Pharmacologically screened aphrodisiac plant-A review of current
Patel DK, Kumar R, Prasad SK, Hemalatha S*
Pharmacognosy Research Laboratory, Department of Pharmaceutics, Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi-221005, India
Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2011)S131-S138
Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine
*Corresponding author: Patel DK, Pharmacognosy Research Laboratory, Department
of Pharmaceutics, Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi-221005,
Tel: +91 9415256481
Foundation Project: This work was financially supported by University Grant
Commision New Delhi India (grant No. IT/DEV/08-09/3252/L).
Sexual dysfunction is an inability to achieve a normal
sexual intercourse including premature ejaculation,
retrograded, retarded or inhibited ejaculation, erectile
dysfunction, arousal difficulties (reduced libido), compulsive
sexual behaviour, orgasmic disorder and failure of
detumescence. It is increasing world wide due to etiological
factors and aging. Several type of treatment is claimed in the
modern medicine but due to serious side effects and higher
cost, search of natural supplement from medicinal plants as
an aphrodisiac substance is significantly increased. The
term aphrodisiac originated from the Greek word ‘Aphrodite’
which is related to love and romance, but in modern time
substances which are used to treat sexual dysfunction
or having sexual activity enhancing power called
aphrodisiac. Sexual desire is controlled and regulated
by the central nervous system which integrates tactile,
olfactory, auditory, and mental stimuli. The aphrodisiac
drugs act by altering the level of specific neurotransmitters
or specific sex hormone into the body. Mostly act through
alteration in testosterone concentration in the body but
other effective in both sexes[3,4].
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is an inability to attain or
maintain penile erection sufficiently while engaging in
sexual intercourse. Androgens are sex hormones that
play an essential role in male reproductive function. It
is known to act both centrally and peripherally for the
initiation and maintenance of sexual functions. Various
stimuli such as anabolic steroids (testosterone) are known
to either upregulate or downregulate androgen response.
Sexual dysfunction is a serious medical and social
symptom that occurs in 10%-52% of men and 25%-63% of
women. Of men aged 40-70 years, an estimated 34.8% have
moderate to complete erectile dysfunction. Treatment of
ED usually involves a psychotherapeutic approach; on
the other hand, pharmacotherapy involves drugs such as
papaverin, alprostadil, sildenafil, vardenafil, tadalafil,
central stimulants like apomorphine and herbal drugs with
aphrodisiac activity are also used for the treatment of ED. A
variety of botanicals such as Tribulus terrestris (T. terrestris),
Aframomum melegueta, Eurycoma longifolia (E. longifolia),
Cnidium monnieri, Ferula harmonis, Mucuna pruriens (M.
pruriens), Lepidium meyenii (L. meyenii), Passiflora incarnate
and some compounds like yohimbine were reported to have
ART ICLE INFO ABSTRACT
Received 15 April 2011
Received in revised form 27 April 2011
Accepted 28 June 2011
Available online 28 June 2011
Substances which are used to treat sexual dysfunction or to improve sexual behavior and
satisfaction in humans and animals are called ‘aphrodisiac’. Uses of plant material to treat
sexual disorder is a long back history in the different system of medicine and it was practiced
by different type of vaidyas and traditional healer in almost all the countries in the world, like
China, India, Egypt, Rome and Greek. Even though there was an unavailability of the scientific
data, these substances have been used as aphrodisiac. During the historic times Lytta vesicatoria,
Tribulus terrestris, Ptychopetalum olacoides, Crocus sativus, Bufo marinus, Myristica fragrans,
Theobroma cocao and other plants have been investigated for its aphrodisiac activity by in vivo
and in vitro model. Even though the study showed positive response to a particular substance,
there is always a need to run the clinical trial before administering the tested drug in human
being. The present review article summarizes the plant material which has been tested for its
aphrodisiac activity in different experimental model (in vitro, in vivo on animal models, or in
human clinical trials) and comply its claim in the different system of medicine. A brief overview
about the data of percentage study in the last eighteen years duration on aphrodisiac activity of
plant material was done on the basis of the CAB abstract database.
