Sexual Dysfunction in Women
Female sexual dysfunction refers to problems during any phase of the sexual response cycle (excitement, plateau, orgasm, resolution) that causes distress or negatively affects a relationship.
If a cause can be found, then it can be treated. Common treatments are medicine and counseling.
Mix of herbs and supplements —a combination of L-arginine, ginseng, ginkgo, damiana, multivitamins, and minerals is likely to improve sex drive, frequency, and sensations.B1-B2
May Be Effective
These herbs and supplements may provide benefit:
- Fennel is a flowering plant in the carrot family.D1
- Fenugreek is an annual plant.D1
- Ginseng is a perennial plant that grows in Asia.H1
- Maritime pine bark comes from trees that grow in countries along the Mediterranean Sea.D1
Mindfulness-based therapy brings a person's attention to things happening in the present moment without judgment. It may also provide benefit.G1
May Not Be Effective
These herbs and supplements may not provide benefit:
Unlikely to Be Effective
Ginkgo biloba is a Chinese tree with fan-shaped leaves and yellow flowers.C1-C2
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution
Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.
A1. Peixoto C, Carrilho CG, Barros J, et al. The effects of dehydroepiandrosterone on sexual function: a systematic review. Climacteric. 2017;20(2):129-137. (works better on peri- and postmenopausal women)
A2. Elraiyah T, Sonbol MB, et al. Clinical review: The benefits and harms of systemic dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in postmenopausal women with normal adrenal function: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Oct;99(10):3536-3542.
A3. Scheffers CS, Armstrong S, et al. Dehydroepiandrosterone for women in the peri- or postmenopausal phase. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Jan 22;1:CD011066.
Mix of Herbs and Supplements
B1. Ito TY, Trant AS, Polan ML. A double-blind placebo-controlled study of ArginMax, a nutritional supplement for enhancement of female sexual function. J Sex Marital Ther. 2001;27(5):541-549.
B2. Ito TY, Polan ML, Whipple B, Trant AS. The enhancement of female sexual function with ArginMax, a nutritional supplement, among women differing in menopausal status. J Sex Marital Ther. 2006;32(5):369-378.
C1. Kang BJ, Lee SJ, Kim MD, Cho MJ. A placebo-controlled, double-blind trial of Ginkgo biloba for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2002;17(6):279-284.
C2. Meston CM, Rellini AH, Telch MJ. Short- and long-term effects of Ginkgo biloba extract on sexual dysfunction in women. Arch Sex Behav. 2008;37(4):530-547.
D1. Najaf Najafi M, Ghazanfarpour M. Effect of phytoestrogens on sexual function in menopausal women: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Climacteric. 2018 Oct;21(5):437-445.
E1. Pitsouni E, Grigoriadis T, et al. Efficacy of vaginal therapies alternative to vaginal estrogens on sexual function and orgasm of menopausal women: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2018 Oct;229:45-56.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
F1. Chubak B, Doctor A. Traditional Chinese Medicine for Sexual Dysfunction: Review of the Evidence. Sex Med Rev. 2018 Jul;6(3):410-418.
G1. Stephenson KR, Kerth J. Effects of Mindfulness-Based Therapies for Female Sexual Dysfunction: A Meta-Analytic Review. J Sex Res. 2017 Sep;54(7):832-849.
H1. Lee HW, Choi J, et al. Ginseng for managing menopausal woman's health: A systematic review of double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials. Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Sep;95(38):e4914.
I1. Shin BC, Lee MS, et al. Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: a systematic review. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 Aug 6;10:44.
Last reviewed November 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC Last Updated: 6/18/2020