The Wonderful World  of Herbs

1.What Is an Herb?

 2.How to Choose and Use Herbs

Herbs to Improve Your Sex Life

 3.Increasing Your Sexual Desire and Drive

 4.Increasing Your Sexual Pleasure

 5.Relieving Male Menopause, Prostate Problems, and Impotence

 6.Relieving Female Menopause and Premenstrual Syndrome

 7.Controlling Health Conditions that Affect Sex

 8.Improving Your Overall Well-Being

 9.Sex Herb Combinations


How To Choose And Use Herbs

So if you want to try using an herb described in this book, do you just head out to the nearby field and pull up something that looks like the herb?  Probably not.  This chapter explains the many forms herbs to improve your sex life take, how to select and store herbs, whom to consult when you need more information or advice about particular herbs or particular sex concerns, how herbs and medications, and the role of choose and use herbs in your greater plan for maintaining your health .

The Many Forms of Herb

When we describe a particular herb in this book, we'll give you information on the various forms in which the herb can be safely used.  Using the herb in the wrong way may render it ineffective  - or perhaps even downright dangerous.  Following are descriptions of some of the forms in which herbs are typically used.  Throughout the book you may also find special references to unique herbal products that do not fit these categories, such as herbal beverages, creams, or even soft drink.

Fresh herbs 

Many herbs can be used fresh.  These are most effective if grown in your own garden.   When they are harvested can alter their potency- there is generally a "best time" to pick most herbs.  Other factors affecting potency include soil, as well as exposure to light, heat, and oxygen during storage and transportation.

Pay close attention to which part of the herb should be used: root, stem, leaf, flower, seed, berry, and so on.   Pay even closer attention to any parts that should not be used!   Fresh herbs may be used whole or crushed   or chopped.  Often, fresh herbs are added to salads, sauces, or other food; infused in teas; placed in bath water; or used in potpourri.  Herb shops, controlling health conditions that affect sex sold by herb shops, health food stores, and, some extent, grocery stores, generally sell fresh herbs.

When Growing Your Own.

Some herbalists recommend against using homegrown herbs for medicinal purposes.  Their concern is that you have no way to ensure consistent levels of the active ingredients.  Others, however, feel that since most herbs used from the home garden aren't usually needed in great quantities, there is little risk of toxicity and there are few long-term ramifications if the  "dose" is less than therapeutic.

Dried herbs

You can grow and dry your own herbs or purchase them dried.  If you use dried herbs, remember that herbs shrink as they dry, so you'll need less than you would for fresh herbs.   Sources for dried herbs range from your local supermarket, to health food stores, to herb shops, to providers of herbal medical services, to ethnic herbal medicine stores.  Dried herbs are also often powdered an may be formed into pills. You can even find combinations of herbs in pill form, many marketed with sexy -sounding names to indicate their purpose.   These are found at the same sources as above, and through many drugstores and mail order companies.


it's easy to dry fresh herbs.  Start with herbs that are free of bug holes and other damage.  Then follow these steps.

  1. Make sure the herbs are clean.  Rinse lightly and gently with water, if needed.
  2. You can pick off individual leaves now (assuming the leaf is the part you want to dry), or keep the leaves and stems intact until after they are dried.
  3. Arrange the hers in single layer on a baking try.
  4. Place the herbs in a sunny location protected from wind and insects, or dry them in the oven at about 100F or less.  The amount of time it takes to dry them depends on how much moisture they were holding to begin with and the temperature and humidity of the location in which they are drying.  It may take a few hours or a few days.
  5. When the herbs are completely dried out, if you have not already done so, remove the leaves from the stems.  Simply roll the stems between your palms and the dried leaves will fall, crushed.
  6. Store the herbs in an airtight container.

Tea or infusion

Many times herbs are infused or soaked in water or another liquid.  The resulting tea is then strained and used either as a drink or externally as a slave or poultice.  Be sure to follow steeping times closely to avoid a substance that is either ineffective or too potent.  Many companies also offer herbal teas for internal use.  They are available through supermarkets, drugstores, and health food stores.

Poultice or salve- Herbs

or herbal infusions can be mixed with other substances to form thicker poultices or salves for external use.  Often can make your own.  Or many types of herbal salves are available through drugstores and health food stores.