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Patel DK et al./Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2011)S131-S138
a potential effect on the sexual functions, supporting older
claims and offering new hope. This review mainly focuses
on the plants which were scientifically tested and validated,
either in vitro, in vivo on animal models, or in human clinical
trials, and proved as a potential aphrodisiac agents. A brief
calculation about the percentage of the study in the last
eighteen year duration on aphrodisiac activity of the plant
material was done on the basis of CAB database (Figure 1).
Moreover botanical name, family and uses or application of
some plant which have been tested for aphrodisiac activity
is shown in the Table 1.
No of study
NO of aphrodisiac study (1994-2011)
1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Figure 1. The number of aphrodisiac study verses year of the study.
2. Parameter used in assessing aphrodisiac properties
For the determination of the aphrodisiac activity many
in vivo or in vitro model have been used. Methods that are
used in aphrodisiac study can be categorized into physical
methods including mating behaviour test [mount latency
(ML), intromission latency (IL), ejaculation latency (EL),
mounting frequency (MF), intromission frequency (IF),
ejaculation frequency (EF), post-ejaculatory interval, index
of libido, computed male sexual behaviour parameters],
test for libido, test for potency, penile microcirculation
study, intracavernous pressure (ICP) study, and biochemical
methods including determination of testicular and serum
cholesterol, hormonal determination, assay for neuronal
nitric oxide synthase and androgen receptor protein. MF is
defined as the climbing of one animal by another usually
from the posterior end with the intention of introducing
one organ into another. IF is the introduction of one organ
or parts into another. ML is defined as the time interval
between the introduction of the female and the first
mount by the male. IL is the time interval from the time of
introduction of the female to the first intromission by the
male. EL is defined as the time interval between the first
intromission and ejaculation and ejaculation frequency.
3. Medicinal plant having aphrodisiac properties
Medicinal plants can be used in different therapeutic
purposes or used as precursors for synthesis of useful drugs
containing different type of phytochemicals. Plants are
extensively used to treat sexual dysfunction. For example
Ginseng (Panax ginsengs) is an essential constituent
in traditional Chinese medicine, and at least 6 million
Americans use the root of this plant. Maca (L. meyenii),
has traditionally been used by Peruvian inhabitants as a
nutrient, energizer, aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing
agent. Fadogia agrestis (F. agrestis)stem is another
example. Botanical name, family and uses/application of the
herbs having aphrodisiac activity have been shown in Table
4. Pharmacologically active aphrodisiac plants in
In our country with the advent of the Ayurvedists some of
the medicinal plants have proven to possess a traditional as
well as scientifically-proven aphrodisiac that can enhance
passion, increase libido, enhance sexual performance,
and help to increase the intensity of lovemaking. A brief
summary of the plants have been tested for aphrodisiac
activity are documented.
4.1. Allium sativum (Alliaceae)
Aphrodisiac effect of Allium sativum (A. sativum) extracts
at 0.57, 1.13 and 2.25 mL/kg, p.o. for 28 days on male mice
was investigated and it was found that it increased sexual
behaviour in dose dependent manner.
4.2. Allium tuberosum (Alliaceae)
The aphrodisiac activity of n-butanol extract of Allium
tuberosum (A. tuberosum) seeds was investigated in male
rats at 500 mg/kg, p.o. for 40 days, and it was found that the
extract significantly reduced ML, IL, EL and increased MF,
4.3. Alpinia calcarata (Zingiberaceae)
Hot water extract of Alpinia calcarata (A. calcarata) at 150,
250 and 500 mg/kg, p.o. in rats was found to prolong the EL.
Moreover, the EL and IL were reduced, indicating a strong
aphrodisiac action. At 500 mg/kg, p.o., it elevates the serum
testosterone level and was found nontoxic.
4.4. Anacyclus pyrethrum (Compositae)
Effect of petroleum ether extract of Anacyclus pyrethrum
(A. pyrethrum) at dose of 50 mg/kg and 100 mg/kg, p.o. in
male rats showed more receptive and oriented towards
female rats and increased precopulatory activities like
licking and sniffing of female anogenitals. The penile
erection index was significantly increased with reduction in
ML and IL period.
