Schizandra, the Five Elements Aphrodisiac

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wu wei zi schizandra

Schizandra Sinensis is a woody vine with clusters of red berries that is found in northern and northeastern China and adjacent regions in Russia and Korea. It is used to treat a variety of medical conditions and is widely known as a longevity herb and aphrodisiac. It is used to treat lung and liver disorders, coughs, to relieve fatigue, depression and stress, increase stamina and for insomnia and night sweats.

The Chinese (pinyin) name Wu Wei Zi means "five flavor berries". It is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Schizandra berries are highly esteemed and the plant is one of the "50 fundamental herbs". Some of the many ways they are used are as a hepatoprotectant and liver detoxifier, to resist infections, as an adaptogen and as a general tonic. There is some scientific evidence to show that schizandra berries may help people with hepatitis.

Schizandra began to appear in Western literature around the beginning of the 19th century, and it shows up in botanical works of the period. The earliest mention of it can be found in the 1803 Flora boreali-americana of Andreas Michaux.

None of these early works mention any aphrodisiac quality of Schizandra. However, at the turn of the 20th century, things begin to change: in the 1904 China: Catalogue of the Collection of Chinese Exhibits at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, Schizandra berries are described as follows:
"Exhibit 128 - Fruit of Schizandra Chinensis. The small red berries are wrinkled, uniform in shape and contain two reddish-yellow crescent seeds. Tonic, aphrodisiac, pectoral and lenitive properties are ascribed to this plant."

This interesting discovery shows us fairly conclusively that the aphrodisiac qualities ascribed to Schizandra are not mere modern invention, and that it was clearly in use for such purpose in 1904.

Going further back, it would appear that this information has older roots (as one would expect from an herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine!) In the 1973 version of Chinese medicinal herbs: a modern edition of a classic sixteenth-century manual by Shizhen Li, Porter Smith and George Arthur Stuart; we find an entry for Schizandra chinensis. Sure enough, the exact same phrase is there, clearly borrowed: "Tonic, aphrodisiac, pectoral and lenitive properties are ascribed to this plant."

Another interesting statement is that the plant, which is said to have all of the "five flavors", is believed to contain the "quintessence of the five elements" (wood, fire, earth, metal, water). This is quite a testament to the esteem with which the plant was held. The Chinese Medicinal Herbs is a translation of the Bencao Gangmu of 1578 - also known as the Compenium of Materia Medica - written by Li Shizhen and considered the most complete text on Chinese Traditional Medicine ever written. Li Shizhen is said to have consulted 800 earlier reference works and devoted 30 years to field study.

Schizandra has been the subject of a relatively high number of scientific studies listed on Pubmed - with 364 entries. Many of these studies focus on a wide range of medical research - investigating whether Schizandra is for example anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, have anti-cancer properties, helpful with cases of tinnitus, or have effects on liver function. The sheer number of studies done on Schizandra is encouraging and something of an indicator of its medical potential. One study (1998) at the Department of Urology, Catholic University of Korea of a herbal formulation that included Schizandra chinensis showed enhancement in erectile function in male rats. The herbal formula also included Lycium chinense, Cornus officinalis, Rubus coreanus and Cuscuta chinensis.

Schizandra contains essential oils, acids and lignans which help regenerate liver tissue damaged by things like hepatitis and alcohol. Its adaptogenic action may help improve physical and mental performance, relieve fatigue and build strength. Studies have shown that schizandra is effective against the bacteria related to lung disorders. This herb provides more oxygen for the cells, increases the body's immune system and protects against stress. It also acts as an aphrodisiac, by increasing men's staying power and stimulating sensitivity in the female's genitals.


Kava Kava for Increased Orgasm

kava kava aphrodisiac

Kava Kava (Piper methysticum) is a traditional Polynesian herb from the root of the kava tree (called waka). Herbalists use it for its mild tranquilizing effect to relax the mind and bring clarity to thoughts while soothing the temperament and inducing a mild euphoria. It is considered a natural aphrodisiac that has the effect of directly increasing sexual desire and prowess and even increasing the intensity of the sensations felt during orgasm. Kava is an approved phytomedicine in Europe used to treat anxiety and can be used in aphrodisiac formulas as a nervine to produce an effect similar to a mild herbal ecstasy.