Extraction or tincture

Often a concentrated form of an herb is required.  To create the concentration, the herb is steeped in alcohol, water, oil, or other liquid.  It may then be strained.  Extractions can sometimes be made at home.   It is often easier to purchase them at health food stores and through herbalists or ethnic herb shops.  Extractions may be taken internally, used externally, or used for aromatherapy.  Most extractions are in alcohol.  However, it is possible to find some extractions that water-based or oil-based.   Most extractions are used as drops to be placed on the back of the tongue.  Some extractions come in small spray cans.

Oils and essences - Plants

contain two types of oils:  volatile and fixed.  Volatile oils break down easily, releasing the aroma from the plant.  Volatile oil is also called essence.  Fixed oil does not break down as easily and may be used for other purposes.  Plant oils can be used in a variety of ways: internally, externally, or for aromatherapy.  Creating oils requires great quantities of the herb, making   it more cost-and time effective to purchase the oil through a drug store, health food store, herbalist, or herb shop.  Oils and essences used for aromatherapy or potpourri can also be found where perfumes and bath products are sold.

Preserving and Storing Your Herbs

In general, it's best to store herbs in a cool, dry, dark place.  Different herbal forms may have different storage requirements.  An alcohol-based extraction will lose its potency quickly   if stored in the light.  Some non alcohol extractions may require refrigeration.  Dried herbs probably do not require refrigeration, but should be stored in airtight containers.  Fresh herbs should be immediately, or stored in the refrigerator for up to a few days.  Other special storage requirements will be descried throughout the book as needed.

Wherever you store your herbs, be sure they are well out of the reach of children and pets.  Although poisoning is unlikely it can be occur.  Even children who barely qualify as toddlers can easily unscrew the lids to most spice containers, for example.

Tips for Purchasing and Using Herbs

Sometimes buying using an herb is as simple as finding it on the shelf at your   local grocery store and adding a bit of it to a favorite recipe.  However, many herbs are used in greater quantities to achieve therapeutic effects or are relatively difficult and expensive to produce.  Because the cost can be he high, you'll want to be sure you've made the wisest choice for your own needs.  Here are some tips to keep in mind when purchasing herbs.

Let the buyer beware! 

Do you assume that the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations or some other government agency must regulate herbal products?  Guess again.  Not only does the FDA lack the resources needed to monitor herbal products, but it also lacks the mandate.  A few years back, the U.S. Congress specifically limited the FDA's ability to regulate nutritional supplements, including herbs.  Manufacturers of herbal products are supposed to adhere to these guidelines

  • The product should list all ingredients it contains.
  • Health claims cannot be made on the labeling.  This means that the label will give you very little information about the uses of a given herb or the amount that you should take.  It's   up to you to find out what each herb does and how much of it is safe to use.
  • If the product contains nutrients   (such as vitamins or minerals) that exceed the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI - formerly called the RDA or Recommended Daily Allowance) per dose, then the amount of the nutrients must be listed.

However, the FDA doesn't routinely follow up with herbal manufacturers to make sure hey are complying with these guidelines.  In fact, the FDA generally responds to a given herbal product only when relieving male menopause prostate problems and impotence or serious complaints arise.  Otherwise it is assumed that manufacturers are truthful in their product descriptions and claims.  Some studies indicate that this assumption may be unfounded, because many nutritional supplements that have been analyzed  -including herbal products - contained little  (if any!) of the stated ingredients and contained many other ingredients that were unlisted.  To find out whether any FDA warnings exist for herbal products, you can contact the FDA (see "Resources" for more information).

            Choose a reputable source- Short

of opening up your own analytical lab, it's difficult to be sure that any products you purchase are really what they say they are.  The best way to ensure high-quality herbal products is to purchase them from a reputable vendor who acquires them from well-known manufacturers.  There have been many reports of people finding out that the herbal product they bought contains little or none of the herb listed on the label.  Look for companies that guarantee their products' contents in writing.

  Setting the Mood

Most sex therapists insist that sex begins in your head-in a way; it's an idea that overtakes you.  Your body's physical reaction - hormone surges, growing sensitivity of the genital areas, and all the rest - follows.  A key part of starting that increasing your sexual pleasure idea is setting the mood.  And herbs can certainly help.   The herbs listed below can create the right climate for enjoyable sex, influencing your feelings and mood rather than necessarily changing your body chemistry (though some of these herbs may do that as well).  Because what appeals to us and   make us "in the mood" is so individual, view these suggestions as possibilities to get you started.