4.5. Asparagus racemosus (Liliaceae)
Aqueous root extract of Asparagus racemosus (A. racemosus)
treatment had showed enhancement of body weight and
Patel DK et al./Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2011)S131-S138 S133
Pharmacologically active aphrodisiac plant.
Botanical name Family Uses/activity
A. tuberosum Alliaceae Impotence, nocturnal emissions, food
A. calcarata Zingiberaceae Antibacterial, antifungal, anthelmintic, antinociceptive, antioxidant
A. pyrethrum Compositae Tonic, rejuvenator, aphrodisiac, sexual stimulant
A. racemosus Asparagaceae Dyspepsia, lactogogue, antidiarrhoeal, antiseptic, diuretic, nutritive tonic, demulcent, aphrodiasic,
antispasmodic, liver and kidney diseases
B. edulis Acanthaceae Wounds, ulcers, hemorrhages, asthma, throat inflammation, purgative, liver and spleen disorders, diuretic,
urinary discharges, dysmenorrhoea, diuretic, aphrodisiac, expectorant, deobstruent, conjunctivitis
Butea frondonsa Papillionaceae Antistress, hepatoprotective, antiestrogenic, ocular anti-inflammatory, antihelminthic
C. benthamiana Fabaceae Erectile dysfunction, antibacterial
C. sinensis Theaceae Diuretic, urinary inconsistency, common cold, anxiety, skin problem
C. edulis celastraceae Stimulant, sympathomimetic
C. borivilianum Liliaceae Immunomodulatory, adaptogenic, impotency, sterility, potency, alertness, mental ability
C. sativus Iridaceae Anticonvulsant, antidepressant, antiinflammatory, antinociceptive, antitumor activities
C. orchioides Hypoxidaceae Tonic, demulcent, diuretic, piles, asthma, jaundice, diarrhoea, colic, gonorrhea
Derris scandens Leguminosae Expectorant, antitussive, diuretic, antidysentery muscle aches, antimicrobial, immunostimulating
D. zibethinus Bombacaceae Fertility enhancing activity
E. longifolia Simaroubaceae Fevers, aches, sexual insuficiency, hypertensive, tuberculosis, vermifuge, health supplement
H. zeylanica Ophioglossaceae Aperiant, febrifuge, intoxicant, anodyne, sciatica, boils, ulcers, malaria, snake bites, jaundice, aphrodisiac
H. sabdariffa Malvaceae Diuretics, aphrodisiac, antiseptic, astringent, digestive, tonic, sedative, laxative, antimicrobial
K. parviflora Zingiberaceae Inflammation, diarrhea, vertigo, heart diseases, reproductive disorder
L. meyenii* Brassicaceae Improving sexuality and fertility, aphrodisiac
L. barbarum Solanaceae Diabetes, hyperlipidemia, cancer, hepatitis, hypo-immunity function, thrombosis, male infertility
M. acuminata Rubiaceae Eye drops, oral hygeine, aphrodisiac, anticancer
M. keayana Pandaceae erectile dysfunction, hypotensive, vasorelaxing properties,
M. whitei Periplocacea Aphrodisiacs, urinary tract infection, jaundice, headaches, diarrhea, treatment of impotence and fertility
M. tomentosa Asteraceae Postpartum bleeding, antipregnancy, reproductive impairments, induction of labor, regulation of fertility
M. pruriens Papilionaceae Improving fertility, aphrodisiac agent, sexual disorder
M. fragrans Myristicaceae Aphrodisiac, stomachic, carminative, tonic, nervous stimulant, aromatic, narcotic, astringent,
hypolipidemic, antithrombotic, antifungal, antidysentric, anti inflammatory
O. gratissimum Labiatae Antibacterial, antifungal, hypoglycemic, antidiarrhoeal, analgesic
P. incarnata Passifloraceae Anxiolytic, sedative, anti-convulsant, analgesic, adaptogenic, nervine, anti-stress, post-menopausal
Psoralea corylifolia Leguminosae Aphrodisiac agent, bone fracture, osteomalacia, osteoporosis
S. aromaticum Myrtaceae Dental disorders, respiratory disorders, headache, soar throa, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-
inflammatory, cytotoxic, anesthetic
T. terrestris* Zygophyllaceae Urinary, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal disorders
T. zeylanicus Trichopodaceae Hepatoprotection, anti-ulcer activity, immunomodulation
T. diffusa Turneraceae Muscle and nerve weakness, aphrodisiac, tonic, catarrhal and bladder inflammations
V. tessellata Orchidaceaae Inflammatory conditions, otitis, fever, rheumatism, nervous, problems, bronchitis, dyspepsia, fever,
hiccough, piles, boils
* Tested clinically in humans
reproductive organs, penile erection, mount frequency in
rats, and indicates an improvement in sexual behavior.
