Natural Remedies for Increasing Female Libido

Natural remedies for females sexual dysfunciton- DHEA, Gingko, L-Arginine, Damiana

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Sexual dysfunction refers to persistent or recurring problems during any stage of the sexual response. These problems can prevent an individual or a couple from experiencing sexual satisfaction and can cause distress.

Low libido is a type of sexual dysfunction. It refers to a reduction in the desire to engage in sexual activity.

There isn’t much scientific support for the natural treatment of low libido. Some people, however, do see improvement with the addition of natural supplements and lifestyle changes.

This article looks at supplements that are used to boost female libido. It also discusses the safety of these supplements and some of the other natural ways you might be able to increase your sex drive.

Common Causes of Low Libido

Low libido can have a number of causes, both internal and external. Stress, low self-esteem, relationship problems, and a lack of sleep can all contribute to reduced libido. Alcohol and drug use and some medications, such as those used to treat depression or cancer, can affect your libido as well.

Some medical conditions can also lead to a reduction in your desire to have sex. These include:

Low libido in males is easier to treat with medication, but it can have many of the same causes. Stress, relationship problems, medication, and depression can also contribute to low libido in males.

Natural Supplements

These supplements haven't been well studied, so it's hard to know if they can really be used to successfully increase female libido. Still, many people who have tried them have found them to be beneficial. Always make sure to check with your healthcare provider before you begin taking any kind of supplement.

DHEA

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone produced naturally by the adrenal glands. In the body, it is converted to the hormones estrogen and testosterone.

Levels of DHEA decline naturally with age. They can also be affected by a condition called adrenal insufficiency.

Both age and adrenal insufficiency have been associated with low libido. This is why researchers have examined whether DHEA supplements can boost libido in these groups.

There is some evidence that suggests that DHEA may help improve sexual function in premenopausal older women who are infertile. In one 2018 study, 50 women between the ages of 37 and 45 took DHEA supplementation and reported on their sexual function. The results implied that DHEA supplementation improved desire, arousal, and lubrication in those women.

Another study found that low-dose (10 milligrams) supplementation of DHEA for one year in postmenopausal women helped improve sexual function.

There is scant evidence that DHEA improves sexual dysfunction in premenopausal fertile women. Many studies have found that the effects of DHEA on sexual function are inconclusive. Studies have also had mixed results, with some showing no effect on libido and sexual function at all.

DHEA capsules and tablets

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Ginkgo

Ginkgo biloba is an herb that's been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. It is typically used as a remedy for:

In North America, it is most commonly used as an alternative treatment for cognitive function and memory.

There have been a few studies on the effectiveness of ginkgo for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. In one, ginkgo biloba extract was assessed for its short-term and long-term effects on sexual function in women with sexual arousal disorder. The study concluded that “neither short- or long-term administration of GBE alone substantially impacts sexual function in women."

Ginkgo capsules

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

L-Arginine

L-arginine is an amino acid that has numerous functions. The body uses it to make nitric oxide, a compound that helps to relax blood vessels and allow blood to flow through arteries.

L-arginine has been studied for its ability to treat female sexual dysfunction. Some studies have found that L-arginine is helpful for treating reduced sexual desire in women.

In those studies, however, the product given to participants often contained other substances in addition to the L-arginine. This makes it impossible to know if improvement was due to the L-arginine itself or the other ingredients in the formula.

L-Arginine capsules, powder, and tablets

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Damiana

Damiana (Turnera diffusa) is an herb used in traditional Mayan medicine. It is thought to enhance sexual function in both men and women. Damiana is said to be an aphrodisiac, stimulant, mood enhancer, and tonic.

The use of damiana as an aphrodisiac is somewhat controversial. This is because there is no scientific evidence that it works, yet it has been widely promoted as a sexual stimulant.

Damiana extract, herbs, and capsules

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Not Recommended: Yohimbe

The bark of an African evergreen tree (Pausinystalia yohimbe) was historically used as a folk remedy for sexual dysfunction. The active ingredient in the bark is called yohimbine. Studies have not found yohimbe to be effective for sexual dysfunction in women. Yohimbe is not recommended because it has serious health risks.

Other Natural Ways to Boost Libido

Because libido can be affected by many external factors, it may be possible to increase your libido with simple lifestyle changes.