Kava is an ancient western Pacific crop related to the black pepper – both having heart-shaped leaves and flowers similar to the flower spike of the anthurium. Kava also has a peppery taste, and has long been part of religious, political and cultural life throughout the Pacific region. The drink was the beverage of choice for the South Pacific royal families. It is believed to have originated in Melanesia, and grows abundantly in the sunny Polynesian islands. Drank for hundreds of years by native islanders, it was only during Captain Cook’s voyage to the Pacific in 1768-1771 that the white man first encountered the plant and its consumption in sacred ceremonies. According to his account, natives would chew or pound the root and mix it with water to produce a brownish, often bitter brew which they then consumed for its psychoactive properties.

In the Western world, kava is used as an herbal remedy to ease symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression. The effects of drinking kava include slight tongue and lip numbing due to the contraction of blood vessels in these areas, milk talkative and euphoric behavior, calming, a sense of well-being, clear thinking and relaxed muscles. Sleep is restful and there are no after-effects the next day.

Kava has also interestingly been employed by the military in Fiji to aid in vigilance and anxiety reduction, to provide concentration and focus, to provide muscle control before sports and music performances, to reduce anxiety associated with public speaking and other public performances, and in corporate meetings to aid in mental clarity, sociability and improved decision making.

Contrary to coffee, alcohol, and many pharmaceuticals, Kava is known to be non-addictive, and to have no tolerance buildup. Medical literature sometimes claims it has a "potential for addiction" because "it produces mild euphoria and relaxation". In a traditional setting, a moderately potent kava drink causes effects within 20–30 minutes that last for about two and a half hours, but can be felt for up to eight hours. Because of this, it is recommended to space out servings about fifteen minutes apart. Some report longer term effects up to two days after ingestion, including a feeling of mental clarity, patience, and an ease of acceptance. The effects of kava are most often compared to alcohol, or a large dose of diazepam.

The sensations, in order of appearance, are slight tongue and lip numbing (the lips and skin surrounding may appear unusually pale); mildly talkative and sociable behavior; clear thinking; calmness; relaxed muscles; and a sense of well-being. As with other drugs that affect the GABA receptors, there can also be paradoxical dysphoria. The numbing of the mouth is caused by the two kavalactones kavain and dihydrokavain which cause the contraction of the blood vessels in these areas acting as a local topical anesthetic. These anesthetics can also make one's stomach feel numb. Sometimes this feeling has been mistaken for nausea. Some report that caffeine, consumed moderately in conjunction with kava can significantly increase mental alertness.

The effects of a kava drink vary widely with the particular selection of kava plant(s) and amount. A potent drink results in a faster onset with a lack of stimulation; the user's eyes become sensitive to light; they soon become somnolent and then have deep, dreamless sleep within 30 minutes. Sleep is often restful and there are pronounced periods of sleepiness correlating to the amount and potency of kava consumed. Unlike with alcohol-induced sleep, after wakening the drinker does not experience any mental or physical after effects. However, this sleep has been reported as extremely restful and the user often wakes up more stimulated than he or she normally would (though excessive consumption of exceptionally potent brew has been known to cause pronounced sleepiness into the next day). Although heavy doses can cause deep dreamless sleep, it is reported that many people experience lighter sleep and rather vivid dreams after drinking moderate amounts of kava.

For a good reason, Kava Kava is known as the “anti-shyness” herb. One of the many amazing benefits of kava, is that it can be so relaxing without drowsiness, putting one in a more open and comfortable state, quite conducive to both initiating conversation with a potential partner or with a long time lover. It also can increase a sense of euphoria, without losing any of your wits or your faculties as alcohol so often can.

Kava can have a direct stimulating effect on the sexual organs if consumed in somewhat larger quantities. Some users attest that they experience a tingling feeling in the genitalia, when taking Kava.


Kapicacchu for Improved Sex Life

kapicacchu aphrodisiac

Botanical Name: Mucuna Pruriens
English/Common Name: Velvet Bean, Cowhage, Cow-itch, Buffalo bean
Ayurvedic Name: Kaunch, Atmagupta, Kapikacchu
Family: Fabaceae
Part Used: Seeds / Fruits

Kapikachu (Mucuna Pruriens) enjoys an important place among aphrodisiac herbs in India since ancient times. Susruta mentions the use of the seeds as promoters of virility, as also Bhavamisra. It is categorized as visya – the substance that improves sexual vitality and functioning. Its use as an anthelmintic (capable of expelling or destroying parasitic worms) has also been mentioned in older books on traditional medicine. Yogaratnakara has a reference to its use in a formulation for tremors.

The literal meaning of the word kapikacchu is, one who scratches the body like a monkey. The surface of the pods of this climber is covered with bristles, which are allergic to the skin. On touching, it gives intensive itching sensation. Hence, aptly it has named as kapikacchu. It is also called as markati as the furred surface of its pods resembles to that of monkey’s skin.