4.6. Bidens frondosa (Asteraceae)
The aphrodisiac activity of Bidens frondosa (B. frondosa)
bark at 400 mg/kg, p.o. for 28 days showed significant
reduced ML, IL, EL, post ejaculatory interval (PEI) and
increased MF, IF and EF.
4.7. Blepharis edulis (Acanthaceae)
Ethanolic extract of Blepharis edulis (B. edulis) Linn at
100, 250, and 500 mg/kg, p.o. in male albino mice reveals
significant and sustain increase in hormonal levels of
testosterone without any adverse effects and it was found to
be most effective at the dose level of 500 mg/kg.
4.8. Caesalpinia benthamiana (Fabaceae)
Aqueous extract of Caesalpinia benthamiana (C.
benthamiana) at 50 mg/kg, p.o. in male rats is found to
have significant sex power stimulatory activity, due to its
vasorelaxant properties. Further upto 2 g/kg, p.o. it is safe
and showed no toxicity.
4.9. Chenopodium album (Chenopodiaceae)
Ethanolic extract of Chenopodium album (C. album) at
100, 250, and 500 mg/kg, p.o. in male albino mice showed
significant increase in the MF, IF, IL, Erections as well as
aggregate of penile reflexes and caused significant reduction
Patel DK et al./Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2011)S131-S138
in the ML and post ejaculatory interval. Moreover 500 mg/kg,
p.o. was found to be most active.
4.10. Chlorophytum borivilianum (Liliaceae)
Lyophilized aqueous root extracts of Chlorophytum
borivilianum (C. borivilianum) at 200 mg/kg, p.o. showed
significant enhancement of body weight and reproductive
organs, penile erection, MF, whereas significant variation in
reduction of ML, EL, IL, reduced hesitation time indicates an
improvement in sexual behavior of extract treated animals.
4.11. Camellia sinensis (Theaceae)
Camellia sinensis (C. sinensis) tea at 84, 167 and 501 mg/
mL, p.o. dose level in rats were found to possess marked
aphrodisiac activity in terms of prolongation of latency of
ejaculation shortening of ML, IL and elevation of serum
4.12. Crocus sativus (Iridaceae)
Effect of aqueous extract of Crocus sativus (C. sativus)
stigma (80, 160 and 320 mg/kg, i.p.), crocin (100, 200 and 400
mg/kg, i.p.), safranal (0.1, 0.2 and 0.4 mL/kg, i.p.), on male
rats were investigated. Crocin and extract increased MF, IF
and erection frequency behaviors and reduced ML, IL and
EL, whereas safranal did not show any aphrodisiac effects.
4.13. Catha edulis (Celastraceae)
Administration of leaf extract of Catha edulis (C. edulis) at
dose of 1 000 and 2 000 mg/kg, p.o. for 6 weeks were found to
increase plasma testosterone levels in more than 2 folds in
the male Sprague-Dawley rats.
4.14. Casimiroa edulis (Rutaceae)
Aqueous extract of the seeds of Casimiroa edulis (C. edulis)
at 250 mg/kg, p.o. on male rats for seven days exhibited
a significant increase in MF, IF, and first and second EL,
whereas ML, IL and the post ejaculatory interval showed a
significant reduction when compare to control group.
