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Damiana: Fights Low Libido On Many Fronts Damiana is a wild shrub that grows in parts of Mexico, Central and South America, and the West Indies. Recently, it has been cultivated in Texas and California. Its botanical name, Turnera diffusa aphrodisiaca, hints at its reputation as a libido-enhancing plant. The ancient Mayans used damiana for its prosexual properties. And for centuries, Mexican women have been brewing tea from the plant's leaves to improve their sexual satisfaction. Though much less studied than yohimbe, damiana has been the subject of some research that's worth discussing here. In one trial, researchers gave a damiana extract to impotent or sexually sluggish male rats, which showed marked improvement in their sexual activity. In another, an herbal preparation called ArginMax for Women -- which combines damiana with other reputed sex-enhancing herbs -- boosted sexual desire, reduced vaginal dryness, increased the frequency of sexual intercourse and the frequency and intensity of orgasm, and improved clitoral sensation in women who took it. In fact, almost three-quarters of the women in the study showed positive changes in these sexual variables, compared with only slightly more than one-third of the women who took a placebo. The results are all the more significant because they come from a double-blind placebocontrolled study, considered the gold standard in clinical research. Damiana leaves can be brewed as a tea or taken in powdered form in capsules. You also can buy Damiana Liqueur, a light herbal-based liqueur that is made from damiana grown in Baja California. It comes in a bottle with the shape of a pregnant woman, modeled after the Incan goddess of fertility. According to Mexican folklore, the very first Margarita was made with Damiana Liqueur. The Damiana Margarita remains popular in the Los Cabos area of Mexico. Ginkgo: Slowly But Surely, It Works Chinese culture is rich in the study and use of aphrodisiacs and sex-enhancing herbs. For centuries, the Chinese people have relied on the nuts and leaves of the ginkgo tree to help improve their sexual vigor, as well as their mental acuity. Though limited, recent scientific research suggests that ginkgo may benefit sexual function by increasing blood flow. Two separate studies involving men with erectile dysfunction found that the herb helps to restore erections without side effects. In a study involving women, a preparation of ginkgo mixed with other herbs improved orgasms and overall sexual satisfaction. Most herbalists agree that the effects of ginkgo are gradual. A woman who's taking ginkgo may notice increased genital sensation and more vivid orgasms, along with sharper memory, over a period of several months. Ginkgo can be found in most health food stores in extract form or as a powder in capsules.

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