Q. I'm a 39-year-old woman in need of an herb that can decrease sex drive. I think you've written about this before, but I can't recall the herb you suggested. I'm in excellent health, taking only Flonase, Ortho Tri-Cyclen and an occasional Advil.
A. In the past, we asked herb expert James Duke, Ph.D., who suggested an extract of chaste-tree berry (Vitex agnus-castus). Vitex has a progesterone-like effect.
As you might guess from the name, folklore holds that these berries, once called "monks' pepper," can lower libido. Although there is no science to support this belief, progesterone can interfere with normal sex drive. Please check with your doctor before adding this hormone-like herb to your birth control pills.
Here are some reports from people who have tried this approach:
“I have the same story as all these people do. I am a 41 year old female, and in the last few weeks I have been hit with an over-the-top insatiable libido. It leaves me miserable all day long. Even sex every day is not enough. Is there anything I can take to get rid of this? I am already taking Vitex (Chaste-Tree Fruit) tincture. Drinking peppermint tea. I think I need a medication and I’m not sure which one to take.”
“I am not alone with a high libido. My husband suffered a lot of damage in an auto accident several years ago, and since then our intimate life barely exists. We went from 3 times weekly to ‘something to satisfy me’ every couple months. Sometimes three months. It isn’t his fault, so I try to never talk to him about it, but it is very hard on me. I know that intimacy is very good for emotional attachment in marriage, and I can really feel the difference when it has been so long.
I have found some lists of herbs that are supposed to help, esp. chasteberry, skullcap, and valerian, but I have to admit that I am nervous about taking herbs because of side affects. Has anyone else tried them?
“Also, to all women with high libidos, avoid using Wild Yam Cream. I was using this to regulate my cycles better, and it almost immediately made my libido so high I thought I’d go insane. It still took a couple of weeks for the effect to wear off even after I stopped using the cream. Any women who WANT to increase their libidos, you might want to consider using some. I used 1/4 teaspoon of cream on my stomach and arms from day 14 to 28 of each cycle. Then you don’t use it after day 28 until day 14 again. It is also supposed to be good for PMS, mood and energy, but I don’t know if it works for that part or not because I obviously couldn’t keep using it. “