Ladies, you are not alone if you feel like your sex drive is low. In fact, according to Chinese medicine, it is part of the natural cycle of aging. Now that doesn’t mean that we can’t do anything about it! It does mean that we shouldn’t blame ourselves or our partners. If your sex drive is low, it may be related to your vital organs being depleted, in particular, your kidneys.
According to Chinese medicine, the kidneys are responsible for vibrant health, longevity, and those hormones that are essential to reproduction, as well as our sex drive. As we age and use up our essence to live life, we also use up our kidney essence. The more we run around like chickens with our heads cut off, the more essence we use up and the less energy we have for things like sex. I know with 2 young children I feel like I am constantly on the run with an endless to do list and when night rolls in, I have very little energy to think about anything except a cup of tea and finishing folding the laundry while watching a terribly wrong reality TV show. There are other variables that could be disrupting your libido, like antidepressants. Try using exercise to help bring blood flow back. Also, refer to the Qi Gong exercises I recommend below.
So what, prey tell, can we do to help out our sad libidos? We need to tonify our kidney yin and yang. How do we do that? There are things we can eat, meditations we can zone out to, and exercises we can do. There are herbs you can take. The Chinese have invested a few thousand years of research in perfecting herbal formulas for such issues as preserving sexual vitality. I will recommend some general herbal aphrodisiacs, but it’s best to consult a practitioner of Chinese Medicine to make sure the herbs are appropriate for your constitution. Men need more yang herbs while women need both yin, yang and qi herbs. I will focus on herbs specifically for women.
Before I dive into the herbs, I want to recommend some foods and exercises that focus on tonifying the kidney qi. Also, I should mention that besides eating a nourishing diet of kidney-strengthening food, lifestyle changes may be able to further help. Set aside some time each day to unwind and decrease stress through things like exercise, yoga, acupuncture and meditation. Going to bed early is also highly beneficial and nourishes your sexual energy. Slowing down and finding balance in your life will help strengthen and replenish your kidneys and adrenals and which will help restore your libido. I also recommend reading an exciting book. Try “Letting Go”, by Kelli Roberts and Richard Bacula ($11.85 on Amazon.com) or using a sex toy, like the Fiera (Fiera.com). Every little bit helps! Last but not least, have date nights with your partner. Communicating and sorting out any resentment can go a long way to opening yourself up to feeling vibrant and sexual again. Lead with your heart and the rest will follow!
FOODS TO BOOST LIBIDO:
Fruit: Cherries, Raspberries, Peaches, Strawberries, apples, pears, watermelon
Nuts and Seeds: Black and white sesame seeds, almonds and walnuts
Seafood: Clams, oysters, lobster, anchovy, shrimp and trout
Meat: Lamb, chicken, venison, beef, duck
Beans: Kidney, adzuki, black beans, tofu
Sea Vegetables: Wakame and kelp
*Try to avoid sugar and carbs which can crash your energy and prevent you from having the endurance you may need to stay active in that cozy bed!
Ren 6 – located about an inch and a half below your belly button. Apply direct pressure with a few fingers for 10 seconds, release and repeat 5-6 times. This may bring a tingly feeling all the way to your genitals. You may want to go to the bathroom just in case before trying this point!
Lung 1 – above your breast next to your armpit. Find an area that is sore and massage it gently for 2-3 minutes. You may notice you take a deep breath during the massage. This encourages circulation throughout the whole body and can bring about spontaneous relaxation.
Ren 17 – this point is right below your sternum at the midline of you body. You can palpate from the middle of your breasts downward until you don’t feel any more bones, and you feel the first soft indentation. That’s the point and it may be sensitive! This point is great for the heart and opens up the heart chakra!
Liver 8 – this point is on the medial (inner) side of your leg above your knee. Massage around that area until you find the most tender spot. You can hold the pressure for as long as you can and repeat. This point is great for the blood circulation to the genitals.
QI GONG EXERCISE:
This is a video made by my friend Mimi Kuo-Deemer. We met when I lived in Beijing and now she’s a yoga and qi gong instructor living in London. I love her videos! This video helps bring energy to the kidneys, the source of vitality and an important pair of organs when you need to boost your sexual energy! Enjoy!
(Please consult an herbalist to formulate a prescription that’s right for you!)
Chinese ginseng is a powerful herb for strengthening your Qi and helping your body adapt to stress. It is used as a sexual tonic because of its modulating effects on your nervous system. If you are lethargic it can give you sexual energy, and if you are tense it can help you relax. Chinese ginseng contains compounds that may have effects on your body resembling those of certain sexnd adrenal hormones. It does not act as an immediate sexual stimulant, but when taken long-term it can enhance your sexual vitality. It is usually used in combination with other herbal aphrodisiacs to increase sexual potency, kidney yang, and kidney Essence. In postmenopausal women ginseng can prevent atrophy of the vulvar and vaginal tissues. As a single herb, the recommended dose of ginseng is 200 milligrams taken two to three times a day. I take the liquid kind that can be purchased on Amazon.com
Cordyceps is one of the shining stars among Chinese herbal aphrodisiacs. It builds your sexual energy over time by enhancing your kidney yang and replenishing your kidney yin. Because of its dual nature, expansive yet contractive, cordyceps is a perfect sexual tonic for women. It also has immunity-enhancing properties. In China, cordyceps is highly valued. Fortunately, it has become more readily available as a result of modern cultivation techniques. The recommended dose of cordyceps as a single herb is 500 milligrams two to three times a day. Refrain from using cordyceps if you have a fever.
Rehmannia is superb for nourishing your kidney yin and kidney Essence. In Chinese medicine, this herb is said to be “food for your kidneys,” very rejuvenating, and with the potential to increase your longevity. Rehmannia is usually used in combination with other herbs to build Blood, and strengthen yin and Qi. As a women’s herb, it can enhance your sexuality and draw Qi and energy into your reproductive organs. You will benefit most from the prepared form of rehmannia that has been soaked in wine, steamed, and sun-dried (this form of rehmannia should not be used if you have diarrhea). Rehmannia is seldom prescribed as a single herb. One of the most popular Chinese herbal formulas containing rehmannia, along with other herbs for building kidney yin and kidney Essence, is Six Flavor Rehmannia Pills; the usual dose is eight pellets three times a day, depending on the type of product purchased.
*There are also formulas you can take in pill form. Consult your practitioner or contact me for further information.
Photo Credit: Flickr: David