A comparative study on aphrodisiac activity of some ayurvedic herbs in male albino rats

Arch Sex Behav. 2009 Dec;38(6):1009-15. doi: 10.1007/s10508-008-9444-8. Epub 2009 Jan 13.


The roots of Asparagus racemosus, Chlorophytum borivilianum, and rhizomes of Curculigo orchioides are popular for their aphrodisiac and immunostimulatory properties. The herbs have been traditionally used as Vajikaran Rasayana herbs because of their putative positive influence on sexual performance in humans. Lyophilized aqueous extracts obtained from the roots of A. racemosus, C. borivilianum, and rhizomes of C. orchioides were studied for sexual behavior effects in male albino rats and compared with untreated control group animals (total N = 60). The rats were evaluated for effect of treatments on anabolic effect. Seven measures of sexual behavior were evaluated. Administration of 200 mg/kg body weight of the aqueous extracts had pronounced anabolic effect in treated animals as evidenced by weight gains in the body and reproductive organs. There was a significant variation in the sexual behavior of animals as reflected by reduction of mount latency, ejaculation latency, post ejaculatory latency, intromission latency, and an increase of mount frequency. Penile erection (indicated by Penile Erection Index) was also considerably enhanced. Reduced hesitation time (an indicator of attraction towards female in treated rats) also indicated an improvement in sexual behavior of extract treated animals. The observed effects appear to be attributable to the testosterone-like effects of the extracts. Nitric oxide based intervention may also be involved as observable from the improved penile erection. The present results, therefore, support the folklore claim for the usefulness of these herbs and provide a scientific basis for their purported traditional usage.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aphrodisiacs / pharmacology*
  • Asparagus Plant
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Curculigo
  • Male
  • Medicine, Ayurvedic
  • Penile Erection / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Rats
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / drug effects*


  • Aphrodisiacs
  • Plant Extracts