4.15. Curculigo orchioides (Hypoxidaceae)
Ethanolic extract of rhizomes of Curculigo orchioides (C.
orchioides) at 100 mg/kg, p.o. in rats was found to be change
significantly the sexual behaviour such as penile erection,
mating performance, MF, ML, and increase of penile erection
index and weight of reproductive organs.
4.16. Durio zibethinus
Aphrodisiac activity of petroleum ether extract and
isolated compound 3- beta -hydroxy-21-normethyl-19-
vinylidenylursane of Durio zibethinus (D. zibenthinus) were
screened for different dose level and it was found that 400
mg/kg, p.o. was most active in the mice and have better
aphrodisiac activity than all other treated dose.
4.17. Diodia scandens (Fabaceae)
Ethanol extract of Diodia scandens (D. scandens) on
pregnant guinea-pig uterus was investigated and found
to induce concentration-dependent increase in the force
of contraction and tonus. D. scandens was shown to acting
via muscarinic receptors. Acetylcholine (ACh) was 2.5 暳
10(5) times more potent. It also induced vasodilatation in the
rat hindquarters and depressed the blood pressure in the
4.18. Eurycoma longifolia (Simaroubaceae)
Root extracts of Eurycoma longifolia (E. longifolia) at
repeated does of 0.5 g/kg, p.o. in sexually sluggish old adult
male rats showed that E. longifolia exerted stimulation
of copulatory behaviour in non-copulator male rats with
high level of maintenance of both intromissions and
ejaculations. Chloroform, methanol, water or n-butanol
fractions from E. longifolia at 500 mg/kg, p.o. on sexually
naive male mice showed aphrodisiac properties as indicated
by the slow and transient reduction in hesitation time.
Butanol, methanol, aqueous and chloroform root extracts
of E. longifolia at 200, 400 and 800 mg/kg, p.o. produced a
dose-dependent, recurrent and significant increase in the
episodes of penile reflexes, as shown by increases in quick
flips, long flips and erection of the treated mice. Effect
of E. longifolia on sexual behavior of sexually sluggish and
impotent male rats at 250, 500 and 1 000 mg/kg, p.o. were
investigated in different model and found that it significantly
reduced ejaculation latencies and increased the percentage
of mounting and ejaculating of animals. Testosterone
serum levels were also increased. Various fractions of
E. longifolia roots, on the sexual qualities of middle-aged
male rats at 0.5 g/kg, p.o. were found to enhance the sexual
qualities by decreasing their hesitation time. Effects of
200, 400 and 800 mg/kg, p.o. of butanol, methanol, water and
chloroform fractions of E. longifolia Jack were studied on
the levator ani muscle in both uncastrated and testosterone-
stimulated castrated intact male rats. 800 mg/kg of butanol,
methanol, water and chloroform fractions of E. longifolia
Jack significantly increases the levator ani muscle and body
weight. The effects of root extracts of E. longifolia at
200, 400 and 800 mg/kg, p.o. on the orientation activities of
sexually experienced male rats showed significantly more
frequent and vigorous mounting, licking and anogenital
sniffing towards the receptive females, increased grooming
of the genitals compared with the controls. Different
fractions of E. longifolia roots (chloroform, methanol, water
or butanol) were screened for aphrodisiac properties in
sexually naive male mice using dose of 0.5 g/kg, p.o. daily
and it resulted in an enhancement of the sexual motivation
of animals after 3 days. The effect was more prominent after
4.19. Helminthostachys zeylanica (Ophioglossaceae)
Methanol extract of Helminthostachys zeylanica (H.
zeylanica) rhizome to male mice significantly stimulates the
Patel DK et al./Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2011)S131-S138 S135
sexual behaviour as evidenced by increase in the number
of mounts, mating and reproductive performance. The
pups fathered mice by the drug-treated were normal, with
reference to fetal growth, litter size and sex ratio.
4.20. Hibiscus sabdariffa (Malvaceae)
Aqueous extract of Hibiscus sabdariffa (H. sabdariffa) calyx
at 1.15, 2.30, 4.60 g/kg, p.o. for 12-week on the rat testes did
not show any significant change in the absolute and relative
testicular weights. However, it showed a significant decrease
in the epididymal sperm counts and induced testicular
toxicity in rats.
