The Ayurvedic way to discover better sex life

Sexual stamina and reproductive health are one among the major factors that contribute to happy family life and self-esteem. It is the same in the case of men and women, though our patriarchal culture is still reluctant to attach much significance to women’s sexuality. 

It is the ability to satisfy a woman that makes up every man.  According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are over 48.5 million infertile couples worldwide.  Sound sexual health can be achieved through sex therapy, medication and lifestyle changes.

Ayurveda views poor sexual performance as the result of low sexual desire (libido) owing to emotional disturbances and excessive use of substances with pungent, acidic or saline taste or heat, which leads to loss of Saumya Dhatu (watery principle).

Impotency can happen on account of inadequate semen in persons addicted to excessive sexual pleasure, diseases such as syphilis, Sahaja impotency (sexual incapacity from birth) and destruction of local Marma (spermatic cord).

Impotency in males or erectile dysfunction is caused mainly by cardiovascular leakages and diabetes, among other factors. Androgens, or the male hormone, play an important role in male reproductive health as it is involved in the initiation of sexual activity and intercourse.

The response to androgens is either up-regulated or down regulated by steroids (testosterone). Erectile dysfunction can be treated effectively through psychotherapeutic approach using certain plants or drugs made from them.

Herbal way to sexual health

In Ayurveda, properties of food items (Ahara Varga) are discussed contextually. Proper processing and consumption of food can have excellent therapeutic effect on sexual health of a person. Dravya, which can increase sexual potency, is mentioned using different terms such as Vajikarana, Vajikara, Vrishya, Shukrala, Sukra Rechaka, Shukra Janaka, etc. There are many Ahara Dravyas specially mentioned in various texts of Ayurveda, which have the power to increase sexual potency. Unfortunately, many such herbs are unavailable today.

Still, here goes a list of Ahara Dravyas which are commonly available:

Poovan Pazham (Mysore Banana)

Poovan Pazham is a banana variety made famous by the short story by the same name authored by Vaikom Muhammed Basheer. The short fat fruit with its thin yellow skin and sweet taste has made it one among the best dessert bananas in India.

Known in English as ‘Mysore Banana’ or ‘Fat Lady’s Finger’, it is an excellent source of potassium which helps in maintaining the proper function of muscles and blood pressure. Eating Poovan Pazham aids vitality and enhances the release of more energy both mentally and physically.

The sex-enhancing power of Poovan Pazham could be due to the presence of Tryptophan, which is bio-activated to Serotonin which, in turn, can improve the mood and make one feel happier. As it is a rich source of fructose and sucrose, it can revitalize the body instantly just after mating too.


Pomegranate, known in Malayalam as ‘Maathalam’ is less-known as an aphrodisiac, though its other medicinal properties are well known. Studies have shown that pomegranate juice can increase testosterone levels in men,  one  of  the  main  hormones  behind  sex-drive. 

It can also increase the number of motile sperm and the quality of semen. Pomegranate is a rich source of Vitamin K and Vitamin C. It is very rich in Potassium and contains significant amount of Phosphorus and Calcium. This is beneficial for women too, as it keeps shielded against bone-related ailments.

The estrogenic flavenoids can function as female hormones (Seeram N.P. et al., Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 2005). Freshly made pomegrante juice can function as ‘natural viagra’ in young people, if taken daily.


Recent research has proved that Cocoa has a beneficial effect on human sexuality as it increases sexual desire and improves sexual pleasure. This is attributed to presence in Cocoa of a chemical substance known as phenyl ethylamine, which can stimulate the hypothalamus, thereby inducing pleasurable sensations.

Phenyl ethylamine triggers two neurotransmitters in the brain namely serotonin and endorphin which, in turn, enhances the sex-mood. These chemicals are produced naturally by the brain during situations of happiness and feeling of love and lust, but can be induced by Cocoa also.

This causes a rapid rise in blood pressure, an increase in heart rate and could induce a feeling of ‘euphoria’. As a home-remedy, the seed of Cocoa can be fried well and powdered for use. One tea-spoon full of this powder, along with milk, can increase the sex-drive.


The aphrodisiac potential of Amla or Gooseberry (Embelica officinalis) has been proved by recent studies. Known as ‘Nellikka’ in Malayalam, it is one of the most celebrated herbs in Ayurveda, which contains high concentration of most minerals and amino acids than apples. 

