Procreation was a serious moral and religious issue, and aphrodisiacs were developed to ensure both male and female potency. Premature ejaculation, retrograded, retarded, or inhibited ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, arousal difficulties (reduced libido), compulsive sexual behavior, orgasmic disorder, and failure of detumescence are all examples of sexual dysfunction. An aphrodisiac is a substance (food or drug) that stimulates sexual desire. The search for natural supplements derived from medicinal plants is intensifying, owing to the fact that they have fewer side effects.
Researchers have discovered and investigated scientifically proven local herbal aphrodisiacs for the treatment of sexual dysfunction.
Nutmeg, ginger or tonic root, saffron, date palm, tropical almond, goat head, and velvet bean are at the top of the list (werepe in Yoruba and agbala in Ibo).
SEXUAL dysfunction is defined as the inability to engage in normal sexual intercourse, which includes premature ejaculation, retrograded, retarded, or inhibited ejaculation, erectile dysfunction (ED), arousal difficulties (reduced libido), compulsive sexual behavior, orgasmic disorder, and failure of detumescence (uncountable).
The introduction of Viagra (sildenafil), the first pharmacologically approved medication for impotence, in the 1990s sparked a wave of public interest, aided in part by heavy advertising. The search for such substances has been going on for millennia.
An aphrodisiac is a substance (food or drug) that stimulates sexual desire.
Until now, the search for natural supplements derived from medicinal plants has intensified, most likely because they have fewer side effects, are readily available, and are less expensive.
Several studies indicate that available drugs and treatments have limited efficacy, unfriendly side effects, and contraindications in certain disease states. A variety of botanicals, on the other hand, are known to have a potential effect on sexual functions, supporting older claims while also offering newer hope.
Indeed, researchers have assessed various factors that influence sexual function and identified some botanicals that may be useful in treating sexual dysfunction.
A review of herbal aphrodisiacs conducted by Indian researchers from the Department of Pharmaceutics, Pharmacognosy, and Phytochemistry at Jamia Hamdard in Hamdard Nagar, New Delhi, India, identified plants with significant pharmacological activity.
The study, titled “Exploring scientifically proven herbal aphrodisiacs,” was published in Pharmacognosy Reviews.
“Demands for natural aphrodisiacs require increasing studies to understand their effects on humans and safety profile,” the researchers concluded. Because of the lack of safety data, unclear mechanisms, and a lack of knowledge to support the widespread use of these substances, the use of these products may be hazardous to humans. More clinical data, exact mechanisms of action, safety profile, and drug interaction with other uses of these aphrodisiac plant materials, as well as drug interaction with other uses of these aphrodisiac plant materials, can help treat sexual disorders.”
1. Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
Unani medicine considers the dried kernel of broadly ovoid seeds of Myristica fragrans (Nutmeg) of the Myristicaceae family to be beneficial in the treatment of male sexual disorders. In a study by Tajuddin et al., it was discovered that giving mice a 50 percent ethanolic extract of a single dose of Nutmeg and Clove, as well as Penegra, improved their mating performance. During the overnight experiment, only two males out of six control animals mated (inseminated) two females, whereas the remaining four males mated one female each. Nutmeg treated male animals mated three females each, except for two, which mated five females each. Three male Clove-treated animals mated two females each, two mated four females each, and one mated three females each. Four of the Penegra-treated animals mated five females each, while the other two mated three females each.
2. Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera, dabino in Hausa)
Phoenix dactylifera (date palm), a native of North Africa, has been extensively cultivated in Arabia and the Persian Gulf. In traditional medicine, date palm pollen (DPP) is used to treat male infertility. Bahmanpour et al. investigated the effect of P. dactylifera pollen on sperm parameters and the reproductive system of adult male rats in an experimental study. They discovered that consuming DPP suspensions increased sperm count, motility, morphology, and DNA quality, as well as the weights of the testis and epididymis.
The date palm contains estradiol and flavonoid components that improve sperm quality. The comparison of control and experimental groups revealed that DPP suspension consumption improved sperm count, motility, morphology, and DNA quality, with a concomitant increase in testis and epididymis weights. It did not affect the weight of the prostate or the seminal vesicle, or on the histology of the reproductive tissues. According to the result of the research, DPP appears to cure male infertility by improving the quality of sperm parameters.
Terminalia catappa is a large tropical tree that belongs to the Combretaceae family and has significant aphrodisiac potential. Ratnasooriya et al. discovered that giving T. catappa seeds at doses of 1500 mg/kg or 3000 mg/kg orally for seven days improved aphrodisiac action and sexual vigor in rats. In contrast, the higher dose (3 000 mg/kg, p.o.) reversibly inhibited all aspects of sexual behavior except mounting.
Diabetes and its complications (erectile dysfunction/premature ejaculation, leg ulcer/gangrene, liver/kidney failure), lung cancer, and sickle cell anemia can all be treated with Indian almond extracts, according to recent research.
Researchers from Nigeria and India used Indian almond extracts to repair the pancreas, which improved blood sugar management, sexual function, and liver/kidney function in diabetics.
