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Andreana Bitsis

Natural Male Performance Enhancers (That Aren’t Dangerous)

A few months ago when former Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom was found unconscious in a brothel after having consumed, among other intoxicants, a form of “herbal viagra”, many popular wellness periodicals ran critical pieces on the subject. The idea that “herbal viagra”, as some supplements are often marketed, can be dangerous is a theory espoused by modern medicine and one that is not new– but the science of natural aphrodisiacs is not.

Odom’s misfortune, now frequently lampooned, spurned a discussion about the safety and efficacy of “herbal viagra” and whether or not such a thing could exist. As anyone with an awareness of herbal medicine will note, supplements (of both the herbal and non-herbal variety) are not regulated by the FDA, and thus could potentially pose a risk if abused or taken without sufficient knowledge of their effects. There are, however, a litany of foods and herbs that have a known stimulating effect on male virility, but given the sensitive nature of the subject, most frequently go undiscussed.

Below, we’ve composed a guide to seven beneficial plant-based performance enhancers for men. This list is far from exhaustive, but the science supporting it is– ehem– rock-solid.

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Bananas

This potassium-rich fruit can help lower blood pressure, which in turn boosts sexual performance without the inherent risk of artificial supplementation. Bananas also contain the enzyme bromelain, which is believed to increase libido and reverse impotence in men (much like Fenugreek, but with a much more discreet flavor). Riboflavin, a potent B-vitamin found in bananas, also increases energy levels while regulating testosterone.

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Goji Berries

Scientists in China have demonstrated that the fruit of Goji (Lycium barbarum, L. chinensis) has protective effects against heat-induced damage of rat testes. Goji berries may support male fertility by increasing sperm count and improving sperm motility in human men, as well.

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Avocados

Omega 3 fatty acids play a huge role in male fertility. Avocados– natures oldest aphrodisiac— are rich in monounstaturated fats that encourage heart health and arterial strength. Supporting circulation at the epicenter of blood flow (the heart) improve’s the body’s ability to send it to the right areas at the right time (there’s a reason why the expression, ‘get the blood flowing…’ exists). According to an article on Health.com, the Aztecs even referred to avocados as testicles because of their ovular shape. Monounsaturated fats, meanwhile, support general heart health in men– an important boon considering that men with underlying heart disease are twice as likely to experience erectile disfunction.

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Maca

Maca (pronounced Ma-Ka), also known as Peruvian Ginseng, was revered in ancient Incan civilizations for it’s stimulating effects on the mind, body, and spirit. Modern Western medicine now supports the theory that maca boosts libido improves stamina— but only when taken for short periods of time, as maca looses its potency after the user builds up a tolerance (much like coffee– the more you drink, the less you feel the effects; which isn’t to say they aren’t happening). Maca is frequently sold in powder form and can be sprinkled into a smoothie or folded into no-bake desserts for added nutritional (and bedroom-friendly) benefits.

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Chilies and Hot Peppers

Spicy foods support healthy blood flow by reducing hypertension and inflammation in the body. Capsaicin, an active component of chili peppers in the genus Capsicum, triggers endorphin cascades which can in turn encourage feelings of euphoria and pleasure– two good mood-inducers for when things get hot n’ heavy.

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Horny Goat Weed

Cheeky name notwithstanding, Horny Goat Weed has long been prescribed by herbalists for men looking for a little herbal stimulation. Interested parties are advised to get their Epimedium from a trusted herb purveyor (organic or wild-foraged, if possible!) and to take the minimum effective dose required to treat erectile dysfunction. As WebMD points out, anywhere between 6 grams and 15 grams a day should suffice. For long term use, consult your local herbalist or naturopath. (And in general, when beginning any new wellness routine, be sure to check for specific drug interactions with any other medications you might be taking.)

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Sun Exposure

Melatonin is a key factor in determined sexual function– which is why, in addition to securing a daily dose of Vitamin D, it pays to spend at least a portion of the day outdoors soaking up some rays. (Vitamin D-3 increases testosterone production, which in turn increases sex drive.) According to the reccomendations of a Harvard Research Study on The Benefits of Moderate Sun Exposure, there is a connection between smart sun exposure and overall vitality, which in this case is attributable to improved male virility. “Under the right circumstances,” reads a report from Harvard Medical School, “10 to 15 minutes of sun on the arms and legs a few times a week can generate nearly all the Vitamin D we need.” After that time, be sure to wear an SPF sunscreen of 15 or higher when spending prolonged periods of time outdoors.

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