Freshly made gooseberry juice is used as a tonic to prevent infertility and cancer (Khaled SE, et al., Food and Function Journal, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2019). As a traditional home remedy for impotency, the gooseberry fruits are sun-dried and then powdered. One spoon of this powder is mixed with a spoonful of honey and sugarcane jaggery (Kalkkandam) and the mix should be taken internally, before bed time.


According to a recent research paper, seed extracts of ginger and pumpkin-seed (Cucurbita maxima) taken together internally can increase the number of germ-cells in seminiferous tubes and has a positive effect on the recovery of impaired spermatogenesis (Mohammadi, F., et al. Anatomical science, 2014).

In a clinical trial involving around 2,000 men, the pumpkin seed oil was found have a positive effect on men suffering from Benign Prostate Hypertrophy (BPH). It was also found to be helpful in curing urinary disorders such as overactive bladder (OAB).

The presence of Zinc, Manganese, Magnesium, Iron, Phosphorus, Potassium and Selenium makes pumpkin-seed extracts an adjuvant for immune-modulation and a drug for reproductive therapy. 


Drumstick is a very common aphrodisiac known to people of Kerala, and is part of the daily diet of the State’s population. It can function as a cheap and simple approach to improving sexual dysfunction among those leading stressful lifestyles (Thawatchai Prabsattroo et al., 2015).

According to Ayurveda, it is Sukrakruthparam, which means that it is excellent in increasing sexual potency. Drumstick, especially its seeds, are helpful in maintaining strong and long erections. It contains saponin which enhances libido.

As a home remedy, 4-5 seeds of Drumstick, one tea-spoon full of powdered pepper are mixed with ginger extract and diluted to one glass of water. This is then boiled slowly in low flame for 5 minutes. It can be taken 2 to3 times daily which can solve even the problems related to motility of the sperm.


Fenugreek or Uluva, as it is known in Malayalam, has been proved to be effective as an aphrodisiac in men suffering from erectile dysfunction due to diabetes. (RB. Gupta et al., 2015, International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Research). 

In women, Fenugreek seeds help in the synthesis of hormones that are responsible for the enlargement of breasts. There are numerous other reports of aphrodisiac activity of Fenugreek in traditional Indian medicine.  The seeds can be boiled in milk and then taken internally with sugarcane jaggery. It is said that men should consume Fenugreek seeds regularly which can help in increasing blood-flow to the sex organs.


Various parts of Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) are widely used in traditional medicine for the treatment of disorders including nervous and sex-related disorders. The fruits are rich in carbohydrate, protein and minerals like Fe, Ca, Mg and vitamin B6. It is one among the best fruits for enhancing male fertility.

As it contains high amount estradiol and flavonoids, it can increase sperm count and mobility. Dates can increase size of the testis in men and DNA quality with a concomitant increase in the weight of the testis. It can increase the size of the breast in women. Dates can be put in goat-milk overnight and then ground with cow-milk and then taken internally.


Almond (Prunus amygdalus), as per Ayurveda, has Vrishya (aphrodiasic) property. It is rich in protein and carbohydrate, fat, vitamins and minerals. Almond seeds are rich sources of Vitamin E, Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium, which are all important for testosterone production.

Almonds are a  good  source mono-unsaturated fatty acids and poly-unsaturated fatty acids  (PUFA) which are all good for the health of the heart.  The presence of magnesium, zinc folate and vitamin B6 stimulates the hypothalamus to increase testosterone which affects total sexual behaviour, ejaculation frequency, ejaculation latency and sperm count. Almond can also help reduce stress and increase libido.


Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is a spice which is used as a flavouring agent. Apart from this, cardamom is also used as a medicine. In the Middle East, cardamom is widely considered as a sex-enhancer.

Cardamom seeds are chewed to prevent unpleasant smell in mouth, indigestion, nausea and vomiting due to sickness. It can also prevent pyrosis (excessive watering in mouth). Vatsyayana advices sex-mates to chew Cardamom seeds before sexual activity. 

Powdered seeds of cardamom boiled with tea can be used as medicine for scanty urination, diarrhoea, palpitation of the heart, exhaustion due to over work, depression, etc. One cardamom capsule per day with a tablespoon of honey can improve eyesight and strengthen the nervous system and thus improve the sexual health of the person.


