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Hot Plants and Sex Drive

Are you a "healthy normal" with a subnormal sex life? What's that, you ask?

It means you're healthy in most ways, but when it comes to libido and performance, you're past your prime or too pooped to peak.

Sure, you can go into any drug store or health food store and see bottles of herbals and over-the-counter concoctions that purport to give you that zip you lack.

But who knows how effective they are or how safe?

And prescription medicines? When they advertise the possibility of four-hour erections that need a doctor's care, that can be off-putting.

So Chris Kilham, Explorer-in-Residence at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, says he can help men and women explore the right option and select herbs that can be counted on for "the bare necessities of sex," and better.

"I have tried every one of them," he says of the sex-boosting plants he discusses in his book, hot plants ($12.95, St. Martin's Griffin.)

Enhanced Sex Drive

The 52-year-old says he's used hot plants "in abundance" to impart energy and stamina. "You get an exaggerated sex drive if you use too much of them," he warns. "They enhance sexual function in a major way." And, he adds, "At 52, I'm a prime candidate for these plants. Without getting overly graphic, I feel 28 when I use them."

What about Viagra and other FDA-approved drugs for this same purpose?

Kilham is no fan. "Seven months after Viagra hit the market, there were 123 Viagra-related deaths. I like to recommend plants for which there are no deaths."

How can he be so sure of the safety of plants most of us haven't heard of, like Tongkat Ali, Rhodiola, Yohimbe, Horny Goat Weed, Catuaba and Ashwagandha?

"Two ways. Number one, a majority of these have been used by tens to hundreds of millions of people for thousands of years, and two, people have been using these herbs the way people have been eating cucumbers. They don't get sick or die. And the majority of the plants have been extensively tested for toxicity in government laboratories, in medical centers. This is not like backwoods foraging. The herbal industry the medicinal plant sector is a very sophisticated industry."

Most Effective Hot Plants

Three of the hottest hot plants are: maca, a food found in the highland of Peru. It's used as a staple food and only grows at very high altitudes. It contains compounds that enhance fertility and boost sexual function. It helps men with erectile functions, and relieves menopausal discomfort.

"The second herb I'm very fond of is Tongkat ali. This is an herb that comes from Malayasia, the root of a tree. It's the closest thing to herbal Viagra. It has off-the-charts sex-enhancing properties. It boosts testosterone. Both men and women can benefit from it helping the body producing its own natural testosterone. For erectile function, this stuff is heroic. It increases nitric oxide in the blood, but doesn't have any hazards. It's used ubiquitously throughout S.E. Asia. Hundreds of brands of beverages are made with this root. And it's utterly safe, but it works. Rhodiola rosea is the third. There are good studies, one that showed women with loss of menses regained natural function in about two weeks."

Kilham only hints at how these plants keep him revved up, but in an interview with Outside magazine, an adventure chronicle, he's a bit more open. "Believe me," he's quoted as saying, "I've wound up obsessively horny in every remote place I've been."

But a word of warning to the wary: Like any drug, none of the herbs should be taken without doctor's advice if you have conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or other illnesses, Kilham says.

To quote those sex drug commercials be sure you're healthy enough to take these herbs, especially maca. Laughs Kilham, "If you take maca, you'd better have a date that night."

Drew Voight

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