Nurturing Our Sexual Selves: Herbs and Habits for Higher Libido
One of the greatest gifts of being a woman today, is the freedom we now have to openly pursue pleasure and explore our sexual selves.
Despite this, many women feel disconnected from their sensuality, or experience a low sex drive. A busy life, stress, exhaustion and a demanding family can all get in the way of connecting with your sexual self, and connecting with your partner intimately.
Vitality, desire and pleasure are our natural state as human beings, so when our libido is very low, it can be an early warning sign that we need to get back into alignment and give our body some attention.
Here are some essential steps to balance your body and restore your libido.
- Deal with Fatigue
Sex and reproduction are not vital functions for survival of the body, so they will be the first to go when we are exhausted, burnt out and adrenally fatigued.
Extended periods of stress and overwork force our bodies to produce more adrenal hormones, using up the ingredients we would otherwise use to produce the correct sex hormones.
The first step in dealing with fatigue is to make sure you get adequate rest. There is no real way around this. Get to bed early, take time out and have regular breaks.
Herbs that support libido loss from fatigue are generally strengthening tonics that work best after a few weeks of use. Regular use of these herbs will not only increase your libido, but also your energy and general well-being.
The most prized tonic in Ayurvedic, or traditional Indian medicine, is Ashwagandha. Unlike the Chinese Ginseng, it is a gentle herb that calms as well as strengthens. It boosts fertility and libido in both men and women, and increases energy and stamina. Being a calming herb, it is perfect for people who feel exhausted and stressed, often described as ‘tired and wired’.
As the name implies, this Chinese herb is well-regarded for boosting libido. What is less well known is that it is especially indicated in the time leading up to menopause, for women in their 40s/ early 50s. What’s more, as a Kidney Yang, Kidney Yin, and Liver Yin tonic it is excellent for exhausted, depleted people that have been working too hard for too long.
Traditionally it is taken steeped in wine, but a cup of tea with some honey also works well.
- Get out of your head and into your body
Sex is such a fantastic way to stop thinking and start feeling, but paradoxically, being too ‘in our heads’ can prevent us from opening to our desires.
Stress and busy-ness are serious mood killers, so learning how to drop into your body is an important way to set the scene. A hot bath, exercise and massage are all lovely ways to become more embodied, but there are some great herbs to help as well.
This herb is sometimes difficult to find, but it produces a relaxed, embodied state that some people swear by for getting into the mood once a busy day is over. Native to Fiji, the root of Kava is traditionally ground and mixed with water to make an intoxicating social drink. Kava is also an excellent herb for anxiety and stress, and has a reputation for eliminating recurring UTIs.
CBD Oil/ Cannabis Oil
CBD oil is an excellent muscle relaxant, is anti-cancerous and also anti-epileptic. Many people find cannabis oil helps them de-stress, sleep deeply and deal with pain. This herb may be best indicated for you if you experience anxiety around sex or any sexual pain, although depending where you live, it might not be legal!
- Fan the flames of the body’s fire
In Traditional Western Herbal medicine, the element of fire is the source of stimulation, sexuality, ambition and inspiration. Feeling flat, uninspired and unmotivated, are signs that your fire may be low. Physical signs are cold hands and feet, lethargy and weak digestion.
Damiana is a wonderful Mexican herb that has been prized for centuries as an aphrodisiac and sexual tonic for men and women alike. It is a warming and uplifting herb that also battles lethargy and depression (Ross .
Many women find that a cup of damiana tea with a little honey (or a damiana liqueur) has an immediate effect on desire. For more significant results, though, try an afternoon cup of damiana daily for 5 days.
This delicious warming spice was once more valuable than gold. Its spiciness boosts circulation and warmth in the body, whilst its sweetness tonifies and strengthens. It is considered to ‘warm the uterus’ in Chinese Medicine, and stimulates sexual desire. It’s also a great herb for bloating and gas, and is often used in colic. Try simmering some cinnamon quills in water for a delicious tea, or simply add half a teaspoon of powdered cinnamon to hot chocolate or coffee.
- Understand your Trauma
Many women have experienced sexual trauma at some point during their lives, whether mild or severe, and unfortunately this is likely to affect our sexual expression in long term relationships. Talking about pain, confusion or past experiences around sex with a close friend or a qualified counsellor is something we all need to do from time to time.
Being brave enough to delve into these topics can be a real gift for our emotional wellbeing as well as our love lives.
When faced with the demands of children, work and creative projects, too many women just give up on an enriching sex life. This doesn’t have to be the case.
With some healthy habits and some herbal assistance, you can nourish your libido and reclaim your desire.