Natural Remedies for Sexual Dysfunction in Women

Ginkgo biloba leafs
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Sexual dysfunction refers to persistent or recurring problems during any stage of the sexual response (desire, arousal, plateau, orgasm, resolution) that prevents the individual or couple from experiencing satisfaction from sexual activity and causes distress.

Natural Remedies

So far, scientific support for the claim that any remedy can treat sexual dysfunction in women is fairly lacking. Here is a look at several findings from the available research:


DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone produced naturally by the adrenal glands. It is converted in the body to the hormones estrogen and testosterone. Levels of DHEA decline naturally with age and also with a condition called adrenal insufficiency. Both have been associated with low libido, which is why researchers have examined whether DHEA supplements can boost libido in these groups. 

There is some evidence suggesting that DHEA may help older women. In one study, 280 women and men between 60 and 79 years were given DHEA (50 mg) or placebo daily for a year. There was a slight increase in testosterone and estrogen levels in women, and a significant increase in the libido and sexual satisfaction of women over 70 with DHEA use. No benefits were seen in women between 60 and 70 years. Two additional studies have found that DHEA boosted sexual arousal in older women. Not all studies on DHEA and libido have found a benefit, so more research is needed.

See more on DHEA.

2) Ginkgo

Ginkgo biloba is a herb used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine as a folk remedy for respiratory conditions, cognitive impairment, and circulatory disorders. In North America, it is most commonly used as a form of alternative medicine for cognitive function and memory.

Studies to date have not confirmed the effectiveness of ginkgo for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. For example, one small study examined the use of ginkgo or placebo in 37 people with antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. After two months, ginkgo was no more effective than the placebo in relieving symptoms. 

For more information, read my article on Ginkgo.

3) L-Arginine

L-arginine is an amino acid that has numerous functions in the body. It is needed by the body to make nitric oxide, a compound that helps to relax blood vessels and allow blood to flow through arteries.

Studies on L-arginine for sexual dysfunction in women have used a combination product, which makes it impossible to know if any improvement was due to the L-arginine or other ingredients in the formula.

See more about L-Arginine.

4) Damiana

Damiana (Turnera diffusa) is a herb used traditionally by the Mayan people of Central America to enhance sexual function in men and women. It is reported to be an aphrodisiac, stimulant, mood enhancer, and a tonic.

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

More on Damiana.

5) Not Recommended: Yohimbe

The bark of the herb Yohimbe (Pausinystalia Yohimbe) was historically used as a folk remedy for sexual dysfunction. The active constituent in the bark is called yohimbine.

Studies have not found Yohimbe to be effective for sexual dysfunction in women. Yohimbe is not recommended due to the serious health risks. For more information on Yohimbe, read more about Yohimbe.

Using Natural Remedies

Supplements haven't been tested for safety and keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established.

You can get tips on using supplements here, but if you're considering the use of a supplement or other form of alternative medicine for sexual dysfunction, talk with your primary care provider first. 


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Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.