Stress, work, kids, bills, obligations. They can all get on top of us from time to time.
Very often it’s our most intimate relationships that suffer. If you’ve lost that loving’ feeling here’s some tips for getting it back.
What we may simply call our energy – or lack of it – the unquantifiable thing that makes us tick, is often referred to in Western natural medicine as the life force or ‘vital force’.
In Chinese and other Eastern medicines it is known as the ‘chi’. By whatever name we call it the philosophy behind all natural medicines considers that it is this energy that holds the key to our body’s health.
When this energy is low, the body is susceptible to illness, whether physical or mental. In our fast-paced world the drains on our energy are all around us: cigarette smoking, alcohol, obesity, excess consumption of fat, salt and sugar in processed foods, inadequate exercise and stress.
Everyone is different
How each individual responds to these demands will differ from person to person but it is common for a body lacking vitality and ease to be unable to express itself in a healthy sex life.
If a good sex life is an expression of the body’s overall well-being, steps must be taken to counter the effects of stress on the physical and emotional levels and enhance the level of vitality.
In addition, there are a number of natural remedies that have a tradition of use as specific tonics to the reproductive system and as aphrodisiacs, working to stimulate sexual desire and performance.
For any problems of a long-standing nature then best results will come from a visit to a natural health practitioner, such as an acupuncturist, herbalist, homoeopath or counsellor/psychotherapist.
Foods to spice things up
Nourishing foods to enhance sexual energy include all sorts of seeds, beans and nuts that have the potential for growth, especially fenugreek, fennel, black beans, mung beans and walnuts.
Certain spices are good too, such as ginger and cinnamon, onions, garlic and some meat and fish, especially pigeon, chicken, shrimp and salmon, although all of these should be taken in moderation.
Beneficial fruit and vegetables to include are raspberries, seaweed, figs, apples and asparagus.
In 2011 scientists at the University of Guelph published one of the most thorough studies of aphrodisiac foods so far. The review, which appeared in the journal Food Research International, found that ginseng, saffron and yohimbine, a natural chemical from yohimbe trees in West Africa were performance boosters.
They also found people reported increased sexual desire after eating muira puama, a flowering plant found in Brazil; maca root, a mustard plant in the Andes – though these were effects are not proven.
Wine and chocolate also provided a lift – though this was mostly psychological. In fact, while alcohol was found to increase sexual arousal it ultimately impeded sexual performance!
For women, one of the best libido tonics is shisandra. This is known as ‘wu wei zi’ in China, where it is used as a sexual tonic and general restorative. It is used to improve a low sex drive, and promote the secretion of sexual fluids. This is best taken as a tincture three times a day for several weeks.
The relaxing yet uplifting properties of jasmine suggest its use as one of the classic aphrodisiac oils, its exotic smell creating an atmosphere of relaxation and enjoyment. Use as a sensual massage oil.
And for him
There are a number of excellent sexual tonics for men.
Damiana is a stimulating herb with testosterogenic activity, and a long tradition of use as an aphrodisiac. It is restorative to the reproductive system and used to treat premature ejaculation, impotence and general debility.
Fleeceflower is known as ‘he shou wu’ in China, where it is prized as a vitality-giving tonic. It is used to strengthen energy and increase fertility. Damiana and Wolfberry Formula are also excellent tonics for men’s libido and sexual function.
Vetiver essential oil has both a calming and a strengthening effect. It is used in the treatment of many stress-related conditions, and acts as an aphrodisiac where there is a clear connection between poor sexual performance and stress. Use in massage blends and bath oils.
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