4.21. Kaempferia parviflora (Zingiberaceae)
The alcoholic, hexane and aqueous extracts of Kaempferia
parviflora (K. parviflora) showed no effect on the weights
of reproductive organ, fertility or sperm motility even in
5-week male rats. However, alcohol extract at a dose of 70
mg/kg, p.o. significantly decreases mount and ejaculatory
latencies and increases blood flow to the testis. Whereas,
hexane and water extracts had no influence on any sexual
4.22. Lepidium meyenii (Brassicaceae)
The clinical trial of L. meyenii for aphrodisiac activity was
done for 12 weeks in double-blind, placebo-controlled,
randomized, parallel trial with 1 500 mg/kg or 3 000 mg/kg,
p.o. doses in form of tablets on men aged between 21 and
56 years. It had no effect on serum levels of luteinizing
hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, prolactin, 17-alpha
hydroxyprogesterone, testosterone and 17-beta estradiol.
4.23. Litsea chinensis (Lauraceae)
Ethanolic extract of the bark of Litsea chinensis (L.
chinensis) on male sexual behaviour in rats at 500 mg/kg, p.o.
produced a significant increase in penile erection index,
homosexual mounting and facilitated sexual behaviour
and orientational activity, as shown by increased mounting
performance, anogenital sniffing, intromission and
4.24. Lycium barbarum (Solanaceae)
Effect of Lycium barbarum (L. barbarum) polysaccharides
(LBP) at 10, 50, 100, and 200 mg/kg, p.o. per day on damaged
rat testis showed that LBP provides a protective effect
against the testicular tissue damage induced by heat
exposure. LBP significantly increases testis, epididymis
weights, superoxide dismutase activity and sexual hormone
levels in the damaged rat testis. LBP had a dose-dependent
protective effect against DNA oxidative damage of mouse
testicular cells induced by H2O2.
4.25. Microdesmis keayana J. Le´onard (Pandaceae)
Effects of aqueous extract of Microdesmis keayana (M.
keayana) root and major isolated alkaloids on sexual
behavior of male rats revealed that it stimulates sexual
parameters in rats, and it is safe at dose of upto 2 g/kg,
4.26. Montanoa tomentosa (Compositae)
Aqueous extract of Montanoa tomentosa (M. tomentosa) at
the dose of 38, 75 and 150 mg/kg, p.o. facilitates expression of
sexual behaviour in sexually active male rat and significantly
increases mounting behaviour in genitally anesthetized
animals and induces the expression of sexual behaviour in
noncopulating males. It also exerted a pro-ejaculatory effect
and produced an increase in the number of discharges in the
ejaculatory motor patterns in the spinal rats. The cihuapatli-
induced ejaculatory motor patterns were similar to the effect
that obtained after systemic oxytocin.
4.27. Mucuna pruriens (Fabaceae)
Ethanolic extract of Mucuna pruriens (M. pruriens) showed
significantly increase in the MF, IF and EL, and decreased
the mounting latency, IL, post-ejaculatory interval and
inter-intromission interval at 150, 200, 250 mg/kg, p.o. dose
in Wister albino rats.
4.28. Mondia whitei (Asclepiadaceae)
Effect of aqueous extract of Mondia whitei (M. whitei) on
human spermatozoa in vitro has significantly enhanced
the total motility as well as progressive motility in a time-
dependent manner. This study signifies uses of M. whitei
especially in men affected with asthenozoospermia.
4.29. Massularia acuminata (Rubiaceae)
Androgenic potential of aqueous extract of Massularia
acuminata (M. acuminata) stem at 250, 500 and 1 000 mg/
kg, p.o. for 21 days in male rats was shown in significantly
increase in testes-body weight ratio, testicular protein,
glycogen, sialic acid, cholesterol, testosterone, luteinizing
and follicle stimulating hormone concentrations throughout
the period of administration.
