Ginseng is a mysterious root that has always captivated the Eastern medical community. Authentic ginseng, from the species Panax, is used in traditional Chinese medicine as a healing agent to treat fatigue, reduce stress and fight infection.
But what are the sexual benefits of ginseng and can this root really improve the experience in the bedroom? In other words, why is ginseng an aphrodisiac?
What is Panax ginseng?
Before we get into how ginseng may help sexual health and sexual performance, it is important to understand what it is. Panax ginseng goes by many names including Chinese ginseng, Korean ginseng and Asian ginseng. It is a plant that grows in the mountains of East Asia.
It is an herb that contains many active chemicals, the most talked about when it comes to sexual health include ginsenosides or panaxosides.
Panax ginseng is just one of many ginseng plants. Scientists involved in the study of ginseng indicate that all ginseng plants share similar healing properties. However, in my research, the study of ginseng’s effects on sexual health tends to investigate Asian ginseng.
Science-based studies help prove why ginseng is an aphrodisiac
Many foods used historically as aphrodisiacs have the power to increase energy levels. So you won’t be surprised to learn that boosting energy is part of ginseng’s reputation. And a 2010 study proves that ginseng polysaccharides are actually anti-fatigue. This means ginseng may not only help you feel energized but sustain energy.
One of the herb’s most talked-about health benefits is the fact that ginseng is now also recognized for its anti-inflammatory properties. This is good news for sexual health since inflammation can prevent good blood flow. (Problems with blood flow are associated with low libido and the ability to achieve climax.)
Sexual benefits of ginseng for women
When we discuss the sexual benefits of any food or herb, the conversation is often about how the ingredient can support men’s sexual health. But in the case of ginseng, the herb is scientifically proven to support women as well as men.
Ginseng may improve women’s sex drive. In a randomized controlled trial published in 2010, female, menopausal subjects taking ginseng capsules daily showed an increase in sexual arousal as compared to the placebo group.
Later, in a 2015 study on Korean red ginseng and premenopausal women’s sexual arousal, scientists found that the ginseng improved sexual function.
Unfortunately, the research of just how much ginseng can help women enjoy the most fulfilling sex lives is still in its infancy. But this herb shows definite promise in helping women fully enjoy their sex lives.
Ginseng for erectile dysfunction
The most exciting findings on ginseng and sexual health are those on ginseng and erectile dysfunction. A 2014 study showed promising results that compounds in ginseng could reduce oxidative stress and improve erectile function. (Mind you, this controlled study was performed with rats, not humans as the subjects.)
Additional studies show that Korean red ginseng may promote nitric oxide production.
But the most promising research may be from a 2009 study of 86 men. The results showed significant improvement in erectile function and overall sexual satisfaction in participants after taking ginseng daily for eight weeks.
Keep in mind that all of the studies on Panax ginseng and erectile dysfunction were relatively small and more research is needed to truly understand the potential of this herb to support men’s sexual health.
Before starting ginseng for treating erectile dysfunction, please discuss the potential side effects and proper dosage with your doctor.
Can ginseng improve reproductive health?
Ginseng is not only linked with improving men’s sexual function but with the potential for improving men’s reproductive health. The herb is linked with improved quality and quantity of sperm.
So can ginseng help couples trying to conceive?
Research shows that the plant may work in powerful ways to help men improve their reproductive potential. However, according to one 2013 paper, much more research is needed to understand the potential of ginseng to support male reproductive health.
Possible side effects
Like many herbal supplements, ginseng is associated with several side effects, which should be taken into consideration before any use of this herb:
- Because ginseng has an effect on blood sugar, diabetics should take extra caution with using this root.
- Panax ginseng can also interfere with blood clotting and should not be taken by anyone on blood thinners without first seeking medical advice.
- Taking high doses of ginseng has been known to cause nervousness and headaches. Consult a physician to find the right dosage for your body.
- Ginseng can also cause insomnia and it is recommended that if you are taking supplements, avoid taking them at or near bedtime.
But if it is used correctly, ginseng may have a positive impact on your sex life.
This article was written in 2010 and most recently updated in February 2022.
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