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Herbal Support for Sexual Health

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by Shaheen Majeed -

Sexual health is an essential part of the perpetuation of any species, plant or animal. The more complex the organism, the more variables enter into successful production of progeny. There are a number of herbs that can support healthy sexual function, many of which have been known to be effective for thousands of years, confirmed by modern research.

Men’s Sexual Health

Physiological sexual arousal in men involves the relaxation of the cavernous smooth muscle for penile erection. Penile erections are dependent upon the simultaneous inactivation of outflow from the sympathetic nerves and the stimulation of the parasympathetic nerves. It has been well researched that nitric oxide (NO) is a neurotransmitter of primary importance in controlling the relaxation of penile smooth muscle. This has attracted attention to NO-dependant mechanisms as a target to boost male performance. While several synthetic compounds have been developed for the same, hazardous side effects have halted their use.

Androgens—male sex hormones—are another primary factor responsible for male performance. Tetosterone, estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, oxytocin, cortisol, pheromones are the various hormones involved in sexual function. The quantities and proportions in which they are present has a direct influence on male sexual function.

Herbs have been used in all cultures around the world to improve vigour and vitality. Natural extracts are increasingly used in the modern world to support sexual function, many of which have been found to be both safe and effective in improving sexual health in men. Extracts such as ashwagandha, Mucuna pruriens, Tribulus terrestris and beetroot extract have been reported to play a significant role in men’s sexual health by improving endurance, regulating essential hormones, improving sperm count and other functions related to men’s sexual health.

Women’s Sexual Health

In women, hormones play a vital role in sexual health. Loss of estrogen and, specifically, of androgens deprives them of major biological fuel. Deficiencies in testosterone level in one’s body and vaginal dryness are the physical factors that could also pose as a matter of concern. The sexual response is also coordinated by neurotransmitters, with the most studied being monoamines (such as dopamine and serotonin), neuropeptides, neurohormones (oxytocin and vasopressin) and neurotrophins.

One needs to also remember that the physiology of female sexuality is highly discontinuous during her reproductive life events such as pregnancy, puerperium and menopause due to hormonal fluctuations.

Role of hormones: The decline in the amount of progesterone as well as estrogen hormones creates a hormonal disturbance which leads reduction of female libido. Changes in the female libido happen with the fluctuations in the amount of hormones since they regulate bodily functions along with mood.

Role of neurotransmitters: One of the most well studied neurotransmitters involved in sexual arousal is dopamine. Since dopamine prevents the destruction of testosterone, it becomes important to maintain ideal levels of the neurotransmitter.

Physical factors: Estrogen deficiency during menopause or otherwise is responsible for thinning the vaginal lining. When the strength of the vaginal wall decreases, sexual arousal decreases correspondingly.

Natural extracts play as much an essential role in female sexual health as they do in male sexual health. Well recognized natural products such as Asparagus racemosus, Leptadenia reticulate, gallnut extract, tribulus, fenugreek and mucuna Extract help support female sexual health through any one of the mechanisms mentioned above.

As with so many health concerns people face, there are natural herbal extracts that can support healthy sexual function safely and effectively.

Shaheen Majeed, marketing director for Sabinsa Corp., knows Sabinsa from the ground up. When he was just 17 years old, Shaheen began in the warehouse of the science-based ingredients company his father founded in 1988.

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