Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica ñ Drug Research, Vol. 68 No. 1 pp. 3ñ8, 2011 RECENT STUDIES ON APHRODISIAC HERBS FOR THE MANAGEMENT NEELESH MALVIYA1*, SANJAY JAIN1, VIPIN BIHARI GUPTA2 AND SAVITA VYAS3 1Smriti College of Pharmaceutical Education, Indore, India 2BR Nahata College of Pharmacy, Mandsaur, India Abstract: An aphrodisiac is a type of food or drink that has the effect of making those who eat or drink it more
aroused in a sexual way. Aphrodisiacs can be categorized according to their mode of action into three groups:
substances that increase libido (i.e., sexual desire, arousal), substances that increase sexual potency (i.e., effec-
tiveness of erection) and substances that increase sexual pleasure. Some well-known aphrodisiacs are Tribulus
terrestris, Withania somnifera, Eurycoma longifolia, Avena sativa, Ginko biloba,
and Psoralea coryifolia.
Ethnobotanical surveys have indicated a large number of plants as aphrodisiacs. The paper reviews the recent
scientific validation on traditionally used herbal plants as aphrodisiac herbs for the management of sexual dis-
order erectile dysfunction.
Keywords: aphrodisiacs, herbal plants, erectile dysfunction
An aphrodisiac is defined as any food or drug cess. Most potent herbal aphrodisiacs are available that arouses the sexual instinct, induces veneral and have little or very little side effects (7). Some of
desire and increases pleasure and performance. This the herbs are Gokhru (Tribulus terrestris) word is derived from ëAphroditeí the Greek goddess Zygophylaceae (active parts ñ fruits), onion (Allium of love and these substances are derived from plants, cepa) Liliaceae (active parts ñ bulb), garlic (Allium animals or minerals and since time immemorial they sativum) Liliaceae (Active parts ñ bulbs) etc. (8, 9).
have been the passion of man (1). There are two Other herbal plants with aphrodisiac activity are main types of aphrodisiacs, psychophysiological Datura metel, Atropa belladonna, Hyoscyamus stimuli (visual, tactile, olfactory and aural) prepara- niger, Cannabis sativa, Eurycoma longifolia, Avena tions and internal preparations (food, alcoholic sativa, Ginko biloba, Psoralea coryifolia. Here is the drinks and love portion) (2).
list of plants with their description, experimental Erectile dysfunction (ED) or (male) impotence study, chemical constituents and conclusion about is a sexual dysfunction characterized by the inabili- the aphrodisiac activity of plants (10). ty to develop or maintain an erection of the penis
(3). There are various underlying causes, such as
Phoenix dactylifera
cardiovascular leakage and diabetes, many of which The date palm pollen (DPP) is used in the tra- are medically treatable. The causes of erectile dys- ditional medicine for male infertility. Experimental function may be physiological or psychological (4).
study ñ The effect of Phoenix dactylifera, pollen, on Folk remedies have long been advocated, with some sperm parameters and reproductive system of adult being advertised widely since the 1930s (5). The
male rats was studied and the results indicated that introduction of the first pharmacologically approved the consumption of DPP suspensions improved the remedy for impotence, sildenafil (trade name sperm count, motility, morphology, and DNA qual- Viagra), in the 1990s caused a wave of public atten- ity with a concomitant increase in the weights of tion, propelled in part by heavy advertising (6). .
testis and epididymis. Constituents ñ The date palm There are many herbal drugs that have been contains estradiol and flavonoid components that used by men with ED with varying degrees of suc- have positive effects on the sperm quality.
* Corresponding author: e-mail: neelesh_brncop@rediffmail.com Conclusion ñ DPP suspension seems to improve Montanoa tomentosa
sperm quality, enhance fertility in the male adult rat.
