A close look at the benefits, side effects, and effectiveness of maca and ashwagandha
An increasing number of women are searching for natural ways to increase sex drive, and female libido supplements companies are responding. Aphrodisiacs like maca root and ashwagandha are in everything from sex drive pills to libido gummies.
Yet, research on the effectiveness of these “natural libido boosters” isn’t clear-cut.
Can these supplements increase sex drive in women naturally and safely? Let’s find out.
In today’s post, we’ll enter the world of female libido supplements and vitamins to better understand maca root and ashwagandha.
But first, let’s cover some basics.
What is libido?
Libido refers to a person’s sexual desire or sex drive.
Decreased sex drive, or low libido, is caused by a variety of things.
What causes low libido in women?
Women naturally experience fluctuations in their sex drive at different stages of life. Several factors, however, can contribute to significantly low libido. These include:
- relationship issues
- hormonal imbalances
- certain medications
- age-related changes like menopause
These factors are often inter-related. For example:
While sex can relieve mild stress, ongoing stress decreases sex drive. Relationship issues also cause stress and have the same effect.
How do female libido supplements work?
In theory, female libido supplements for women work by reducing stress.
Testosterone and estrogen play important roles in sex drive. By reducing stress, supplements like libido gummies claim to re-start hormone production and increase testosterone and estrogen.
Once your hormones are balanced, libido supplement companies say your sex drive will return.
Researchers, however, are skeptical.
Maca Root for Libido: Does it work?
One ingredient heavily used by female libido supplement companies is maca root.
What is Maca?
Maca is a root vegetable native to the Andes Mountains in Peru.
In recent years, this root has gained popularity for its potential benefits in enhancing sexual function and increasing libido.
Today, maca supplements are available in various forms. These include powders, capsules, and extracts.
Maca Root Benefits
Maca is believed to have adaptogenic properties. It purportedly helps the body adapt to stressors.
If true, maca may help increase sexual desire by:
- reducing stress
- improving energy levels
- supporting hormonal balance
Research has yet to fully support this adaptogenic claim, however. While some studies suggest the potential is there, this research is conducted on male animals, not humans.
Maca Root Side Effects
While maca is generally considered safe, it’s important to know about its potential side effects.
Maca root users have reported side effects such as:
- stomach discomfort
- changes in their menstrual cycle
Particularly for women and others who menstruate, the combination of maca root’s side effects on the reproductive system combined with the lack of supportive research is concerning.
Does maca root increase female libido?
Formal research on maca as a libido booster for women is very limited. The studies are small, usually including less than 50 subjects.
They also focus on post-menopausal women and women experiencing low libido after taking antidepressants.
When results are positive, they’re comparable to the effect you’d get from a placebo.
Conclusion: At this point in time, we can’t definitively say that maca root is any more helpful than a placebo. We also can’t accurately assess the risk to the female reproductive system.
Ashwagandha for Libido: Does it work?
Like maca, ashwagandha has seen a recent surge in popularity. Searches for ashwagandha pills, teas, and libido gummies are on the rise.
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a shrub that grows in Asia and Africa.
It is sometimes called winter cherry, but should not be confused with Physalis alkegengi, which goes by the same common name.
Vendors of ashwagandha praise its potential to support overall well-being.
The herb purportedly helps:
- reduce stress
- promote relaxation
- improve energy levels
If true, ashwagandha could contribute to an improved libido by reducing stress.
Like maca, however, these properties have yet to be definitevely proven by research. While still small, the most promising studies support ashwagandha mostly as a sleep aid.
Ashwagandha Side Effects
Similar to maca root, ashwagandha is generally considered safe when taken within the recommended dosage range.
However, some individuals may experience side effects such as:
- stomach upset
- liver problems
As always, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider before embarking on a new treatment plan. This is especially true if you have any underlying health conditions like liver problems, or are taking medications.
Very recently, ashwagandha gummies have spiked in popularity. If you plan to take ashwagandha, these libido gummies may be a convenient addition to your routine.
Ashwagandha gummies offer an easy-to-use option, avoiding the hassle of measuring powders or swallowing capsules. Shop mindfully if you go this route.
Does ashwagandha increase female libido?
One promising study of ashwagandha’s effects on sex drive study split 50 women into two groups.
Twenty-five women recieved a high-concentration ashwagandha extract, while the other twenty-five recieved a placebo.
Both groups experienced overall improved sexual function. However, this was slightly more true for the ashwagandha group:
The placebo group experienced a 52% improvement in sexual function. After accounting for this placebo effect, the ashwagandha group experienced a 23% improvement.
This is, again, a promising but very small study using high-concentration ashwagandha extract. These results haven’t been duplicated (yet).
Additionally, desire was only one many sexual functions lumped together in these results. Others were arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and satisfaction.
Conclusion: Ashwagandha may be more promising than maca as a libido enhancer. However, the research is still too new to be definitive. There are also risks to consider.
The Danger of Female Libido Supplements: Tainted Products
Research on maca root and ashwagandha is performed in ideal circumstances. The supplements are pure and untainted.
This is often not the case when purchasing libido supplements. In fact, studies prove that up to 58% of supplement pills are contaminated with other ingredients.
Shockingly, bacterial and fungal contamination is even more common.
Supplement companies are not regulated the same way as food and medicine companies. There’s no way to be sure that the ingredients on the label match what’s inside the bottle.
Even in a best-case scenario with pure maca root or ashwagandha, users risk side effects and exposure to contaminated products for typically minimal results.
Increase Libido Naturally and Safely with Sensual Activation
In my practice, there’s one approach I’ve used repeatedly to successfully increase women’s libido:
With pleasure practices and embodiment exercises, you can empower your inner source of sexual energy.
All you need to become sensually activated is your body, a willingness to dive deep into your sensual self, and the desire to embrace what you find.
The first step is to identify your Sensual Source.
Get Your Free Sensual Analysis
Your Sensual Source is a wellspring of erotic passion.
After working with women and others looking to increase their sex drive, I’ve boiled the Sensual Source discovery process down to a simple, 6-question quiz.
Take the quiz to find your own Sensual Source and get a personalized Sensual Analysis.
You’ll discover your
- primary sensual activators
- main intimacy inhibitors
- options for erotic expansion
Discover your Sensual Source:
(Having trouble with the quiz? Click here.)
Once you’ve discovered your Sensual Source, you can activate it with a simple daily pleasure practic routine. Make time to embody your unique sensuality each day and watch it expand.
Sexual energy feeds on sensuality. The more empowered your Sensual Source, the more you’ll move from sensually activated to erotically ignited.
The Sensual Secret to Naturally Increased Libido
Low libido can be a frustrating experience, but the good news is that there are natural ways to increase sex drive.
Enjoy a healthier and more satisfying sex life with sensual activation. Avoid the dangers of maca root and ashwagandha and tune into your body’s inherent sexual energy.
With a balanced lifestyle, open communication with your partner, and an empowered Sensual Source, you can access your sexual vitality and enjoy a fulfilling and satisfying intimate life.
Find your Sensual Source to start the journey, and join the Sensually Sourced Community to keep going.