4.30. Myristica fragrans (Myristicaceae)
Aphrodisiac effect of 50% ethanolic Myristica fragrans (M.
fragrans) Houtt at 100, 250 and 500 mg/kg, p.o. for seven days
in male rats was shown in significant augmentation of sexual
activity in male rats. It significantly increases the MF, IF,
and IL and caused significant reduction in the ML and PEI.
The extract was also observed to be devoid of any adverse
effects and acute toxicity.
4.31. Ocimum gratissimum (Lamiaceae)
Effect of ethanolic extract of leaves of Ocimum gratissimum
(O. gratissimum) at 100, 250, and 500 mg/kg, p.o. for seven
days on mice significantly increases the MF, IF, IL, erections
as well as aggregate of penile reflexes and caused significant
Patel DK et al./Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2011)S131-S138
reduction in the ML and PEI. A dose of 500 mg/kg showed
maximum effect without any conspicuous gastric ulceration
and adverse effects.
4.32. Pedalium murex (Pedaliaceae)
Aphrodisiac activity of petroleum ether extract of
Pedalium murex (P. murex) plant at 200 and 400 mg/kg, p.o.
in ethanol induced germ cell damage and infertility in male
rat models depicted an increase in mating and mounting
behaviour, body weight, percentage of pregnancy, litter
size, sperm motility and also showed an increased levels of
testosterone, germinal cells and the luminal spermatozoa in
treated compared to control group.
4.33. Passiflora incarnata (Passifloraceae)
Effect of methanolic extract of P. incarnata on male mice
exhibited significant aphrodisiac behaviour at 75, 100 and
150 mg/kg, p.o. Amongst these, the highest activity was
observed with the 100 mg/kg, p.o. dose when the mountings
were calculated about 95 min after the administration of the
4.34. Peganum harmala (Nitrariaceae)
Treatment of Peganum harmala (P. harmala) seeds at 100
mg/kg, p.o. for 56 days in male rats was found to significantly
chang gonad and accessory gland weight and function,
semen quality, and histology of the organs involved in
reproduction, without affecting the metabolic function.
4.35. Syzygium aromaticum (Myrtaceae)
Effect of hexane extract of flower buds of Syzygium
aromaticum (S. aromaticum) at 15, 30, and 60 mg/kg, p.o.
for 35 days were evaluated for a single spermatogenic cycle
in Parkes (P) strain mice. Lower dose (15 mg/kg, p.o.) of the
extract increased the activities of Delta 5 3 beta -HSD and 17
beta -HSD, and serum level of testosterone.
4.36. Tricholepis glaberrima (Compositae)
Treatment of methanol extract of the aerial parts of
Tricholepis glaberrima (T. glaberrima) DC at dose of 200
mg/kg, p.o. for 28 days in sexually active male rats has
significantly increased ML, IL, while with a significant
reduction in MF, IF, and post-ejaculatory interval. Extract
favors spermatogenesis by enhancing the proliferation of the
4.37. Tribulus terrestris (Zygophyllaceae)
Effect of Tribulus terrestris (T. terrestris) at 5 mg/kg, p.o. for
8 weeks in adult Sprague-Dawley rats on sexual behaviour
and intracavernous pressures (ICP) showed increase in
mount and intromission frequencies, decrease in mount,
intromission, ejaculation latencies and PEI revealing the
improvement of the sexual behaviour parameters. Effect
investigation of T. terrestris extract at 20 and 10 mg/kg for 4 weeks on
androgen metabolism in young males showed no significant
difference between T. terrestris supplemented groups
and control in the serum testosterone, androstenedione
or luteinizing hormone. Aphrodisiac properties of the
furostanol glycoside fraction of T. terrestris in male castrated
rats were investigated at 5, 10, and 25 mg/kg, p.o. for 14 days
and found to increase orientational activity parameters such
as licking, anogenital and genital grooming and decreased
climbing and nongential grooming by male rats indicating
increased sexual stimulation. Effect of T. terrestris at dose
of 2.5, 5 and 10 mg/kg, p.o. for 8 weeks on sexual behaviour
and ICP measurements in Sprague-Dawley rats reveals an
increase in body weight and ICP, mount and intromission
frequencies and decrease in mount latencies compared to
the control group.