Garlic (Allium sativum) is a common ingredient in many recipes. It is used in the treatment of Rakthapitta (bleeding diseases), Gulma (bloating), Arsha (piles) and Prameha (diabetes), Krimi (intestinal worms).

Apart from its Hrudhya (good for the heart), Snigdha (unctuous) and Dipana (increased digestive power) properties, it has Vrishya (aphrodiasic) power too. According to Ayurveda, Garlic can cure erectile dysfunction. This is due to the presence of an active compound called ‘Allicin’ which can increase blood flow to the sex organs (Hamdard Medicus, 2004; 47 (2): 30-35).

Taking Garlic and Coriander leaves together is good medicine for enhancing libido. Garlic can be boiled in milk and can be taken internally.  It can be put in honey and stored or can be consumed in fried form using Gingelly oil (Sesame Oil) or cow-ghee.


Amukkuram, known in Sanskrit as Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a commonly used to combat stress-induced infertility. Aqueous root extract of Amukkuram can improve sperm count and motility in infertile men.

Powdered root of Amukkuram, if given to an infertile male, in the dosage of 5 g/day for 3 months, would improve the overall semen quantity and quality, according to a study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility in 2010. (vol. 94, no. 3, pp. 989–996).

As a home remedy, extract of Amukkuram root can be made and one-fourth of it can be taken along with cow-ghee in the dosage of one table spoon per day for 15 days. This will improve the sexual efficiency of men. Powdered root (10 g), if taken along with milk before bedtime for 15 days, would also have the same effect and increase the production of semen.


Adapathiyan (Holostemma ada-kodien), known in Sanskrit as Jivanti, is traditionally used for maintaining vigour, strength and vitality. In folk-medicine, it is used to treat gonorrhoea and diabetes.

Paniya tribes of Kerala are reported to be taking the tubers of Adapathiyan, boiled in water, to get relief from diseases relating to gynaecology as documented in International Journal of Pharma and BioSciences  (2012 3(4): 493 – 501).

Besides the medicinal virtues, the leaves, flowers and fruits are eaten as vegetables.  As a home remedy, the root of Adapathiyan is boiled along with milk and then dried in the sun. This is powdered and 6 g of the powder is taken internally with milk daily to boost sexual power. This can also improve the sperm-count.


Naykkurana (Mucuna pruriens) is a very popular Indian medicinal plant, the seeds and root of which have long been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to increase spermatogenesis and weight of the testes, seminal vesicles and prostate. It can also increase the quantity of semen and stimulate the production of semen.

Naykkurana can delay the time of ejaculation and improve the ejaculatory performance. Treatment with Naykkurana seeds increases sperm concentration and motility in infertile men (Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 137–144, 2010).

Research has also proved that it can help in the management of stress, which can adversely affect sex life. The decoction made from roots and seeds can be taken twice daily in the dosage of 30 ml, for 15 days, to increase libido and sperm count.


Asparagus is known in Sanskrit as ‘Shatavari’ which can be translated as “one who possesses a hundred husbands”. It is hailed in Ayurveda as ‘Queen of herbs’ as it promotes love and devotion. Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) is the main rejuvenating tonic for women and it is highly effective in treating problems related to ovulation and to increase fertility.

The major active constituents of Shatavari are steroidal saponins like ‘Shatavarins-I-VI’. The tubers, rich in nutrients like Vitamin A, C, B6 and minerals like Ca, Mg and Fe, can be boiled in water and eaten to induce libido. It can help women to control hot flush and dryness of vagina even after menopause. It can make males more passionate during mating and help in maintaining erection time.


Saffron is the dried stigma of the plant Crocus sativus. It is the most prescribed and strong aphrodisiac in the history of mankind. It grows in the Mediterranean region and it is widely cultivated in Iran and other countries, including India and Greece.

Saffron contains Crocin, Picrocrocin and Safranal as its major constituents. Among these, Safranal and Crocin are scientifically proved to have aphrodisiacal activity in males. The effect of saffron has also been proved in erectile dysfunction patients.

Traditionally it is taken with almond milk. It is found to be effective even in patients who have lost their erection and libido due to use of anti-depressive drugs.

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