His & Hers – Herbal medicines to liven up love and life!

February is the month of love, it’s a time for us to honour the people we choose to share our lives - and love with. For some of us, this might be the opportunity to be brave and approach that special someone. Either way, love is a beautiful thing and Valentines gives us an opportunity to celebrate it.

A fact of modern relationships is that couples now need to meet much more of each other’s emotional needs in comparison to earlier more “primitive” societies when we used to have large communities and families helping us to feel safe and connected. This places a much greater emotional strain on each partner, not forgetting we still need to sort out the kids, go to work, navigate traffic, and cook a healthy dinner. It really is no wonder that couples all around the world are struggling to connect intimately.   

The stress of daily life can often get in the way of us acknowledging our partners & remembering why we love them in the first place, and this also leads to a lack of intimacy. Research has shown that stress is a major factor in sexual dysfunction in both men and women (Hamilton & Julian, 2014). The recent change in our lives caused by COVID-19 has also had a tremendous impact on sexual health and has in fact added to the burden of sexual dysfunction (Masoudi, Maasoumi & Bragazzi, 2022).

My advice to everyone this Valentine’s Day is preparation, and I don’t mean making a dinner reservation or taming the wild forest down under – although navigating forests is often easier when things are kept in check. What I mean is take actions that will reduce stress, it could be as easy as packing the kids’ lunches or helping your partner do the dishes, remembering to fill up your car the day before, just do something that creates a little space and then use that space to explore the jungle (wink) or just appreciate each other.   

If sexual dysfunction, lack of libido or stress are getting in the way of your month of love then I recommend looking to nature for some help – lillies for the ladies and maca for the men!

Lillies for the ladies - Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) belongs to the Liliaceae family (AKA the lily family), in Ayurveda it known as the Queen of Herbs and is a potent female tonic. Traditionally, it is said that Shatavari can give women the capacity to have a hundred husbands. In more modern terms we would call Shatavari an adaptogen, it is very specific to female health though. It is used for sexual debility, as a nutritive tonic and to help during menopause (Frawley, 1988).  

Along with Ashwaganda, Shatavari is considered a “Rasayana” which means it is a herb that helps to restore the body’s vitality to it’s fullest capacity, these are herbs that were traditionally used whenever the body was run down and worn out. I certainly would like my vitality restored to its fullest capacity especially when it comes to exploring that jungle we spoke about! Both men and women can benefit from the tonic properties of Ashwaganda.

Maca for the men – or more specifically the rare Black Maca is ideal for men’s health. Experimental studies have shown that maca can help with sexual dysfunction and may be beneficial for prostate health (Gonzales, 2012). Some animal research has shown that black maca can significantly increases sexual performance in males (Cicero, 2001), while a smaller study concluded that maca improved sexual desire (Gonzales, et al. 2002).   

Sharing is caring, so if you wanted a maca in the middle then I would recommend going for Red Maca which has benefits for both men and women due to its positive effects on stress, anxiety, and mood. (Gonzales-Arimborgo, et al. 2016) 

Adaptogenic herbs like Ashwaganda, Maca and Shatavari help us to feel more in control of our lives which can so often feel like they are spiralling out of control. Adaptogens literally help us to adapt to our situation, whatever that situation might be. It is by adapting that we grow, learn, and become stronger. These herbs can help us to feel stronger, calmer, more capable and resilient and that is, I believe, why these gifts from nature can help us liven up our love.

Let February be the month where you rediscover the love you have for yourself and those you share your life with. Enjoy your jungle adventures! 

Cobus Botha

Natural Medicine Expert


  1. Alok, S., Jain, S. K., Verma, A., Kumar, M., Mahor, A., & Sabharwal, M. (2013). Plant profile, phytochemistry and pharmacology of Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari): A review. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease3(3), 242–251. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2222-1808(13)60049-3 
  2. Cicero, A. F., Bandieri, E., & Arletti, R. (2001). Lepidium meyenii Walp. improves sexual behaviour in male rats independently from its action on spontaneous locomotor activity. Journal of ethnopharmacology75(2-3), 225–229. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0378-8741(01)00195-7 
  3. Frawley, D. The Yoga of herbs: an Ayurvedic guide to herbal medicine, ed 2. Sante Fe, 1988, Lotus Press
  4. Gonzales, G. F., Córdova, A., Vega, K., Chung, A., Villena, A., Góñez, C., & Castillo, S. (2002). Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men. Andrologia34(6), 367–372. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1439-0272.2002.00519.x 
  5. Gonzales G. F. (2012). Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM2012, 193496. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/193496 
  6. Gonzales-Arimborgo, C., Yupanqui, I., Montero, E., Alarcón-Yaquetto, D. E., Zevallos-Concha, A., Caballero, L., Gasco, M., Zhao, J., Khan, I. A., & Gonzales, G. F. (2016). Acceptability, Safety, and Efficacy of Oral Administration of Extracts of Black or Red Maca (Lepidium meyenii) in Adult Human Subjects: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Pharmaceuticals (Basel, Switzerland)9(3), 49. https://doi.org/10.3390/ph9030049 
  7. Hamilton, L. D., & Julian, A. M. (2014). The relationship between daily hassles and sexual function in men and women. Journal of sex & marital therapy40(5), 379–395. https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2013.864364 
  8. Masoudi, M., Maasoumi, R., & Bragazzi, N. L. (2022). Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on sexual functioning and activity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC public health22(1), 189. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-021-12390-4 
  9. Meissner, H. O., Mscisz, A., Reich-Bilinska, H., Mrozikiewicz, P., Bobkiewicz-Kozlowska, T., Kedzia, B., Lowicka, A., & Barchia, I. (2006). Hormone-Balancing Effect of Pre-Gelatinized Organic Maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon): (III) Clinical responses of early-postmenopausal women to Maca in double blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled, crossover configuration, outpatient study. International journal of biomedical science : IJBS2(4), 375–394. 
  10. Rasayana: The Ayurvedic Path to Rejuvenation: Elemental alchemy. Elemental Alchemy | Ancient Wisdom for Vibrant Health. (2019, September 9). Retrieved February 9, 2023, from https://elemental-alchemy.com/rasayana-the-ayurvedic-path-to-rejuvenation/ 
  11. Singh, N., Bhalla, M., de Jager, P., & Gilca, M. (2011). An overview on ashwagandha: a Rasayana (rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. African journal of traditional, complementary, and alternative medicines: AJTCAM8(5 Suppl), 208–213. https://doi.org/10.4314/ajtcam.v8i5S.9