Cihuapatli, the Mexican zoapatle (Montanoa Therefore, it may be useful to solve infertility prob- tomentosa) has an extensive ethnomedical history of use as a traditional remedy for reproductive impair-ments. Experimental study ñ Copulatory behavior of Fadogia agrestis
sexually active male rats receiving doses of 38, 75 Experimental study ñ The phytochemical con- and 150 mg/kg of the aqueous crude extract of M. stituents and the aphrodisiac potential of the aque- tomentosa, was assessed. In addition, it was evaluat- ous extract of Fadogia agrestis (Rubiaceae) stem in ed the effect of a 75-mg/kg dose of the extract on male albino rats were evaluated. All the doses result- males with anesthetization of the genital area and on ed in significant increase in mount frequency, intro- sexual behavior of sexually inactive male rats (non- mission frequency and significantly prolonged the copulators). Constituents ñ The exact constituents ejaculatory latency (p < 0.05) and reduced mount have to be discovered. Conclusion ñ The study pro- and intromission latency (p < 0.05). There was also vides evidence that the aqueous crude extract of M. a significant increase in serum testosterone concen- tomentosa is a potent stimulator of sexual behavior, trations in all the groups in a manner suggestive of particularly of sexual arousal in male rats, and that it dose-dependence (p < 0.05). Constituents ñ promotes the expression of masculine sexual behav- Phytochemical screening revealed the presence of ior in previously sexually inactive animals. On these alkaloids and saponins while antraquinones and bases, this extract can be considered to possess flavonoids are weakly present. Conclusion ñ The aqueous extract of Fadogia agrestis stem increasedthe blood testosterone concentrations and this may Butea frondosa
be the mechanism responsible for its aphrodisiac B. frondosa (Fabaceae), is traditionally effects and various masculine behaviors. It may be claimed to possess aphrodisiac, expectorant, used to modify impaired sexual functions in ani- emmenagogue, diuretic and astringent properties.
mals, especially those arising from hypotesto- The plant Butea frondosa has also been indicated in the Indian system of medicine as a plant aug-menting memory and as a rejuvenator. The skin of Chione venosa
the bark and resin contains tannic and gallic acids.
The Caribbean island of Grenada furnishes the The plant gives a resin gum, called as Kino oil, popular aphrodisiac drug ìBois Bandeî, which con- proteolytic and lipolytic enzymes, palasonin, sists of the stem bark and the roots of Chione venosa sitosterol, amyrin, monospermin, lectins and lac- (SW.) URBAN var. venosa (Rubiaceae), a native tone. Experimental study ñ The study done by S.
tree growing in the islands rain forest. Constituents Ramachandran, confirmed the claims of B. fron- ñ The phytochemical investigation of dichloro- dosa as an aphrodisiac agent. Sexually active and methane and methanolic-aqueous extracts of the inactive animals showed increased and improved bark and the roots yielded three acetophenone sexual performance, when B. frondosa extract (400 derivatives described for the first time in plants ñ mg/kg b. w.) was administered for a period of 21 ortho-hydroxyacetophenone azine, acetophenone- to 28 days. Mount latency (ML), intromission 2-O-[β-D-apiofuranosyl-(1í,6í)-β-D-glucopyra- latency (IL), ejaculation latency (EL), mounting noside] and acetophenone-2-O-β-D-glucopyra- frequency (MF), intromission frequency (IF), noside, along with five known compounds, α-mor- ejaculation frequency (EF) and post-ejaculatory roniside, sweroside, diderroside, daucosterol and β- interval (PEI) were the parameters observed sitosterol. Their structures were elucidated by 1D before and during the sexual behavior study.
and 2D NMR analysis, UVñVis and ESIñMS spec- Constituents ñ Monoamines were present as an troscopy. Conclusion ñ It was concluded that the active constituent. Conclusion ñ The extract study of the chemical composition of Chione reduced significantly ML, IL, EL and PEI (p < venosa (SW.) URBAN var. venosa has revealed the 0.05). The extract also increased significantly MF, presence of three acetophenones hitherto unknown IF and EF (p < 0.05). These effects were observed in plants, three iridoids and two well-known triter- in sexually active and inactive male rats (15).
penes. These results not only enhance the knowl-edge of a traditionally used medicinal plant but also Myristica fragrans
contribute to the aphrodisiac potential of the plant M. fragrans commonly known as nutmeg, widely used as spice and in alternative medicine, Recent studies on aphrodisiac herbs for the management.
has been reported to have aphrodisiac, stomachic, of Ruta chalepensis mediated through a pituitary- carminative, tonic, nervous stimulant, aromatic, testicle axis participating in the physiological events narcotic, astringent, hypolipidemic, antithrombot- ic, antifungal, antidysentric and anti-inflammatoryproperties. Nutmeg is the dried kernel of broadly Satureja khuzestanica
ovoid seed of Myristica fragrans Houtt.