4.38. Trichopus zeylanicus (Trichopodaceae)
Administration of the ethanol extract of Trichopus
zeylanicus (T. zeylanicus) leaves to male mice increased
the number of mounts and mating performance. The pups
fathered by the extract-treated mice were normal with
regard to foetal growth, litter size and sex ratio. Although
oral administration of a single dose (200 mg/kg, p.o.) was
effective, daily administration of the extract for 6 days was
more effective. The aqueous as well as n-hexane extracts of
the leaves were found to be inactive.
4.39. Turnera diffusa (Turneraceae)
Effect of Turnera diffusa (T. diffusa) at 20-80 mg/kg, p.o.
in sexually exhausted male rats significantly increased the
percentage of males achieving one ejaculatory series and
resuming a second one. In addition, T. diffusa significantly
reduces the PEI.
4.40. Terminalia catappa (Combretaceae)
Aphrodisiac potential of Terminalia catappa (T. catappa)
seeds at dose of 1 500 mg/kg or 3 000 mg/kg, p.o. for 7 days
in rats had a marked improvement of aphrodisiac action,
sexual vigour. In contrast, the higher dose (3 000 mg/kg, p.o.)
reversibly inhibited all the parameters of sexual behaviour
other than mounting-and-intromission frequency and
4.41. Vanda tessellata (Orchidaceae)
Alcoholic extract of flowers of Vanda tessellata (V.
tessellata) at doses of 50 and 200 mg/kg, p.o. were found to be
increase mating performance, and tend to increase the male:
female ratio of resulting offspring. This extract was devoid of
Medicinal plants are used from ancient times and only
true natural medicines have been found useful in several
ways. They can be used directly or in extracted forms for
Patel DK et al./Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine (2011)S131-S138 S137
the management of various ailments, due to presence of
many phytochemicals. In this review we have mentioned
the pharmacologically tested aphrodisiac plants which
have claimed for its uses in the traditional system of
medicine to treat sexual disorder. Plants like T. catappa
seeds, S. aromaticum flower bud, and F. agrestis stem have
been found to have aphrodisiac activities in male rats. The
incidence of male sexual dysfunction is increasing, which
need more and rapid search of the plants with aphrodisiac
potentials. Chinese men have always been interested in
increasing virility and sexual satisfaction to the extent of
using any possible means. In England, people believed
that plants having phallic-like features such as asparagus,
parsnips and carrots can be used as aphrodisiac agent.
Ukrainians believe carrots and celery have aphrodisiac
activity. In chinese culture, ginseng and rhinoceros horn is
used as an aphrodisiac agent. Substances which enhance
sexual performance are called aphrodisiac including
foods, beverages, vitamins, minerals, and other natural and
The search for natural supplement from medicinal plants
is being intensified probably because of its fewer side
effects, its ready availability and less cost. All the plants
in this review have exhibited significant pharmacological
activity. The herbs can be effective aphrodisiacs, moreover,
isolation and identification of active constituents from
plants may bring a dynamic change in the modern world.
Many of the plant materials showed positive aphrodisiac
activities in animals. For the determination of the safety and
effectiveness of these substances for sexual enhancement it
is necessary to test pre-clinically in animals and clinically
in human being before consuming the drug. Further studies
are also needed to check the mechanism that underlie
behind such activity.
Demands of natural aphrodisiacs require increasing
studies to understand their effects on humans and strengthen
relationships to its safety. Due to unavailability of the
safety data, unclear mechanisms, and lack of knowledge to
support the extensive use of these substances, uses of these
products can be harmful to the human being. With more
clinical data, exact mechanisms of action, safety profile, and
drug interaction with other uses of these aphrodisiacs plant
materials, treating sexual disorder can become fruitful.
Conflict of interest statement
We declare that we have no conflict of interest.
The financial assistance from University Grants Commission,
New Delhi, for Dinesh Kumar Patel (Senior Research
Fellowship) is greatly acknowledged.
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