Sex Herbs: Nature's Sexual Enhancers for Men and Women
by Beth Ann Roybal and Gayle Skowronski
Published by Ulysses Press
326 pages, 1999
Buy it online
The Greening of Sex
Reviewed by Linda L. Richards
You don't have to be an expert in psychographics to see the way this particular path is going. Legions of people in the western world are wearing themselves out pursuing the dream of a perfect life. They're working longer hours to keep a step ahead in their careers. They're devoting some of the time not accounted for to workout regimes intended to keep the machine going longer: and look better in the process. What little time is left over can be alternately devoted to the care of offspring, personal reading or entertainment (The occasional movie. A little TV. Maybe even surfing the 'Net.) And then, of course, there's sleep. Even workaholics have to rest sometime.
But wait. What's missing from that description of the modern life? According to stats and indicators, there's a fairly good chance you're missing it too: sex. These days it's becoming increasingly obvious to a lot of people that the pressures of modern life don't leave a lot of time -- or, in some cases, even desire for good ol' copulation.
The mad rush for Viagra a few years ago really highlighted this lack. An international stampede of men itching to get their hands on the stuff pointed to a disturbing trend. In a society too busy, too tired and too overworked to desire sex, a panacea dangled before the masses would be just what the doctor ordered.
In Sex Herbs, authors Beth Ann Petro Roybal and Gayle Skowronski point out that herbs are a viable option to the panacea.
As long as plants and people have coexisted, we have looked for ways to use plants to better our lives -- including our sex lives. And for good reason. One recent study shows that 31 percent of men and 43 percent of women have sexual problems! If a few dried-up leaves or roots can help make sex more pleasurable, it only makes sense to give it a try.
The first part of Sex Herbs approaches the topic from a herbal rather than sexual standpoint. The first chapter is called "What is an Herb?" and deals with definitions, how uses for herbs have been and are discovered, as well as how you can measure the effectiveness of various herbs. "How to Choose and Use Herbs" covers the forms that herbs in the book might be available and the various ways of preparing, administering and even finding them.
Part II gets down to business with "Herbs to Improve Your Sex Life." This is broken down into chapters on "Increasing Your Sexual Desire and Drive;" "Increasing Your Sexual Pleasure;" "Relieving Male Menopause, Prostate Problems, and Impotence;" "Relieving Female Menopause and Premenstrual Syndrome;" Controlling Health Conditions that Affect Sex;" "Improving Your Overall Well-Being;" and "Sex Herb Combinations."
All of these chapters include descriptions of the individual herbs that will help the stated condition, a bit about the history of the plant in herbal lore, the part of the plant that is used, the plant's chemical content as well as cautions, dosing instructions and availability. And we learn, for instance, that garlic may be helpful in helping men to maintain an erection, that sarsaparilla might raise the sexual drive in both sexes and that, "Peppermint may aid sexual drive by increasing the respiration rate, which increases the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream. This in turn provides more oxygen to the genitals." In all there are about 105 herbal entries, though some of the herbs crop up in more than one section.
Sex Herbs is a well thought out and executed book. It not only provides a good overview of herbs that relate somehow to sexuality, but also to the ideas of herbology in general. | November 1999
Linda L. Richards is the editor of January Magazine and the author of Mad Money.