Mucuna Pruriens is a common twiner, extensively distributed all over India, from the Himalayan foot hills and the plains of Punjab to Sri Lanka. It is a large half – woody twiner, with long slender cylindrical branches. The leaves are 15- 20 cm long, alternate, trifoliate, with ovate leaflets 7-12 cm long. The flowers large shortly stalked, in clusters and purple in color. The fruits, turgid pods, clothed with brown or grey irritant bristles. The seeds, 4-6 per pod, are black and ovoid or bean shaped, about 1 cm in diameter.

Traditionally, Mucuna Pruriens find use in number of diseases and is commonly used as carminative, hypotensive & hypoglycemic agent. From phytochemistry point of view, the drug contains L-dopa (which is very effective in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease), tryptamine alkaloids, lecithin and tannins. All these compounds are known to exist in the seeds. There were some reports that the same compounds are detected and can be extracted from its leaves and stem as well.

Mucuna Pruriens has been shown to increase testosterone levels, helps deposition of protein in the muscles and increase muscle mass and strength. The seeds, roots and the bristles on its pods have great medicinal value. It is the most commonly used ingredient in many tonics for impotency and for enhancing sexual vitality. It also works well as a restorative for conditions of debility and weakness. The extract is also known to enhance mental alertness and improve coordination.

The seed powders of kapikacchu impart very potent effect, when taken with sugar and followed by milk. It augments the seminal fluids, vitality and the vigor. The hot infusion of the seeds is an excellent panacea for premature ejaculation in men. The seeds are useful as a galactogouge in lactating mothers.

The roots of this plant are diuretic. The decoction of the roots is beneficial in renal problems and dysuria. The roots also help regulate the menstrual cycle. They are useful to enhance the sexual vigor in women. The root powder, for this purpose, mixed with sugar, ghee and honey works well. In vata diseases like facial palsy, cervical spondylosis, Parkinson’s disease, paralysis etc, the decoction of kapikacchu is rewarding.

Generally, this herb is used with amalaki, ashwagandha, shatavari, gokshura, white and black musali to make pills and jelly or gelatin capsules. The bristles of the pods, filled in gelatin capsules, are used with benefit in intestinal worm infestations, especially in round worms. The seed powder, combined with honey, is commonly used as a general tonic. In bronchial asthma, the seed powder, honey and ghee are an effective combination.

Its Ayurvedic applications include: indigestion, colic, debility, edema, impotence, infertility, leukorrhea, menorrhagia, roundworm, spermatorrhea, Parkinsons, roots-fever, edema, elephantiasis (externally), and nervous disorders (including facial paralysis).

Regarding toxicity, its adverse effects were mild and were mainly gastro-intestinal in nature. No adverse effects were seen in clinical laboratory reports.



Catuaba, an Aphrodisiac

catuaba aphrodisiac

Family: Erythroxylaceae
Genus: Erythroxylum
Species: Catuaba
Synonyms: None
Other Species: Erythroxylum vacciniifolium, Trichilia catigua, Juniperus brasiliensis, Eriotheca candolleana, Anemopaegma mirandum
Common Names: Catuaba, cataguá, chuchuhuasha, tatuaba, pau de reposta, caramuru, piratançara, angelim-rosa, catiguá
Part Used: Bark, root

Erythroxylum catuaba is a vigorous-growing, small tree that produces yellow and orange flowers and small, dark yellow, oval-shaped, inedible fruit. It grows in the northern part of Brazil in Amazonas, Para, Pernambuco, Bahia, Maranhao, and Alagoas. This catuaba tree belongs to the family Erythroxylaceae, whose principal genus, Erythroxylum, contains several species that are sources of cocaine. Catuaba, however, contains none of the active cocaine alkaloids.

Catuaba has a long history of use in herbal medicine as an aphrodisiac. The Tupi Indians in Brazil first discovered the aphrodisiac qualities of the plant and over the last few centuries they have composed many songs praising its wonders and abilities. Indigenous and local peoples have used catuaba for generations. It is the most famous of all Brazilian aphrodisiac plants. In the Brazilian state of Minas there is a saying, "Until a father reaches 60, the son is his; after that, the son is catuaba's!"

Initially they found the herb helped to enhance libido, then they noticed its other numerous beneficial qualities: relieving pain and fatigue, controlling nervousness, improving memory, helping with depression, among others.

In Brazilian herbal medicine today, catuaba is considered a central nervous system stimulant with aphrodisiac properties. A bark decoction is commonly used for sexual impotency, agitation, nervousness, nerve pain and weakness, poor memory or forgetfulness, and sexual weakness.

