Health

How dates lubricate vagina, prevent painful intercourse, improve libido in women

Date palm

*Boost waning sex drive, sperm count, induce erection, stop premature ejaculation in men

St. Valentine’s Day has come and gone but the memories linger. Did you have a date or rather dates? Though synonymous with expression of love, it is a day couples reignite their sex lives. However, some couples ended up disappointed because either the male instrument ran flat and refused to rise to the occasion or the destination was too dry to take her to dream world (orgasm).

But scientists have validated some local foods that can lubricate the vagina, prevent painful intercourse and improve libido in women as well as boost waning sex drive, sperm count, induce erection, and stop premature ejaculation in men.

Top on the list are: dates/date palm; alligator pepper; tigernuts; nutmeg; Indian almond; velvet bean/cowhage; plantain; banana; fluted pumpkin; watermelon; and guava leaves.

Nurses and Midwives have in very recent clinical trials demonstrated that the administration of date palm pollen could improve vaginal lubrication and reduce dyspareunia in the postmenopausal women.

Commonly called dates and date palm, Phoenix dactylifera is of the plant family Palmae/ Arecaceae. It is called debino in Igbo, dabino in Hausa and eso anobi in Yoruba.

Date palm pollen (DPP) is the male reproductive dust of palm flowers used as dietary supplement especially as aphrodisiac and fertility enhancer in both women and men.

Dyspareunia is pain when sexual intercourse or other sexual activity that involves penetration is attempted or pain during these activities. The pain may be superficial or deep. It may result from vaginal dryness or disorders of the genital organs.

The study titled “The impact of Date Palm Pollen Capsule on Vaginal Iubrication and Dyspareunia In Menopausal Woman” was published, January 2020, in the Journal of Midwifery & Reproductive Health.

Several researches have shown that estrogen and androgen deficiency in menopause leads to poor vulva-vaginal blood flow, vaginal dryness, and dyspareunia, which can reduce the quality of life among the women.

Consequently, the researchers from Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran, investigated the impact of date palm pollen capsules on vaginal lubrication and dyspareunia in postmenopausal women.

The present triple-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted on 60 ‌menopausal women aged 40-65 years, who referred to the health centres affiliated to the Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran, in 2015. The subjects were randomly assigned to two groups of intervention and placebo (n=30), receiving date palm pollen and placebo capsules (350 mg, daily), respectively, for 35 days. The data were collected at two stages (at the baseline and after treatment) using the Female Sexual Function Index, a part of which evaluated vaginal lubrication and dyspareunia. Data analysis was performed in SPSS (version 16) using the independent t-test, Mann-Whitney U test, and ANCOVA.

There was a significant difference between the two groups after the intervention in terms of vaginal lubrication and dyspareunia. The results of the ANCOVA revealed a significant difference between the intervention and placebo groups regarding the two investigated domains of sexual function by controlling the effect of the confounding factors.

Meanwhile, in a study conducted by Abedi and Parviz (2013) entitled “Effects of aqueous of Phoenix dactylifera pollen grain on sexual behaviour of male rates”, the intervention group showed an improvement in sexual behaviour and increased serum levels of testosterone and estradiol, compared to the control group.

In another study performed by Moshtaghi et al. (2007), entitled “Effect of Phoenix dactylifera on serum concentrations of estrogen, progesterone and gonadotropins in adult female rats”, date palm pollen increased the concentration of estrogen and progesterone hormones.

In the studies carried out by Mehraban (2013) and Bahmanpour (2006), the groups receiving the date palm pollen extract showed an increase in the level of sex hormones. One of the functions of estrogen is the improvement of pelvic connective tissue resilience for comfortable intercourse. When the estrogen is not produced sufficiently before the menopause, vaginal dryness might occur.

According to studies, in the postmenopausal women, the mucous membrane of the vagina is weakened, and the rugae are lost. Vaginal rugae are structures of the vagina that are transverse ridges formed out of the supporting tissues and vaginal epithelium in females. These females have a pale and diaphanous appearance due to the reduction of the vesicularity. The loss of subcutaneous fat and elastic tissue makes labia minora and labia majora appear wrinkled. In addition, estrogen deficiency occurring after menopause causes atrophic changes and can be associated with symptoms, such as dyspareunia, itching, vaginal irritation, dryness, and vaginismus.

