Tea That Increases Libido

Written by: Pard Bharaj



Time to read 14 min

Image of Pard, the Author

Author: Pard Bharaj

I am a dedicated researcher with nearly a decade of experience in investigating health best practices. My journey in the health and wellness field has been driven by a passion for understanding and sharing the most effective ways to maintain and improve health. Over the years, I have delved into a wide range of topics, constantly seeking out the latest research and insights. My commitment is to provide well-researched, accurate, and trustworthy information to help readers make informed decisions about their health.

"Maca root, which comes from the Andes and was used by the Incas for energy and endurance, helps balance hormone levels and may boost testosterone. I love it"

Laird Hamilton


After reviewing numerous scientific studies, I've narrowed our focus to four specific plants that stand out due to solid scientific evidence supporting their ability to boost libido in both men and women.

I reviewed many scientific journals for plants including Yohimbe Bark, Horny Goat Weed, and Ginkgo Biloba; however, none of these have been included in my top four because the scientific backing for their effectiveness in increasing libido remains either inconclusive or sparse. Only a select few have demonstrated consistent, reliable evidence.

Through my analysis, it was clear that Maca emerges as the top performer, significantly enhancing libido across a broad spectrum of individuals—from healthy adults to those experiencing sexual dysfunction. Ginseng comes in second.

Throughout this article, we will delve into each of these four teas, examining how they influence libido. For those interested in exploring the research further, I encourage you to consult the references and additional readings listed at the end of this article, where you'll find detailed summaries of each study related to these libido-enhancing ingredients.

These plants can be purchased as teas, which is a great way of incorporating them into our diets.

Key Takeaways - Tea That Increases Libido:

  • Maca Root Tea: Boosts libido significantly; ideal for both men and women due to its ability to modulate the endocrine system. Science has shown this plant to be the most effective for enhancing libido in men and women.
  • Korean Ginseng (Panax): Enhances sexual performance and libido; has been studied for its effectiveness in improving erectile function.
  • Damiana Tea: Known for its traditional use as an aphrodisiac; increases sexual desire and performance. Harder to source organically which is important to ensure it is free from unwanted contaminants. In excessive amounts it can have toxic effects.
  • Tribulus Terrestris Tea: Often used to enhance sexual function; may positively affect hormone levels and improve erectile function. The scientific evidence is there but more research is required.

Tea That Increases Libido  

1. Maca Root Tea

Several scientific studies strongly suggest that Maca (Peruvian ginseng), a root native to the Peruvian Andes, enhances libido due to its unique nutritional profile and phytochemical content, which are believed to influence key hormones without containing hormones itself. Maca's effect on libido is not due to a direct hormonal action, but rather it helps modulate the endocrine system, which in turn regulates healthy hormone production. 

Black Maca is often recommended for men, as it is believed to have the most potent effect on increasing sperm production and enhancing libido. Red Maca, on the other hand, is frequently noted for its potentially favourable impact on female sexual health, particularly in balancing hormone levels during menopause.

However, it's important to note that both black and red Maca are effective in enhancing libido in both men and women. While some studies highlight particular benefits of one type over the other, generally speaking, any form of Maca can be beneficial for boosting sexual function.

Maca Root

2. Koriean Ginseng (Panax):

Korean Ginseng, scientifically known as Panax ginseng, is widely studied for its ability to enhance libido and support sexual function in both men and women. Its effectiveness is most likely down to its high content of ginsenosides, which are active compounds believed to have significant effects on the endocrine system. These ginsenosides can release nitric oxide in the endothelium, leading to improved blood flow—a crucial aspect of sexual arousal and performance.

Korean Ginseng has been shown to improve erectile function in men by enhancing penile rigidity and duration of erection. This is primarily due to its ability to increase nitric oxide synthesis, which expands blood vessels and enhances circulation to genital tissues. In women, Korean Ginseng has been found to improve sexual arousal by similarly enhancing blood flow, which is vital for sexual response and sensitivity.

Moreover, Korean Ginseng is noted for its ability to reduce stress and improve overall energy levels, both of which are important for a healthy sexual life.

Korean Ginseng (Panax)

3. Damiana Tea:

Damiana (Turnera diffusa) is a shrub native to the Americas, renowned for its use in traditional medicine as an aphrodisiac. The leaves of the damiana plant are commonly brewed into a tea that is believed to have libido-enhancing properties for both men and women.

The primary action of damiana on sexual function is thought to stem from its compound content, which includes flavonoids, caffeine, and arbutin. These compounds are suggested to stimulate blood flow and increase sensitivity in the genital area, potentially enhancing sexual pleasure and arousal. Furthermore, damiana has been reported to positively affect mood and reduce anxiety, which can often be significant barriers to sexual desire and performance.