Satureja khuzestanica Jamzad is an endemic (Myristicaceae). It has been mentioned in Unani plant that is widely distributed in the Southern part medicine to be of value in the management of male of Iran. It is famous for its medical uses as analgesic sexual disorders. Experimental study ñ The study and antiseptic in folk medicine. The genus Satureja was undertaken to evaluate the aphrodisiac effect belongs to the family Lamiaceae, subfamily of 50% ethanolic extract of nutmeg along with its Nepetoideae and the tribe Mentheae. There are evi- likely adverse effects and acute toxicity using var- dences indicating that carvacrol and flavonoids are ious animal models. The suspension of the extract the main constituents of Satureja spp. Four com- was administered (100, 250 and 500 mg/kg, p.o.) to pounds β-sitosterol, β-sitosterol-3-O-β-D-glucopy- different groups of male rats daily for seven days.
ranoside, ursolic acid and 4í,5,6-trihydroxy-3í,7- The female rats involved in mating were made dimethoxyflavone were characterized from the receptive by hormonal treatment. The general mat- dichloromethane extract of the aerial parts of ing behavior, libido and potency were studied and Satureja khuzistanica. Experimental study ñ The compared with the standard reference drug silde- study was undertaken to see the effect of Satureja nafil citrate. Constituents ñ The nutmeg contains a khuzestanica essential oil (SKEO) in male rat fertil- volatile oil, a fixed oil, proteins, fats, starch and ity. SKEO was administered orally at doses of 75, mucilage. The fixed oil contains myristin and 150, and 225 mg/kg/day for 45 days in drinking myristic acid. Nutmeg yields 5ñ15% of volatile oil, water. Treated and control rats were mated with which contains pinene, sabinene, camphene, female on day 45 of treatment. SKEO significantly myristicin, elemicin, isoelemicin, eugenol, improved all the parameters evaluated such as isoeugenol, methoxyeugenol, safrole, dimeric potency, fecundity, fertility index, and litter size.
phenylpropanoids, lignans and neolignans.
Constituents ñ It contains more than 0.5% of essen- Conclusion ñ The 50% ethanolic extract of nutmeg tial oil. Conclusion ñ The concentrations of FSH and possesses aphrodisiac activity, increasing both testosterone were significantly increased in SKEO- libido and potency, which might be attributed to its treated groups. Also the weights of testes, seminal nervous stimulating property. The study thus pro- vesicles, and ventral prostate weights were vides a scientific rationale for the traditional use of increased by SKEO (225 mg/kg). Histopathological nutmeg in the management of male sexual disor- analysis showed that in male rats treated with SKEO (150, 225 mg/kg) the number of spermatogonium,spermatid cords, Leydig cells, and spermatozoids Ruta chalepensis
Ruta chalepensis has been used medicinally in many ancient cultures. In ancient Turkish and Lepidium meyenii
Chinese literature, its use as an abortifacient and Lepidium meyenii (Maca) is a Peruvian uterine stimulant was reported. Plant showed the hypocotyl that grows exclusively between 4000 presence of alkaloids, flavonoids, coumarins, tan- and 4500 m in the central Andes. Maca is tradi- nins, volatile oil, sterols and/or triterpenes.
tionally employed in the Andean region for its sup- Experimental study ñ The plant had a spermotroph- posed fertility-enhancing properties. Experimental ic action demonstrated by Abdullah and Qarawi, in study ñ Adult male rats were exposed for 21 days experimental study, by an increase in sperm count, to an altitude of 4340 m and treated with vehicle or motility, living percent, and a decrease in encoun- aqueous extract of Maca (666.6 mg/day). The tered sperm abnormalities. The hormonal profile lengths of the stages of the seminiferous epithelium was also influenced by the R. chalepensis extract.
and epididymal sperm counts were obtained at 0, 7, The testosterone and FSH levels were significantly 14 and 21 days of exposure. The stages of the sem- increased with no change in the LH and prolactin iniferous tubules were assessed by transillumina- levels. Constituents ñ From the naturally occurring tion. A doseñresponse study was also performed at coumarins, only the 3-phenylcoumarins have been sea level to determine the effect of Maca given to present in Ruta chalepensis possessing potent estro- male rats at doses of 0, 6.6, 66.6 and 666.6 mg/day genic activity. Conclusion ñ The stimulatory effects for 7 days on body weight, seminiferous tubule stages and epididymal sperm count. Constituents ñ WORLDWIDE RESEARCH ON SCREENING
Dry Maca hypocotyls have 59% carbohydrates, OF MEDICINAL PLANT FOR APHRODISIAC
10.2% proteins, 8.5% fiber, 2.2% lipids and a num- POTENTIAL
ber of other compounds, including most of theessential amino acids. Arginine, a constituent of Benson et al. extracted total flavonoids from Maca, has been clinically proven to play a role in Palisota hirsuta leaves, which modified the sexual male fertility. Maca also contains sterols, such as parameters such as the latent time of observation campesterol, stigmasterol and sitosterol that (LTO) and the number of tentative of intromission enhance fertility. Conclusion ñ The study conclud- (NTI) (vaginal penetration) among the male rats.
