Boosting female sexuality

Women Start Your Engines

“How about some good news for female sexuality?”

That question comes from an HSI member named Phyllis who is just one of many women who are tired of men getting all the attention when it comes to sexual health. Phyllis writes:

“Where are the articles that offer info and solutions for women that need a boost in their libido, strength and power? It seems you send 10 articles for men and none for women.”

I admit this field tends to be lopsided toward the guys. But today’s e-Alert will level the field with some “info and solutions” for Phyllis and other women who would like to enjoy a more satisfying sex life.
Acronym alert

Many women may not even realize that they suffer from HSDD; hypoactive sexual desire disorder. That’s right: It’s not just low libido anymore, it’s HSDD. And when the medical mainstream identifies something as a “disorder” and assigns it an acronym, you can be sure of one thing: A drug company has developed a treatment.

When women reach menopause, their testosterone levels may drop by as much as 50 percent. And anyone who’s surprised that testosterone plays a role in female sexuality may be doubly surprised to find that testosterone is the hormone primarily responsible for prompting an active libido in women.

So, what’s the simple solution to treating HSDD? A testosterone patch! Just slap it on and it delivers a controlled dose of testosterone. It doesn’t work quickly, but for those who find it effective, sexual drive eventually increases and then you take it from there.

At this point, the patch has only been tested on women who have undergone hysterectomies, but research is now in progress to test the patch on menopausal women whose ovaries are intact. Procter & Gamble (the makers of Intrinsa, the first commercial patch) are on track to get FDA approval sometime next year. So when this product hits the market, the long-term side effects will still be unknown.

Let’s think about this. Testosterone is a hormone. And the patch replaces the deficient hormone. So what we’re talking about is a form of – all together now – hormone replacement therapy (HRT). And what happened when millions of women took that OTHER HRT for years and years? They increased their risk of breast cancer, heart disease and stroke.

So far, there’s no evidence that the testosterone patch has any adverse side effects, (although testosterone replacement therapy has been shown to elevate prostate cancer risk in men). But we’ve still got a long way to go with this new therapy. And based on the adverse effects we’ve seen with combined estrogen and progestin therapy, would anyone be willing to bet the farm that the testosterone patch is completely safe?

Back to the garden

By now Phyllis may be despairing. If the patch – which isn’t even available yet – may present potential dangers, what’s a girl to do?

Fortunately, there are a number of botanicals that have been shown to enhance sexual drive and enjoyment by helping to maintain balanced hormone levels, including testosterone. For instance, saw palmetto (commonly used to promote prostate health) has been prescribed for centuries as a sexual stimulant for both women and men. The ancient Mayans used an herb called damiana to energize sexual vitality. Siberian ginseng has long had a reputation for arousing sexuality and enhancing stamina in women. And the herb Nettle has been used as an aphrodisiac for centuries.

All of these botanicals are available through Internet sources or at most health food stores. They can also be found in a unique formulation called DesireXX, developed for NorthStar Nutritionals. You can use this link to find out more about the ways DesireXX naturally enhances sexual pleasure:

Feeling the heat

For those who aren’t experiencing the hormonal imbalance of menopause, but still need some oomph in their sex drive, a botanical from the Amazon might provide a jumpstart.

Last year I told you about clavo huasca, a vine that grows wild in the Amazon rainforest and is traditionally used as a treatment for frigidity. Leslie Taylor, an HSI Panelist and board-certified naturopath who has spent years investigating herbal medications with shamans throughout Peru, used the vine bark to formulate a highly concentrated extract, which she named, naturally enough, Clavo Huasca.

When Ms. Taylor provided HSI with a supply of Clavo Huasca, we conducted a trial with 38 volunteers, all over 50 years of age, who had no known hormonal imbalance. Clavo has been shown to have little effect on women with low libido due to hormonal imbalance.

Each of the subjects used Clavo Huasca for one month, while keeping a journal and submitting weekly reports. The final responses were split right down the middle: 19 women experienced no changes, while 19 reported benefits. In the latter group, six said the benefits were slight, while 13 felt the formula significantly improved their sexual relations.

Aside from the sexual benefits, a number of women reported that even when they didn’t experience a change in libido, they slept better, had a better attitude, and felt more energetic. And among all 38 women, none reported any adverse side effects.

For more information about Clavo Huasca, you can visit the web site for Raintree Nutrition, Inc., at

And if you do decide to try either Clavo or DesireXX, I’d be very interested to hear about your experiences, so please write and tell all. (Well leave SOME to the imagination.)

To Your Good Health,

Jenny Thompson

Health Sciences Institute
“Testosterone Patch Boosts Sex Drive in Women Without Ovaries” Health Scout, 5/4/04,
“New Clinical Trial Explores Patch to Improve Sexual Desire” University of California, San Diego, Health Sciences News,