Scientific studies on damiana have highlighted its potential as a sexual stimulant. Research suggests that damiana acts on the sympathetic nervous system, which may enhance sexual arousal. 

Damiana (Turnera diffusa) Plant

4. Tribulus Terrestris Tea 

Tribulus Terrestris is a plant that has been in various traditional medicines across the world, including Chinese and Ayurvedic systems. The fruit, leaf, and root of the plant are used to make medicinal teas and supplements. Tribulus Terrestris tea is particularly noted for its potential benefits in enhancing libido and sexual function in both men and women.

The active components in Tribulus Terrestris are believed to be saponins, particularly the protodioscin saponin, which is thought to contribute to the plant's libido-enhancing properties. It is believed the plant can help increase androgen receptor density in the brain, which might enhance the body's response to hormones like testosterone and estrogen. For men, this can translate to improved sperm production and erectile function. For women, Tribulus may help increase sexual desire and arousal.

Despite these potential benefits, the scientific evidence is mixed, and more robust clinical trials are needed to conclusively determine the efficacy of Tribulus Terrestris in enhancing libido and treating sexual dysfunctions. 

Tribulus terrestris plant

"Maca boosts sex drive like crazy. And if there's any side effect, some people just have to stop taking it because they get so sexually stimulated... Kind of makes you feel a little like a superhero"

Chris Kilham

Potential Side Effects and Considerations:

When considering the use of herbal teas like Maca, Korean Ginseng, Damiana, and Tribulus Terrestris for enhancing libido, it's crucial to understand their potential side effects, precautions, and issues related to sourcing and toxicity. Each herb has unique considerations:

1. Maca 

  • Precautions and Side Effects: Maca is generally considered safe and is well-tolerated by most individuals when consumed in typical food amounts. However, due to its effects on hormone balance, individuals with hormone-sensitive conditions should consult a healthcare provider before starting Maca.
  • Sourcing: Quality can vary significantly, so it's important to purchase Maca from reputable sources that offer organically grown products to avoid contaminants like pesticides.
  • Toxicity: Maca does not have significant toxicity issues reported at normal dietary levels.

 2. Korean Ginseng 

  • Precautions and Side Effects: Ginseng is potent and may cause insomnia, headaches, digestive issues, and changes in blood pressure or blood sugar levels. It should be used cautiously by those with heart conditions, autoimmune diseases, or hormone-sensitive disorders, and is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
  • Sourcing: Authentic Korean Ginseng is ideal. The market sometimes confuses it with other types, so verifying the source and choosing certified products is essential.
  • Toxicity: Overuse or long-term use can lead to ginseng abuse syndrome, characterized by high blood pressure, insomnia, mood disturbances, and increased heart rate.

3. Damiana 

  • Precautions and Side Effects: Damiana may cause convulsions if used in very high doses and should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding. People with liver issues should use Damiana cautiously as there is little information on its hepatic effects.
  • Sourcing: Damiana should be sourced from reputable suppliers to ensure it is free from contaminants and adulterants that can be common in less regulated markets.
  • Toxicity: In excessive amounts, Damiana has shown some toxic effects, such as potential liver damage, though these are rare when consumed in moderation as a tea.

4. Tribulus Terrestris 

  • Precautions and Side Effects: Tribulus may affect blood sugar levels and could impact cardiovascular health due to its potential to alter hormone levels. It should be used cautiously by those with diabetes or heart conditions and avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • Sourcing: The quality of Tribulus Terrestris can vary greatly. It’s important to purchase from credible sources that provide pure, uncontaminated products.
  • Toxicity: High doses have been linked with kidney damage in some cases, although typical amounts used for supplementation do not generally lead to serious side effects.

General Advice: For all these herbs, it's advisable to start with a low dose and monitor for any adverse reactions. Consulting with a healthcare professional, particularly in cases of existing health conditions or other medication use, is crucial to ensure safety. Additionally, sustainable and ethical sourcing is important not only for health reasons but also to support responsible farming practices.

