This newsletter is a bit of a follow up on last months newsletter about the thyroid and adrenal functions of women. Women's health is intricate and multi-faceted. Women's libido issues are even more so! You might have been reading in the news lately that there is now an FDA approved drug for low libido in women.
Do you remember how crazy things got when the FDA approved Viagra? There wasn't a man out there who wasn't curious about the little blue pill that could help them have better sex. Well, now it's the ladies' turn. Addyi is a pill indicated for premenopausal women who suffer from HSDD (hypoactive sexual desire disorder), which according to the drug's producer (and other research confirms it) affects up to 1 in 10 women. As the conversation grows, it seems that more and more women are sharing their stories of low libido and its negative impact on their lives. Sex is a very important component in most romantic relationships, and problems often arise if either person has a lack of interest.
Aside from HSDD it is also a fact that many women lose interest in sex as they get older and hit menopause. We can look at changing hormone levels of course, but also according to ancient medicine, as we age we all tend to accumulate more of the air/space elements, which is one of the five elements in Ayurveda. Imagine air being blown on your body, as though from a fan. What this means is that we become more dry and cold in our very nature. This can lead to vaginal dryness, cold hands and feet, anxiety and difficulty sleeping for some women as they age. This definitely links to a decrease in libido. As women get older hormones become depleted, first decreasing progesterone and DHEA, followed by estrogens and testosterone. If these hormones deplete too fast, which can happen if we experience regular stress, it also leads to a drop in sexual desire.
Although the drug proved successful in clinical trials, there are side effects as well as drug interactions to consider. We won't really know how well the drug works until thousands of prescriptions are written and women start taking it. Looking at the whole picture and of course, whole health, it makes sense to approach this sensitive issue sensitively. From a physical point of view, there are holistic solutions for women who experience low sex drive. Here are a few, some of which we shared last month when talking about thyroid and adrenals...it's interesting how these issues are interwoven.
Maca Root Lepidium meyenii: Maca has long been used by male and females of all ages. It is a sweet, butterscotch like tasting herb that grows in the Andes and is one of the staple foods of the Andean people of Peru. Though there is little conclusive scientific evidence that maca boost libido, there is a ton of epirical knowledge pointing to the fact that it does . The groups of people that use this plant in their daily diet have documented extended fertility. The women of these populations are maintaining fertility well into their fifties. We also know that there is a high nutritional component. Maca is full of copper, iron, vitamin c, potassium, protein, B6 and more. In my practice, the feed back has been that for women who are peri and post menopausal maca has helped with mood, energy, hormonal fluctuations and sex drive. Dosage 1TB working up to 3 TB daily. It's great in a smoothie! Contraindication thyroid problems.
Ashwaghnadha: Ashwaganda has long been held in great esteem for its health promoting benefits, particularly cooling down the nervous system and supporting the adrenal gland as well as giving a strong boost to the entire hormonal system of both men and women. Taken over a period of time it reduces stress, lowers cortisol levels and has been used for centuries to improve libido in both men and women. An herbal supplement also known as Indian Ginseng, it is an adaptogenic herb that resets the adrenals, especially under stress. It is considered a nervine since it nourishes the nerves. This is one of the best known Ayurvedic herbals to restore libido and help reduce the impact of stress on the body.
Shatavari Asparagus racemosus: Shatavari means “who possesses a hundred husbands or acceptable too many”. It is considered both a general tonic and a female reproductive tonic. Shatavari may be translated as “100 spouses” implying its ability to increase fertility and vitality. It is the premiere women's herb in Ayurvedic medicine and is sweet, nourishing and cooling to the reproductive tissue. Wonderful for over heated, dry peri and post menopausal women who need the support down under to plump up and moisten tissues. It is great for women of all ages to support the entire reproductive system and bring a greater sense of wellbeing, opening the heart space and allowing the tonic of love to flow freely within and out to others.
It's important to mention again that that there are many aphrodisiacs that are effective, supporting and nourishing to the female system, but sometimes there may be more to it than just the physical. Treating the underlying cause rather than just the symptoms will bring the most profound benefit.
Take time for yourself! Women often neglect themselves and put all of our emphasis on our kids, family and/or work. You need to nourish yourself to help boost your libido and sexual energy. When you are nourished and vibrant, that energy will radiate.
• Organic foods with simple ingredients: How might this look for you? What makes you feel good? What gives you energy and vitality? We have a wonderful tea formulated just for this very purpose!
• Avoid processed foods or foods that are heavy in dairy or gluten. These can make you feel sluggish and tired, leaving you with very little vibrant energy.
How can our emotions sap our sexual mojo? Do you feel resentment, anger, insecurity, or overwhelm? Do you feel over burdened and under appreciated? These are not things that most women can just 'turn off' in order to 'turn on'. We are connected and feeling. For most of us, we experience sexuality on several levels and if our brain is saying no our body will follow suit. So will deep breathing or a cup of tea make a woman want to jump in bed with her husband? Will a little pink pill have that affect? Not sure. But as a woman, I truly think women feel better about sex when they feel good about themselves. When a woman feels attractive and sexy, the self confidence makes a huge difference in her sexual drive. Things that help achieve this? Regular exercise, healthy eating, supplements, proper rest and managing stress.
There are many interesting books written on this topic, and one of my favorites is called Mating in Captivity. It sheds new light on an ancient topic and it explores the idea of erotic intelligence in a bold way. Drawing on more than twenty years of experience as a couples therapist, the author, Esther Perel examines the complexities of sustaining desire. Through case studies and lively discussion, Perel demonstrates how more exciting, playful, and even poetic sex is possible in long-term relationships. Wise, witty, and as revelatory as it is straightforward, Mating in Captivity is a sensational book that will transform the way you live and love.
Feeling sexual stems from within. Self-love and a strong sense of fulfillment in everyday life are things that bring us happiness, excitement and energy. And aren't those the things that fuel good sex?
We offer a range of products designed to support women and their feminine needs, based on years of research and feedback from our loyal clientele. They aren't miracle products, but organic, hand crafted formulas that will meet you and your desire where ever that might be. For some, low libido is a very real medical condition and we are thankful that it is being recognized as such. But never discount your own power and the emotional, hormonal and physical factors at play. Treat your WHOLE self....mind, body and soul....like the amazing woman that it is and see what unfolds.