Studies have shown that the reduction of sexual arousal and vaginal lubrication is associated with a decrease in the level of endogenous or administered androgens. During the menopause, the physiological reduction of estrogen and androgen leads to poor vulva-vaginal blood flow, and thereby reduced sexual arousal. Moreover, vaginal dryness decreases genital sensory thresholds, dyspareunia, and sexual desire.

According to the Iranian researchers, in line with the findings of the mentioned studies, the results of this study demonstrated that the date palm pollen increased vaginal lubrication and decreased dyspareunia. This, they said, could be due to the effect of date palm pollen on the elevation of sex hormones, such as estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone.

Phytochemical studies, date palm pollen contains such compounds as natural antioxidants (example, flavonoids and glycosides), saponin, estrone, vitamins A and E, abundant minerals (example, bromine, zinc, cadmium, manganese, and copper), and fatty acids (example, palmitic acid, stearic acid, and linoleic acid).

According to various studies, such compounds as linoleic acid, palmitic acid, and zinc could inhibit the production of nitric oxide (steroid production inhibitors). Therefore, the date palm pollen may also increase the synthesis of steroid in the sex cells by inhibiting the synthesis of nitric oxide, and consequently enhance the concentration of hormones. The compounds, such as stearic acid and palmitic acid, have an inhibitory effect on the 5α-reductase enzyme activity. The inhibition of this enzyme reduces the conversion of testosterone to dihydro-testosterone in the tissues, and ultimately increases testosterone concentrations.

Studies have shown that the present compounds, such as zinc and cadmium, enhance the production of testosterone through the biosynthesis of 17beta-Hydro-xysteroid dehydrogenases, thereby increasing the metabolism of steroids. The vitamins are essential for the health of the uterus and vagina; in this regard, if vitamins do not lubricate the organs, they will become dry and wrinkled.

Date fruit

The researchers explained: “Some vitamins, such as vitamins A and E, are used to treat menopausal disorders and vaginal atrophy. Among vitamins, vitamin E is the best vitamin playing a key role in the stability of estrogen levels, which can improve menopausal symptoms, such as vaginal dryness. The saponin affects the release of nitric acid, improves blood flow to the female’s reproductive system, and thereby attenuates the physical problems of the women.

Accordingly, the date palm pollen can also improve vaginal lubrication and reduce dyspareunia because of having antioxidant compounds and active ingredients affecting sex hormones.

“To the best of our knowledge, there are no studies evaluating the effect of date palm pollen on human sexual function for comparing their results with those of the present study. One of the limitations of the present study was the impossibility of controlling the effective factors, including psychological conditions and individual characteristics of the samples, which was largely resolved by random assignment.

“Furthermore, due to the lack of similar human studies, pharmacist consultation and the studies investigating laboratory animals were used to determine the effective and uncomplicated amount of drug and the duration of the intervention with the shortest possible time to observe the drug effect. During the study, the adverse effects were followed up using a checklist; nevertheless, no complication was reported. The triple blindness and using the control group in the research are the strengths of the present study. Further studies are recommended to examine the impact of date palm pollen on other dimensions of female sexual function and the administration of high-dose drugs.”

They further concluded: “As the findings indicated, the administration of date palm pollen capsule for 35 days could reduce dyspareunia and improve vaginal lubrication in the menopausal women without any side effects.”

Date palm pollen was purchased from the palm lands of Hormozgan Province, Iran. Starch powder was applied to prepare the placebo capsules. The date palm pollen and placebo capsules were prepared in a pharmacy laboratory of the Faculty of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran, by a pharmacist consultant with a completely similar appearance. The capsules were placed in bottles that were identical with the A and B codes. Each date palm pollen capsule contained 300 mg of date palm pollen and each placebo capsule contained 300 mg of starch.

The participants’ daily consumed one capsule for 35 days. Studies on laboratory animals were referenced to determine the dosage of the drug (300 mg) and the duration of the intervention (35 days) due to the absence of a similar study. Since the current research was three-blinded, only the pharmacist was aware of the contents of the bottles, and the researcher and the statistical analyst were unaware of their contents until the end of the statistical analysis.

During the capsule administration, the samples received a checklist for controlling the use of the drug and provided with required training for its completion. They were also requested to avoid taking herbs and phytoestrogens during the intervention. At the end of the second week, follow-up phone call was made to know the possible complications and concerns, emphasize on taking capsules, and respond to possible questions.