Scientific References and Further Reading: Tea That Increases Libido


1. A Double‐Blind, Randomized, Pilot Dose‐Finding Study of Maca Root (L. Meyenii) for the Management of SSRI‐Induced Sexual Dysfunction

The study focused on the effectiveness of Maca root (Lepidium meyenii) in treating sexual dysfunction induced by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) was conducted on a group of 20 remitted depressed outpatients, predominantly female (17 women and 3 men), aged 36 ± 13 years. It utilised a double-blind, randomised, dose-finding pilot methodology to compare two doses of Maca (1.5 g/day and 3.0 g/day). Findings revealed that the higher dose (3.0 g/day) significantly improved sexual function, measured by the Arizona Sexual Experience Scale (ASEX) and the Massachusetts General Hospital Sexual Function Questionnaire (MGH-SFQ). Notably, Maca improved libido across all participants regardless of dosage, suggesting a beneficial effect on libido and indicating a potential dose-related effectiveness. Additionally, Maca was well-tolerated by participants, highlighting its safety and potential as an alternative treatment for SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction.

2. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men

In a 12-week double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised, parallel trial involving men aged 21-56, different doses of Maca Gelatinizada (1,500 mg or 3,000 mg) were compared against a placebo to assess the effect of Maca on sexual desire, independent of mood changes or serum testosterone levels. Participants were evaluated using the Hamilton test for depression and anxiety at 4, 8, and 12 weeks. The study found a significant improvement in sexual desire from the 8-week mark in those treated with Maca, while changes in serum testosterone and estradiol levels were not significant compared to the placebo group. The analysis confirmed that the increase in sexual desire was due to Maca itself and not due to alterations in mood or hormone levels, establishing Maca's direct effect on enhancing sexual desire.

3. A systematic review of the versatile effects of the Peruvian Maca Root (Lepidium meyenii ) on sexual dysfunction, menopausal symptoms and related conditions

Effect on Libido and Sexual Function: The review highlights that Maca has been frequently studied for its potential benefits in improving sexual function and libido. Various studies included in the review reported that Maca supplementation has positive effects on sexual desire and might be beneficial for individuals experiencing sexual dysfunction. The review emphasises that these effects are not linked to changes in serum testosterone levels, suggesting that Maca's mechanism of enhancing libido operates through different pathways.

4. Maca ( L. meyenii ) for improving sexual function: a systematic review 

The systematic review on Maca (Lepidium meyenii) for improving sexual function revealed limited evidence from four randomised clinical trials (RCTs) suggesting that Maca could enhance sexual desire in healthy adult men and postmenopausal women, as well as improve erectile dysfunction in male patients. These studies indicated positive effects typically after six to twelve weeks of Maca intake, but the overall sample sizes were small and methodologies varied, necessitating more rigorous future studies to confirm these findings.

5. A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial of Maca Root as Treatment for Antidepressant-Induced Sexual Dysfunction in Women

The study was a 12-week double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 45 female outpatients (mean age 41.5 ± 12.5 years) with SSRI/SNRI-induced sexual dysfunction whose depression had remitted. It tested Maca root (3.0 g/day) and found that Maca improved sexual function, evidenced by higher remission rates based on the Arizona Sexual Experience Scale (ASEX) and the Massachusetts General Hospital Sexual Function Questionnaire (MGH-SFQ). The benefits were particularly noted in postmenopausal women, suggesting Maca may alleviate antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction, predominantly by improving libido and sexual experience.

6. A pilot investigation into the effect of maca supplementation on physical activity and sexual desire in sportsmen

A study investigating the effects of 14 days maca extract (ME) supplementation on endurance performance and sexual desire in trained male cyclists found that ME significantly improved 40 km cycling time performance (P = 0.01) and self-rated sexual desire score (P = 0.01) compared to baseline tests, with ME also significantly improving sexual desire compared to placebo after supplementation (P = 0.03), indicating potential benefits of ME supplementation for enhancing both exercise performance and libido in this population.


1. The Effect of Korean Red Ginseng on Sexual Function in Premenopausal Women: Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind, Crossover Clinical Trial

In a placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover clinical trial involving 41 premenopausal women, Korean Red Ginseng (KRG) was found to improve sexual function, including sexual desire, arousal, orgasm, and satisfaction, although these improvements were not statistically significant when compared to placebo, suggesting a substantial placebo effect. One case of mild gastric discomfort was reported as a side effect from KRG intake.

2.  A Double-Blind Crossover Study Evaluating the Efficacy of Korean Red Ginseng in Patients With Erectile Dysfunction: A Preliminary

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 45 patients with erectile dysfunction, Korean red ginseng demonstrated significant improvements in erectile function, as measured by the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) scores, indicating potential benefits for libido enhancement as well, though specific assessment of libido was not explicitly mentioned in the study.

3. Ginseng for erectile dysfunction

A systematic review of nine studies involving 587 men with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction found that ginseng exhibited only trivial effects on erectile function and satisfaction with intercourse compared to placebo, as assessed by validated instruments, with low certainty evidence suggesting little to no effect on adverse events, highlighting uncertainty regarding its comparative efficacy against established treatments like phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors.

