60, you should feel good about your body and your sexual health. Get out from those covers you’ve been hiding under and let’s explore some natural remedies.
Don’t Underestimate Your Prostate
The most common form of cancer among American men is of the prostate, and it kills one man every 13 minutes, if it is not detected early enough for treatment (1). Along with conventional treatment, natural herbs such as saw palmetto and maca are important for prostate health. Holistic urology specialist Aaron E. Katz, M.D., says, “The best treatments from natural health heal more than the prostate issue that lead you to use them. Certain herbs used for prostate health reduce overall inflammation or inhibit prostate cancer” (1).
For example, saw palmetto is well known for its benefits to prostate health. “Use of this plant extract has been shown to be effective in terms of improving urinary flow rate and decreasing residual urine volume. As a result, the patient’s prostate may shrink back to a presumably more youthful state, reducing blockage of the urethra and eliminating symptoms of enlarged prostate without surgery or medical drugs,” according to Katz (1).
Maca also is valuable for prostate health. In a 2009 small animal study, researchers found “red maca reduced prostate weight at 21 days of treatment” (2).
Other important prostate health herbs include pygeum, stinging nettle and cranberry, to name a few.
Up, Up and Away
Between 15 and 30 million American men are affected by erectile dysfunction (ED) (3). Before popping the little blue pill, don’t shut the door on natural remedies that can help you enjoy a healthy sex life again.
Earlier this year, 50 men suffering from mild ED participated in a double-blind clinical trial (2); half were given a maca extract and the other half a placebo. The men that were given the extract “experienced a significant improvement in physical and social performance” (2).
Mario Dell’Agli, a researcher at the University of Milan, led a study on horny goat weed for impotent men. He said, “This could be the natural Viagra. The novelty is that we have synthesized a new molecule that one day may be able to replace Viagra (4). Although more tests are needed, this herb is said to “increase sperm count and semen density in men, and it supports adrenal hormone production in both sexes”(5). And, men reported fewer side effects with this herb than with vitality-increasing drugs.
Also, taking ginseng may lead to “improvements in the ability to achieve and maintain an erection” (5). Along with tending to ailments of men, this herb is beneficial for women’s overall sexual health too.
Simmer Down Those Womanly Woes
For women who are self-conscious about their sexual performance and reproductive health, buying sexual health products can be traumatic. But, know that you’re not alone. A survey commissioned by the National Women’s Health Resource Center found that 70% of American women have experienced a sexual health issue (lack of desire for sexual activity, inability to become sexually aroused, inability to have an orgasm or vaginal dryness) (6). So, fire up that sexy feeling and reduce the statistics the natural way.
Some women feel uncomfortable having sex because of irritation and vaginal dryness. Conventional products may irritate skin because they often contain petroleum-based chemicals (7). Natural lubricants, on the other hand, often add moisture without irritation. Common ingredients to look for in these gentle products are vitamin e, aloe vera, yam and chamomile. Some companies also formulate feminine lubricants with ingredients that increase blood flow for extra stimulation and a warming sensation. Ingredients used to achieve this tingling effect include cinnamon, rosemary, menthol and niacin (7). But, if irritation and discomfort persist, be sure to see your doctor.
For libido, experts say natural testosterone creams can help increase sex drive and improve sexual function in women. Look for creams that don’t contain l-arginine, as this ingredient may cause side effects such as flare-ups of herpes and cold sores in individuals already prone to these viruses (7). In addition, herbs said to improve libido include ashwagandha (to build sexual energy), ginger (to support hormone function), shatavari (to regulate hormone secretion and increase drive), horny goat weed (to restore sex drive), muira puama (to boost libido) and panax ginseng (to improve blood flow and energy).
Having the pleasure to experience and enjoy a healthy and pain-free sex life is essential. Since sex is a natural part of life, integrate natural herbs into your life and let the action begin. WF
1. A. Katz, Dr. Katz’s Guide to Prostate Health (Freedom Press, Topanga, CA, 2006).
2. B. Minton, “Maca Restores Sexual Health without Raising Hormone Levels,” www.naturalnews.com/026413_maca_health_sexual_health.html, accessed August 3, 2009.
3. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearing House, http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/impotence/index.htm#info, accessed August 3, 2009.
4. M. Kahn, “Horny Goat Weed May Offer Viagra Alternative-Study,” www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idINLP52257020080929?rpc=44, accessed August 3, 2009.
5. E. Kamhi, R.N., Ph.D., The Natural Guide to Great Sex (Godsfield Press LTD, Hampshire, U.K., 2004).
6. R. Preidt, “Women’s Sexual Health Issues Hit Home,” HealthDay News, www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_86095.html, updated June 25, 2009, accessed August 3, 2009.
7. “Waking the Sleeping Aphrodite Within,” WholeFoods Magazine, 30 (7), 43–45 (2007).
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, Oct. 2009