Some people may have heard of ginseng and that it is sometimes classified as an “aphrodisiac”. This is not exactly right, and at the same time it is not exactly wrong. In order to understand this, it is necessary to point out that a basic principle of acupuncture, Chinese Medicine and the philosophy that underlies it, is that sexual desire is a normal part of normal health and therefore if the sex desire is absent or diminished, then this in itself is a sign or a symptom of ill-health. It therefore follows that ginseng (among other herbs) is only an aphrodisiac by virtue of its’ ability to promote the functioning of the overall health of the mind and the body, one consequence of which is a healthy interest in mating, as it were. The same effects are obtainable by means of acupuncture. Sexual dysfunction is far more common than is usually supposed in our over-sexualised culture. In other words, the reality is often far less interesting and frequent than the fantasy, which is ubiquitous- on television, in magazines and advertising etc. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Another unique feature of Chinese Medicine is the extremely sophisticated use of remedial diets. In other words, specific foods prescribed for specific conditions. These are not usually exotic oriental foods, but things that are readily obtainable in supermarkets. These should be prescribed on an individual basis, because what is good for one patient may well be bad for another (and ginseng for example, contrary to popular belief- is not good for everyone and will make some patient’s conditions worse). Having said that, most case of low libido are improved by increasing the intake of foods such as lamb, onion, chives, ginger and other foods with “warming” properties.
For those who are more inclined towards scientific research, here is a link to a recent study of the use of acupuncture to stimulate sexual desire in patients who had lost it due to the use of certain anti-depressants.