Eat Certain Foods

As with dietary supplements, there is very little research into how eating certain foods might increase your libido. Many of these foods, however, have been used for centuries as aphrodisiacs, and proponents believe they can help. A few examples include:

  • Chocolate: When you eat chocolate, your brain releases endorphins. These are the same chemicals released during orgasm. Anecdotal evidence suggests that eating chocolate might help boost your sex drive.
  • Dates: This fruit contains amino acids like arginine. Like the L-arginine dietary supplement, dates are claimed to improve blood flow and increase sexual arousal.
  • Sardines: Sardines and other types of seafood contain high levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These substances help support the dopamine system in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that can improve sexual stimulation and arousal.
  • Strawberries: Strawberries contain vitamin C, which is involved in the stimulation of a hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin is linked to desire and orgasm.

Increase Self-Confidence

If you're suffering from reduced self-confidence, that can have a big impact on your libido. The first step in addressing this problem is to identify the underlying issue. Seeking help from a psychologist or psychiatrist is a good place to start. Making changes to your diet and exercise routine can also help you feel better physically, which can have a big impact on how you feel about yourself.

Reduce Stress

Stress can have a number of significant health consequences. These include:

  • Fatigue or reduced energy
  • Headaches
  • Digestive upset
  • Muscle tension and soreness 
  • Poor sleep

All of these things can contribute to a reduction in your libido. 

If you can, try to find ways to reduce your stress load. Since this is not always possible, it can be helpful to discuss your stress and symptoms with your healthcare provider. A psychiatrist or psychologist can also help you learn to manage your stress.

Get More Sleep

Poor sleep is associated with a number of serious health problems, such as:

Besides improving your libido, getting the right amount of sleep can dramatically improve your health overall.

If you aren't getting enough sleep, you can start by setting a regular bedtime and sticking to it, even on weekends. If you're suffering from insomnia, talk to your healthcare provider. Certain conditions like obstructive sleep apnea that can interfere with your sleep are treatable. It is important to know the reason for your poor sleep so you can work on getting the rest you need.

Safety and Precautions

There are many supplements available to treat female low libido. Still, you should be very cautious about using them. There is no way to know for sure that they are safe. Supplements are not strictly regulated for safety and effectiveness by the FDA the way prescription and over-the-counter drugs are.

Also keep in mind that the safety of supplements has not been established in certain people, including:

  • Children
  • People who are pregnant or nursing
  • People with certain medical conditions
  • People who are taking certain medications

If you're considering the use of a supplement or other form of alternative medicine to treat low libido, talk with your healthcare provider first.

Summary

A low libido can have many possible causes, including stress, lack of sleep, and medication use. Certain medical conditions can also contribute to the problem.

There's limited evidence that some dietary supplements may help improve libido. Use these with caution, however.

You may also have luck with lifestyle changes such as eating certain foods, reducing your stress level, and getting plenty of sleep.

A Word From Verywell

Low libido is a common problem, and it's natural to want to find ways to treat it. While there is some evidence that certain supplements might be helpful, it's important to remember that the research into their safety and effectiveness is limited. Always talk to your healthcare provider before you start taking a supplement.

It's also a good idea to discuss your low libido with your healthcare provider. It could be that you have an underlying health condition that is contributing to the problem. If so, your healthcare provider can prescribe medication or other treatments that may help improve your health and increase your libido, too.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What vitamins can increase a woman's libido?

    There isn't much scientific evidence that vitamins can improve female libido. However, taking vitamin C can help stimulate oxytocin, a hormone that is associated with sexual desire. Some studies have also found a relationship with vitamin D deficiency and reduced sexual function.

  • What are some causes of a low libido in women?

    Low female libido can have a number of different causes. Stress, lack of sleep, medical conditions like depression or a hormonal imbalance, and certain medications can all lead to a reduction in libido. Menopause is also closely linked with a reduced sex drive.

  • How long does it take for you to increase your libido?

    It depends on what the cause is. If your libido is impacted by stress or poor sleep, resolving these problems may increase your libido fairly quickly. If your low libido is related to health problems like depression, you may need to work with your healthcare provider to treat the underlying condition before you will start seeing an improvement in your sex life.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Cathy Wong
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.