Traditional plant aphrodisiacs and male sexual dysfunction

Phytother Res. 2014 Jun;28(6):831-5. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5074.


Introduction: There has been a long history of man’s fascination with better and stronger sex drive and performance across different cultures. Several literature texts from the Hindu, Egyptian, Chinese and Roman civilizations document the human endless search for substances that can enhance sexual experiences and/or treat erectile dysfunction.

Aim: This review will discuss the current research done on the most popular plant aphrodisiacs and provide evidence to support or discourage the use of any of them to enhance sexual desire and/or function in men.

Methods: We review the current evidence on the use of natural substances as aphrodisiacs.

Results: We found very little evidence to support the use of plant aphrodisiacs in the treatment of male sexual dysfunction. The vast majority of studies were conducted on animals with very few clinical studies. Available data suggest a beneficial effect of ginseng as a pro-sexual supplement and not an independent treatment for male sexual dysfunction.

Conclusions: Trans-culturally, many herbal therapies show some potential benefits in improving men’s sexual function; however, adequate studies on the specific benefits and health risks associated with their use are needed. We strongly recommend the design and execution of well-controlled clinical studies to determine the efficacy and safety of plant aphrodisiacs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aphrodisiacs / pharmacology*
  • Aphrodisiacs / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Libido / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*
  • Sexual Behavior / drug effects*


  • Aphrodisiacs