Catuaba functions as a stimulant of the nervous system, above all when one deals with functional impotence of the male genital organs. It is an innocent aphrodisiac, used without any ill effects at all. In Brazil it is regarded as an aphrodisiac with "proven efficacy" and, in addition to treating impotence, it is employed for many types of nervous conditions including insomnia, hypochondria, and pain related to the central nervous system (such as sciatica and neuralgia).

In European herbal medicine catuaba is considered an aphrodisiac and a brain and nerve stimulant. A bark tea is used for sexual weakness, impotence, nervous debility, and exhaustion. Herbalists and health practitioners in the United States use catuaba in much the same way: as a tonic for genital function, as a central nervous system stimulant, for sexual impotence, general exhaustion and fatigue, insomnia related to hypertension, agitation, and poor memory.

According to Michael van Straten, noted British author and researcher of medicinal plants, catuaba is beneficial to men and women as an aphrodisiac, but "it is in the area of male impotence that the most striking results have been reported" and "there is no evidence of side effects, even after long-term use."

Clinical studies on catuaba also have shown results related to its antibacterial and antiviral properties. A 1992 study indicated that an extract of catuaba (Erythoxlyum catuaba) was effective in protecting mice from lethal infections of Escherichia coli and Staphlococcus aureus, in addition to inhibiting HIV significantly. The study found that the pathway of catuaba's anti-HIV activity stemmed (at least partially) from the inhibition of HIV absorption into cells, and suggested that catuaba had potential against opportunistic infections in HIV patients. A U.S. patent was granted (in 2002) to a group of Brazilian researchers for a catuaba bark extract (Trichilia catigua). Its patent refers to animal studies it conducted that reported that it relieved pain and relaxed and dilated blood vessels in rats, rabbits and guinea pigs.

To date, no toxicity studies have been done on catuaba - but its long history of use in Brazil has reported no toxicity or ill effects. In fact, according to Dr. Meira Penna, the only side-effects are beneficial - erotic dreams and increased sexual desire! While no clinical research has validated the traditional use of catuaba as an aphrodisiac, it continues to be used widely for its ability to enhance sexual drive and increase libido in both men and women.



Green Oats as an Aphrodisiac


green oats aphrodisiac

Green Oats (Avena Sativa) is a botanical extract that has traditionally been used to increase strength, mind, spirit and body. It is an extract from wild oats straw which are harvested during their milky stage. References to the sexually stimulating effects of oats have been found up to 200 years ago in the German Pharmacopoeia. Modern studies at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality have shown that the extract helps improve interest in sex.

Oats have been a traditional food for people recovering from illnesses. It’s primarily used to supplement fiber in the diet. In the 12th century, it has been reported that wild green oats are used as mood enhancers and contribute to a clear, sharp mind. It also builds strength which benefits those suffering chronic fatigue.

Currently though, oats are more commonly associated with heart health and considered a slow release carbohydrate that can help keep sugar levels at a steady. The extract from its wild counterpart (green oats - avena sativa) is also becoming a popular natural alternative to pharmaceutical erection enhancers without the dangerous side effects. In men it is effective for treating impotence and premature ejaculation. In women it reportedly increases sexual desire.

A research conducted by an Israeli company, Frutarom, which was announced in 2006, helped support the efficacy of green oats use in the middle ages. They discovered that green oats can provide positioning opportunities in the areas of cognitive support, concentration enhancement, stress and burnout, chronic fatigue, mood balance and nerve strengthening.

In 1986, the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, a graduate school specializing in Sexology, conducted a pilot study of green oats. The volunteers in the study expressed interest in improving their sexual response. Their dysfunction/dissatisfaction ranged from male impotence and female lack of desire to inability to respond sexually. The volunteers, ages 22-64, consisted of 20 men and 20 women who were given a 300 mg capsule of Avena Sativa extract; which they took three days a week for six weeks. Men experienced a 22% increase in genital sensation and women experienced a 15% increase in genital sensation. Men experienced a 36% increase in the frequency of orgasms and women experienced a 29% increase in the frequency of orgasms.

According to the study, green oats helps boost the sex drive. Researchers discovered that the extract work by freeing up testosterone, which becomes increasingly bound to various compounds within the body with advancing age. Bound testosterone is not nearly as effective as free testosterone in stimulating the sex centers in the brain that generate the sex drive that leads us to seek out and engage in sexual activity. Bound testosterone, by the way, is mainly attributed with enlarged prostates.