Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Learn ya some drawin'. Also here. Or just smoke some herbs or something. Herbs, herbs, herbs!

A brief note about libido and those so-called "herbal viagras", which irritate the hell out of me, as well as the FDA:

There are a few herbs that are known to
contain testosterone. Chaste tree leaf does,
and I believe that its relative Nirgundi does
also. At least some forms of pollen do as well,
and there are droves of plants which contain
phytoandrogens like Beta-sitosterol, that have
properties similar to testosterone. However, I
really don't think that looking for testosterone
is the right answer, although it might even
produce some symptomatic relief.

Sex drive, even from a non-wholistic point of
view, is a very complex thing. Testosterone is
involved, but a lack of sex drive does not
necessarily mean a lack of testosterone.
Oxytocin generally needs to be there as well,
whereas Prolactin (a hormone which is
especialy present during lactation, but also at
other times) tends to lower libido.
Testosterone also is sometimes converted
into another substance which diminishes its
effects. Any one of these factors could be
involved, and most likely they all are.

From a wholistic perspective, an imbalance
anywhere in the body (e.g. headache) can
effect sexual desire

Add to that the fact that, in our culture, we tend
to be bombarded by opinions, attitudes, and
marketing ploys relating to sexuality which are
unhealthy and even downright paradoxal ,and
you have a bad situation.

Usually, a deficiency in libido indicates some
weakness in Kidney Chi, or adrenal energy.
Herbs such as epimedium and lyceum can be
useful for this for many individuals. There are
a great many herbs that can, but the specific
indications are varied.

One herb that I consider valuable for some
cases of Reduced kidney energy is called
"Conopholis americana". It's in the cistanche
family, a parasitic plant, and it is fiery. You
gather it after it has dropped seed. I mention
this here just because I don't know if anyone
else is still using this herb or remembers it. It
still bears the name "squawroot", which is
most likely a mistranslation of a native name,
as it is not the root that is used (and indeed,
there isn't much of a root to use- it's a
parasite, and grows from the roots of an oak
tree). I consider it to be more Yang than the
related Rou Cong Rong or Cao Cong Rong
(although this could be due to differences in
harvesting and handling). Just an example of
the many medicines that grow all around us
that not even many herbalists remember.

Getting back to the libido discussion, although
there are, as I said, many herbs that are
helpful, I think usually the most important thing
to look at is stress/fatigue, which also drains
kidney Chi. Things like work, housework,
social interaction, having a two year old that
needs to be fed and cleaned and picked up
after and supervised and interacted with and
clothed and bathed and put to bed at night and
have their laundry and shopping and dishes
done for them, can all be very draining. Herbs
can still be helpful, but it is important to know
that lifestyle and difficult or unrealistic
expectations of ones' self are often factors.

One last note: many of the herbs that
increase libido also increase fertility.


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