Summary: We know that Ginkgo Biloba can increase blood flow and relax smooth muscle so it makes sense that it might help with low libido. Unfortunately, the one reputable study that looked at Ginkgo in the treatment of low libido in women didn’t show any improvement with Ginkgo alone. However, it was helpful when combined with sex therapy.
Dear Curtis: I’m in a female in my twenties. I exercise a lot. Have no health issues other than the fact I have an extremely low libido. I have been checked by my doctor and he said there aren’t any issues that he can see. He did say that if the problem kept up he would consider putting me medications if it was that big of a deal. I want to avoid that and would prefer to go with natural supplements if at all possible. After reading I came across some reports that Ginkgo Biloba can help increase libido. Is that true?
Low libido is tricky. It can be caused by any number of things (or a combination of them).
First things first – you did the right thing by seeing your doctor.
One thing you didn’t mention is if he did any hormone tests? That could tell us a lot and is something you probably want to touch base with him on.
Now, before I get into the meat of your question – which is about Ginkgo – I’d like to take a moment to touch on some other causes that you might want to discuss with your doctor.
Stress Plays a Huge Role
You mentioned that you exercise a lot. I’m not sure what you mean by that but I’ve seen women who go overboard. They are so focused on exercise that their bodyfat percentages get down close to single digits. About the time you get to that point you can see menstruation stop. This is a warning sign.
Or, maybe work or life in general is really stressful right now. This can wreak havoc on your hormones and shut down sexual drive.
How about lack of sleep? Relationship issues? Any type of stressor in your life can dampen sex drive.
Again, these are just some issues that you should probably give some thought to in addition to natural supplements.
Gingko and Sex Drive
Regarding Ginkgo Biloba I don’t think you’re going to like what I have to say.
First, the good thing about Ginkgo is that it does help increase blood flow and can help relax smooth muscle tissue in our bodies. We already know that these processes play an important role in the human sexual response. Because of this is was thought that Ginkgo might help sexual dysfunction problems.
A 2008 study put this theory to the test. A group of woman with Sexual Arousal Disorder (SAD) were given one of the following regimens:
- Ginkgo 300mg a day
- Placebo (sugar pill)
- Sex therapy with a specific focus on helping women recognize and attend to genital sensations
- A combination of Ginkgo and sex therapy
What the researchers found was that only long-term treatment with Ginkgo in addition to sexual therapy helped increase sexual desire beyond that of the placebo group. Long-term Gingko administration alone did NOT significantly improve sexual response beyond that of the placebo group.
The take home message is that Gingko Biloba by itself does NOT appear to have any positive effects on sex drive.
- Meston CM, Rellini AH, Telch MJ. Short- and long-term effects of Ginkgo biloba extract on sexual dysfunction in women. Arch Sex Behav. 2008 Aug;37(4):530-47