Libido — otherwise referred to as sex drive — is a person’s overall sexual desire. It is influenced by many factors, which can be biological, psychological, or social.
We are all unique. There is no such thing as a “normal” libido. Some of us may crave sex constantly, while it may not be as much of a priority for others.
However, you may notice changes in your libido, not necessarily for the better. If you suddenly desire sex less than usual, it can signify that something is off. In addition, it can put a strain on your sex life and (if you’re in one) your relationship.
And let’s face it: Sex is great. So, if something happens to make you have a lot less of it, you’re right to want to change it.
If you visit your doctor with concerns about low sex drive, you may be sent home with a prescription for a pharmaceutical, such as an antidepressant, erectile dysfunction drug, or hormone replacement therapy.
While effective, some drugs come with their fair share of side effects, which many (naturally) want to avoid. Instead, you may wish to take a more natural approach, such as an herbal supplement.
One option to consider is fenugreek. A cover-like herb native that thrives in warm climates, fenugreek has long been used to increase sexual arousal and drive. However, does the research support its effectiveness?
Keep reading this article from ASYSTEM to find out — in addition to the best way to start supplementing with this herb today.
What Is Fenugreek?
Fenugreek is a clover-like herb native to warm temperate climates, such as the Mediterranean, southern Europe, and western Asia. Its seeds taste like maple syrup and are used in many traditional cuisines. However, it is also popular for use as a natural remedy.
For instance, fenugreek has been used to increase milk production in breastfeeding women. Because fenugreek is associated with few side effects, it is viewed as an alternative to pharmaceuticals. Research even supports its use, with studies showing a modest increase in breast milk volume following fenugreek supplementation.
Fenugreek has also been used to support healthy blood sugar levels. In whole seed form, fenugreek contains ample fiber, slowing down food digestion and lowering the resulting blood sugar spike. Fenugreek contains other beneficial compounds which may support healthy blood sugar levels.
Regardless of its mode of action, studies show that participants who are administered fenugreek have a lower fasting blood glucose than those who are not administered it.
Recently, fenugreek has become popular as a natural supplement for improving libido. Although there remains much to be studied about this herb, emerging research is promising.
Read on to discover how fenugreek works and what the science says about its effectiveness for improving libido.
How Does Fenugreek Work?
Fenugreek seeds are rich in steroidal compounds — a group of molecules with various functions, such as growth, development, homeostasis, and reproduction.
One group of steroidal compounds that fenugreek seeds contain is called saponins. One type of saponin that is especially important is called diosgenin, which is needed to make various sex hormones — most notably testosterone.
Diosgenin works by inhibiting enzymes that are needed to convert testosterone into hormones such as dihydrotestosterone and estrogen. As such, it increases total testosterone levels. An increase in testosterone levels can increase muscle size while reducing body fat. It can also enhance energy, mood, and libido.
As a result of its testosterone-increasing effects, diosgenin has been shown to increase muscle growth in males on a resistance-training program compared to a control group. One new study also suggests that fenugreek can also have a positive effect on the utilization of body fat for energy, which can increase physical endurance.
In addition, fenugreek can improve glucose metabolism (or how well the body can use sugar from food). It does this by restoring the function of beta-cells in the pancreas, increasing antioxidant enzymes, and decreasing inflammation in the body’s adipose (fatty) tissues.
Not surprisingly, diosgenin has been proposed to have health benefits for various conditions, such as hyperglycemia, high cholesterol, and chronic inflammation.
While studies performed on humans are limited, animal studies show that diosgenin can be used to control blood sugar levels in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In addition, the compound has been shown to support glucose homeostasis in the pancreas, liver, and muscle tissue in those without diabetes.
Does Fenugreek Help Improve Libido? What the Science Says
Research shows that fenugreek can help to improve libido.
Although the evidence base for fenugreek is emerging, here are some of the proven benefits of fenugreek when it comes to sexual health and function:
Fenugreek Can Help Regulate Testosterone in Males
As mentioned above, fenugreek contains certain compounds that allow it to increase total testosterone levels. This sex hormone is found in both men and women; however, men have a higher concentration of this hormone.
So far, the research has only been done on males. However, it shows that fenugreek is effective in increasing testosterone levels. For instance, in one randomized controlled trial, 60 male subjects (aged 25-52) were randomized to either the treatment or placebo groups. The treatment group received a dose of fenugreek extract twice per day.
In the treatment group, participants with low baseline testosterone levels experienced an increase in this hormone. Those who had normal baseline levels did not experience a significant increase.
Furthermore, participants in the treatment group reported an improvement in all aspects of their libido, including sex drive and orgasm intensity. Last, those who received fenugreek reported an increase in energy levels and emotional well-being. Subjects reported no adverse side effects.
Another study had similar findings. After eight weeks of fenugreek supplementation, male subjects experienced a 98.7% increase in baseline levels of testosterone after beginning a resistance-training program. In contrast, the control group only experienced a 48.8% increase in free testosterone from baseline. Neither group reported adverse side effects.
Although researchers are unsure of the relationship between testosterone and libido, studies show that low testosterone levels are linked to a low sex drive. On the contrary, increasing testosterone levels can improve sex drive. As such, it makes sense why supplementing with testosterone-enhancing fenugreek can improve libido.
Although more research is needed to support fenugreek’s role in enhancing male libido, the above studies support fenugreek’s efficacy — and safety.
Fenugreek Can Support Healthy Levels of Sex Hormones in Females
While low libido can be attributed to various causes, one possibility is an imbalance in sex hormones — estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. In women, this can lead to various symptoms, such as hot flashes, mood disturbances, and vaginal dryness. This, in turn, can lead to low libido and sexual dysfunction.
Fenugreek can increase libido by supporting hormonal function. One study on fenugreek’s hormone-balancing effects found that it supported balanced estrogen and testosterone levels in women with low baseline levels of the hormones. In women who did not experience low baseline estrogen and testosterone levels, no effects were observed. This supports the theory that fenugreek has hormone-balancing effects on women.
Another study found that supplementing with fenugreek increased scores on major markers of sexual health in healthy menstruating women. After supplementing with fenugreek for 42 days, the study’s participants reported a significant improvement in irritability and vaginal dryness — which can contribute to low libido.
These studies show that fenugreek can improve many aspects of sexual health and wellness and sexual function in women. As a result, it can contribute to an improved libido.
How To Supplement With Fenugreek
There are currently no guidelines for how much fenugreek you should take. In addition to checking with your healthcare provider, it’s best to follow the label instructions for the supplement you take.
Many fenugreek supplements come in pill or gummy form. In addition, they may be mixed with other ingredients, as is the case with ASYSTEM’s Libido Gummies. Fenugreek in this form is incredibly easy to take as it can be done at any time of day.
If you enjoy the taste of fenugreek, you can brew a tea using fenugreek seeds and leaves. As a bonus, you can customize your tea by adding other ingredients like other herbs or flavor enhancers.
Fenugreek has been shown by multiple studies to balance sex hormones, which can increase libido in both men and women.
If you are experiencing low libido, then fenugreek can help to bring it back to its normal levels.
With ASYSTEM’s Libido Gummies, consuming this natural ingredient has never been easier — or yummier.
The effect of fenugreek seed supplementation on serum irisin levels, blood pressure, and liver and kidney function in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A parallel randomized clinical trial | PMC
Meet our Experts
This article has been reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board.
Former Olympic Athlete, Founder, B2ten Foundation (coach to multiple Olympic Champions)
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