Male rats were orally fed with 1500 mg/kg or 3000 mg/kg SS or vehicle, and their sexual activity was observed three hours later using a receptive female, according to a study published in the Asian Journal of Andrology. A different group of rats was given either 3000 mg/kg SS or vehicle orally for seven days. On days one, four, and seven of therapy, as well as day seven after treatment, their sexual behavior and fertility were assessed by pairing them overnight with a pro-estrous female.
In most mammalian placental females, the estrous cycle refers to the physiologic changes that are triggered by reproductive hormones regularly.
The 1500 mg/kg dose exhibited a strong aphrodisiac effect (longer ejaculation delay) but did not affect libido-sexual desire (percent mounting, intromission, and ejaculation), sexual vigor (mounting-and-intromission frequency), or sexual performance (intercopulatory interval).
The greater dose (3000 mg/kg) on the other hand, reversibly suppressed all sexual behavior parameters except mounting-and-intromission frequency and copulatory efficiency. The effects of high-dose SS were not caused by general toxicity, liver toxicity, haemotoxicity, stress, muscular deficiency, muscle incoordination, analgesia, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), or a drop in blood testosterone levels. They were caused by a high level of sedation.
The researchers concluded that the kernel of T. catappa seeds had aphrodisiac activity and could be useful in the treatment of sexual inadequacies like premature ejaculation. The findings also show that moderate use of T. catappa kernel seed could be beneficial in the treatment of men suffering from sexual dysfunctions caused mostly by premature ejaculation.”
Ginger or tonic root (Mondia whitei, isirigun in Yoruba)
Mondia whitei is sometimes known as white ginger or tonic root. It is an aromatic Periploceae plant that is generally known as Isirigun among Nigeria’s Yoruba ethnic group.
Many traditional medicine practitioners have utilized Mondia whitei, a member of the Periplocaceae family, to treat ED. It is used to boost libido as well as to treat low sperm count. Lampiao et al. studied motility parameters in human spermatozoa in vitro after water injection. In a time-dependent manner, the results indicated considerably improved total motility as well as progressive motility. These findings support the use of M. whitei, particularly in men with asthenozoospermia.
The aqueous and hexane extracts of M. whitei, according to Suresh-Kumar et al., improved sexual performance in sexually naive male rats. This is due to a reduction in sexually inexperienced males’ hesitation time when approaching receptive females, as evidenced by a significant decrease in Mounting Latency (ML). This suggests that the aqueous and hexane extracts of M. whitei work by causing changes in neurotransmitter levels, regulating neurotransmitter activity on target cells, or boosting androgen levels. It confirms the adrenergic effect of M. whitei aqueous and hexane extracts in chronic in vivo administration in rats.
Goat head (Tribulus terrestris)
The flowering plant Tribulus terrestris belongs to the Zygophyllaceae family. It’s also known as goat head, devil’s thorn, puncture vine, caltrop, and yellow vine. In Nigeria, it is a common herb.
It’s called Croix de Malte in French and Abrolhos in Portuguese. Dareisa in Arabic-Shuwa, tsaiji in Fula-Fulfulde, Hana taakama in Hausa (prevents swagger, in allusion to its thorns piercing the feet-a common expression) or tsaida (to stop because if a thorn pierces the foot, one must stop to extract it), kaije in Kanuri, tedo by the Koma people of Adamawa State and da ogun daguro in Yoruba.
Administration of Tribulus terrestris (TT) to humans and animals improves libido and spermatogenesis. Neychev et al. investigated the influence of T. Terrestris extract on androgen metabolism in young males. The findings of the study predict that T. terrestris steroid saponins possess neither direct nor indirect androgen-increasing properties.
It is also found to increase the levels of testosterone, luteinizing hormone, dehydroepiandrosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate.
The corpus cavernosal tissues obtained from New Zealand White rabbits following treatment with TT were tested in vitro with various pharmacological agents and electrical field stimulation and were found to have a pro-erectile effect. A study by Gauthaman et al. showed the androgen releasing property of the TT extract and its relation to sexual behavior and intracavernous pressure using castrated rats.
Fadogia agrestis (bakin gagai in Hausa)
Fadogia agrestis belongs to the plant family, Rubiaceae. It is called bakin gagai in Hausa, from gagai meaning aphrodisiac. It possesses significant aphrodisiac potential. Yakubu et al. evaluated the aphrodisiac potential of the aqueous extract of F. agrestis in Male rats. Their sexual behavior parameters and serum testosterone concentration were evaluated. The results showed a significant increase in Mount Frequency (MF), Intromission frequency (IF) and significantly prolonged the ejaculatory latency and reduced mount and Intromission Latency (IL). There was also a significant increase in serum testosterone concentrations in all the groups in a manner suggestive of dose dependence. The aqueous extract of F. agrestis stem increased the blood testosterone concentrations and this may be the mechanism responsible for its aphrodisiac effects and various masculine behaviors. It may be used to modify impaired sexual functions in animals, especially those arising from hypotestosteronemia.