ed that treatment of rats with Maca at high altitude They justified the use of Palisota hirsute leaves as prevented high altitude-induced spermatogenic an aphrodisiac in traditional herbal medicine (22).
Chauhan et al. evaluated ethanolic extract of rhi-zomes of Curculigo orchioides for its sexual behav- Eurycoma longifolia
ior in rats. The treatment reflected reduction of Eurycoma longifolia Jack commonly known as mount latency, increase in mount frequency and Tongkat Ali is well known among various ethnic enhanced attractability towards female. Penile erec- groups in Malaysia for treating disease and enhanc- tion index was also incremented in treated group ing health and as such, it is sometimes referred to as (23). It was explained that the rhizomes of Curculigo ëMalaysian ginsengí. A recent research reports the orchioides Gaertn have been traditionally acclaimed isolation of several quassinoids from Eurycoma as aphrodisiac. Administration of 100 mg/kg b. w.
longifolia. Certain quassinoids, isolated from of ethanolic extract has pronounced effect on orien- Eurycoma longifolia are known to possess a variety tation of male towards the female rats. These find- of biological activities, including antitumor, antivi- ings support the folk use of this plant as aphrodisiac.
ral, antifeedant, antiamoebic and anti-inflammatory The study explores the utilization of Rasyana herbs activities. Experimental study ñ The effects of for effective management of sexual dysfunction Eurycoma longifolia Jack were studied on the sexu- (24). Cherdshewasart et al. studied the effect of al qualities of middle aged male rats after dosing Butea superba on erectile dysfunction (ED) in Thai them with 0.5 g/kg of various fractions of E. longi- males. The plant preparation appears to improve the folia whilst the control group received 3 mL/kg of erectile function in patients without apparent toxici- normal saline daily for 12 weeks. Constituents ñ ty (25). Gauthaman et al. studied the aphrodisiac Phytochemical screening revealed the presence of properties of Tribulus Terrestris extract (Proto- alkaloids, lactones and phenolics. Conclusion ñ The dioscin) in normal and castrated rats. They reported study shows that E. longifolia Jack enhanced the that the mechanism of extract activity was probably sexual qualities of the middle aged male rats, and due to androgen increasing property (26). Hossein- further studies should be conducted to determine if zadeh et al. reported the aphrodisiac activities of this plant has the above property in middle aged men Crocus sativus stigma aqueous extract and its con- stituents, safranal and crocin in male rats. Safranaldid not show aphrodisiac effects (27). Ilayperuma et Eriosema kraussianum
al. determined the effect of methanolic extract of Zulu traditional health practitioners have Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal roots on sexual com- claimed that the roots of Eriosema kraussianum N.
petence of male rats. The root extract induced a E. Br (Papilionaceae) and other Eriosema species marked impairment in libido, sexual performance, (Zulu indigenous umbrella name of ìuBangalalaî) sexual vigor, and penile erectile dysfunction. They are effective remedies for the treatment of erectile determined that use of W. somnifera roots may be dysfunction and/or impotence. Five pyrano- detrimental to male sexual competence (28). Marion isoflavones (kraussianones 1ñ5) have been isolated Meyer et al. isolated and identified the active con- from the rootstock of Eriosema kraussianum and stituents of Securidaca longepedunculata and deter- were screened for smooth muscle relaxation of rab- mined their activity in the relaxation of corpus cav- bit penile muscle. The most active of the compounds ernosal smooth muscle. They concluded that S. had an activity of 75% of that found in Viagra in the longepedunculataís xanthones stimulate the relax- erectile dysfunction test on rabbit penile smooth ation of corpus cavernosum smooth muscle, which muscle. Kraussianone 1 showed an activity close to supports the traditional use of its root bark (29).
that of Viagra, thus living up to the plantís tradition- Nocerino et al. reported the aphrodisiac and adapto- genic properties of ginseng. The endothelial and Recent studies on aphrodisiac herbs for the management.
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