4. Beneficial effects of natural products on female sexual dysfunction: A systematic review and meta-analysis 

A systematic review and meta-analysis investigating natural products for female sexual dysfunction (FSD) found that Panax ginseng demonstrated effectiveness in improving sexual arousal and desire compared to placebo, suggesting its potential as an alternative treatment option for FSD.

5. Ginseng and male reproductive function:

Ginseng and Male Reproductive Function: The review discusses the positive effects of ginseng, particularly Korean red ginseng, on male sexual health, noting its role in enhancing erectile function, libido, and spermatogenesis. Clinical studies have shown improvements in erectile performance and sexual satisfaction in men, with ginseng's mechanisms potentially involving nitric oxide synthesis in endothelial cells, enhancing blood flow in the penile tissue. Additionally, ginseng has been shown to impact sperm quality and count positively, suggesting its role in treating infertility related to poor sperm production.

6. Ginseng, sex behaviour, and nitric oxide

Recent animal studies indicate that both Asian and American ginseng can boost libido and sexual performance. Ginsenosides, their active compounds, directly induce penile erection by relaxing penile tissues. Ginseng also affects the central nervous system, altering hormone secretion and facilitating copulatory behaviour. These findings suggest ginseng's potential in treating sexual dysfunction, mainly through its action on nitric oxide.


1. Prosexual Effect of Chrysactinia mexicana A. Gray (Asteraceae), False Damiana, in a Model of Male Sexual Behavior

Damiana (Turnera diffusa), through its aqueous extract, demonstrated significant prosexual effects in a study involving sexually exhausted male rats, enhancing their sexual performance and ability to resume copulation, confirming its traditional use as an aphrodisiac and libido enhancer.

2.Aphrodisiac Properties Of Turnera Diffusa

Damiana (Turnera diffusa) showed aphrodisiac properties in male mice, evidenced by a significant increase in the number of mounts and intromissions compared to controls, although the results did not conclusively impact other sexual behaviours like ejaculations or female receptivity (lordosis). This suggests potential for enhancing sexual activity, despite no increase in fertility observed in the study.

3. North American Natural Health Products and Sexual Function in Aging Adults 

Damiana (Turnera diffusa) has a history of use as an herbal aphrodisiac, with traditional preparations involving steeping leaves in tequila to enhance sexual experiences. While damiana is recognized as safe by the FDA and used as a flavouring, its aphrodisiac properties lack robust scientific validation in humans. However, clinical and animal studies show potential benefits, such as relieving erectile failure and improving sexual function in both males and females, suggesting the need for further research into its efficacy and mechanisms of action.

4. Cytotoxic Properties of Damiana (Turnera diffusa) Extracts and Constituents and A Validated Quantitative UHPLC-DAD Assay

This study examines various aspects of damiana, including its traditional use as an aphrodisiac and its effects on libido. The study highlights that damiana has a long history of use in traditional Latin American medicine as an aphrodisiac. Animal testing, particularly on male rats, demonstrated that an aqueous extract of Turnera diffusa increases sexual activity. Additionally, certain flavonoids isolated from damiana, like pinocembrin, were identified as aromatase inhibitors, which leads to increased testosterone levels and enhanced libido.


1. Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of Tribulus terrestris in male sexual dysfunction

A phase IV clinical trial involving 180 men with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction (ED), with or without hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), compared the efficacy of Tribulus terrestris (TT) extract (Tribestan) with placebo, showing significant improvement in IIEF scores (p<0.0001), Intercourse Satisfaction, Orgasmic Function, Sexual Desire, and Overall Satisfaction (p<0.05) in the TT group, with no significant difference in adverse events between groups, suggesting TT extract as a well-tolerated and potentially effective treatment for ED.

2. History of herbal medicines with an insight on the pharmacological properties of Tribulus terrestris

Studies and clinical trials suggest that TT enhances sexual function and libido. It contains the active compound protodioscin, which increases levels of key sexual hormones like testosterone and improves erectile function. TT has been used in traditional medicine to treat sexual dysfunctions, and its effectiveness has been observed in both animal models and human trials, demonstrating improved sexual activity and hormone levels when administered in specific dosages over designated periods.

3. Chemical Constituents, Biological Properties, and Uses of Tribulus terrestris: A Review

The review critically evaluates the scientific literature on TT, focusing on its chemical constituents, particularly steroidal saponins, and biological properties. It also highlights the conflicting results in studies regarding its efficacy as an aphrodisiac and other health benefits, suggesting the need for standardised research methods to clarify these discrepancies.

Related Readings

Leave a comment