Yakubu et al. studied the effects of administration of aqueous extract of F. agrestis stem on some testicular function indices of male rats. Compared with the control, extract administration for 28 days at all the doses resulted in a significant increase in the percentage testes-body weight ratio, testicular cholesterol, sialic acid, glycogen, acid phosphatase, and g-glutamyl transferase activities while there was a significant decrease in the activities of testicular alkaline phosphatase, acid phosphatase, glutamate dehydrogenase and concentrations of protein.
Velvet bean or Cowhage (Mucuna pruriens, werepe in Yoruba and agbala in Ibo)
Mucuna pruriens was identified as one of the plants used to boost sexual performance and virility in a study published last year in BioMed Research International.
Mucuna pruriens is a member of the Leguminosae family of plants. The spiky hairs on the ripe bean pods of the velvet bean plant are infamous for being extremely irritating to the skin.
It’s a well-known Indian medicinal herb that’s been utilized for centuries in Ayurvedic Indian medicine.
Mucuna pruriens has been proven to improve fertility by causing a dose-dependent increase in follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, which increased the number of eggs released during ovulation, presumably due to its high concentration of L-Dopa and its metabolite, dopamine.
In the albino rat, total alkaloids from M. pruriens seeds were reported to improve spermatogenesis and the weight of the testes, seminal vesicles, and prostate.
Sexual function in normal male rats was stimulated by M. pruriens, as evidenced by an increase in mounting frequency, intromission frequency, and ejaculation delay.
The male albino rats’ copulatory behavior was greatly improved by M. pruriens seed powder, including mount frequency, mount latency, intromission frequency, and intromission latency. At a specific dose (200mg/kg), ethanolic extracts of M. pruriens seed induced a considerable and sustained increase in the sexual activity of normal male rats.
Mounting latency, intromission latency, postejaculatory interval, and interintromission interval are all greatly increased while mounting latency, intromission latency, postejaculatory interval, and interintromission interval are all significantly decreased. The spermatogenic loss caused by Ethinylestradiol treatment to rats was successfully restored by M. pruriens.
The recovery is achieved by a decrease in reactive oxygen species (ROS), restoration of MMP, apoptosis regulation, and ultimately an increase in the number of germ cells and apoptosis regulation. L-DOPA is M.’s main component. Prospermatogenic qualities are mostly attributed to pruriens.
When diabetic rats were given M. pruriens seed extract, there was a substantial improvement in sexual behavior, libido and potency, sperm parameters, DSP, and hormone levels compared to diabetic rats that were not given the extract.
Treatment with M. pruriens seeds enhanced sperm concentration and motility in all infertile study groups in males in clinical research. After extracting the seminal plasma of all the infertile groups, the levels of lipids, antioxidant vitamins, and rectified fructose were restored, with a reduction in lipid peroxides. Sperm concentration was greatly improved in oligo-zoospermic patients, however, sperm motility was not restored in asthenozoospermia men.
Infertile men who took M. pruriens had higher levels of T, luteinizing hormone (LH), dopamine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline and lower levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and prolactin (PRL). Sperm count and motility were also dramatically improved. Treatment with M. pruriens enhances sperm quality and controls steroidogenesis in infertile men.
M. pruriens significantly inhibited lipid peroxidation, increased spermatogenesis, and improved sperm motility in infertile men, as well as improved total lipids, triglycerides, cholesterol, phospholipids, vitamin A, C, and E levels, and corrected fructose in seminal plasma.
M. pruriens significantly reduced psychological stress and seminal plasma lipid peroxide levels, while also increasing sperm count and motility. Treatment also restored the levels of seminal superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, glutathione (GSH), and ascorbic acid in infertile men’s seminal plasma. It reactivates the antioxidant defense system of infertile men, aids in stress management, and improves sperm quality.
Maca (Lepidium meyenii)
Maca, botanically known as Lepidium meyenii, is a member of the Cruciferae family. Peruvian ginseng, maka, mace, maca-maca, maino, ayak chichira, ayuk willku, and pepper weed are some other names for it. Maca is a Peruvian hypocotyl that only grows between 4000 and 4500 meters in the central Andes. In the Andean region, maca has traditionally been used for its supposed aphrodisiac and/or fertility-enhancing properties.
Bo Lin et al. investigated the effect of a purified lipidic extract from L. meyenii on the number of complete intromissions and mating in normal mice, as well as the latent period of erection (LPE) in rats with ED. Oral administration improved sexual function in mice and rats, as evidenced by an increase in the number of complete intromissions and sperm-positive females in normal mice and a decrease in LPE in male rats with ED. The study discovered L. meyenii’s aphrodisiac activity for the first time.
Gonzales et al. conducted a 12-week double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, parallel trial that compared active treatment with different doses of Maca Gelatinizada to a placebo. The study sought to test the hypothesis that Maca does not affect serum reproductive hormone levels in apparently healthy men when administered in doses associated with aphrodisiac and/or fertility-enhancing properties.