Also, Nigerian researchers have validated the aphrodisiac and fertility enhancing actions of Kunu aya (a beverage blend developed from Cyperus esculentus (tigernut), Phoenix dactylifera (dates) and Cocos nucifera (coconut) via testosterone-boosting, anxiolysis and inhibition of key enzymes associated with erectile process.

The study was published in the World Journal of Pharmaceutical Research.

Yet another study published in Sokoto Journal of Veterinary Sciences assessed the mating profile of male Wistar rats administered single and pooled extracts of Phoenix dactylifera and Cocos nucifera.

The researchers from the Department of Medical Laboratory Science, University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State; and Department of Medical Laboratory Science, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, wrote: “Phoenix dactylifera (dates) and Cocos nucifera (coconut) are edible and medicinal crops consumed in Africa to stimulate male sexual performances. Incidence of sexual incompetence, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and reduced libido are on the rise. Consequently, the effect of a pooled extract on mating profiles to determine the sexual performance efficiency in male Wistar rats was investigated.

“Fifty-two first filial (FI) generation in-bred healthy male Wistar rats were randomly selected and grouped into A to M (n=4) per cage. Group (A) received distilled water and served as the control, while group B, C, D and E received 250, 500, 750 and 1,000mg/kg of the date extract. Graded doses as described earlier were also administered to Group F, G, H and I (coconut milk) and J, K, l and M (mix extract) as oral single daily doses for 60 days.

“Rats adapted to the sanitized animal room condition for 14 days and adequately provided pelletized rat feed and water ad libitum. The crops were purchased from the open market and processed using maceration apparatus and spray-drying process for the date and coconut extract extractions, and were pooled in equal proportion.

“Mating profiles were assessed by monitoring the activities of each rat in a rectangular Plexiglas surveillance chamber (52 x 45 x 38 cm) on 20th, 40th and 60th days of the treatments by observing in a sound-attenuated room after introducing an equivalent number of female rats (n=52). The mating parameters either decreased or increased in a dose-dependent manner; without traces of weakness or reduced penile reflexes and a higher significance in the combination (P ≤ 0.025) than date (P ≤ 0.045) and coconut (P ≥ 0.05) extracts.”

The researchers concluded: “We conclude that P. dactylifera and C. nucifera mix has lasting potentials on mating profile in male Wistar rats.”

Nutmeg, cloves prevent premature ejaculation and low sperm count
Studies indicate that nutmeg and cloves hasten the absorption of other herbs and enhance their effect. Naturopaths claim that while increasing and maintaining sexual vigour, they have a tranquillising effect that helps to avert premature ejaculation and exert the aphrodisiac effects in small doses, while in large quantities it has hallucinogenic properties.

Nutmeg and cloves are major ingredients of some herbal aphrodisiacs. Some medications are currently being marketed to treat poor erection, impotency and premature ejaculation.

According to the advertisements for one of them, they contain “heat and energy generating herbs and fats” and increases blood circulation to the penis thus aiding erection. It also claims to be useful in men who have poor erections due to old age or over-indulgence in sex by removing the psychological aspect of impotence and creating confidence during intercourse.
Zobo offers relief in male induced infertility

A new research finding affirming the potentials of the popular Zobo drink in the prevention of drug-induced sperm damage and boosting of sperm motility.

The researchers demonstrated in animal models that extracts of Zobo, sorrel or roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) and ginger (Zingiber officinale), which are the two key ingredients for preparing the popular local drink prevent drug-induced sperm damage and boost sperm motility.

Plantain extract boosts kidney health, sexual functions in men
A meal of unripe plantain with local spices like cloves, onions, garlic and ginger could be the answer to erectile dysfunction, low sperm count, ulcer, kidney problems, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Unripe plantain cooked or roasted has been proven over the years to induce, sustain and maintain erection. It also helps to make semen thick and increases sperm volume.

Director, Pax Herbal Clinic and Research Centre Ewu, Edo State, Rev. Fr. Anslem Adodo, said: “Take more plantain or unripe bananas. They help to rejuvenate the sexual organ with high level of potassium. Include garlic in every meal. Garlic is generally a good anti oxidant and a good remedy for impotence in particular. Include ginger in every meal too. Ginger has healing properties to treat erectile dysfunction. Include onion as much as possible in all your meals. It has been taken fresh by ancient Greece to lighten the balance of blood and to firm up their muscles. Fresh green vegetables, all kinds of nuts, grains and fresh fruits, which are rich in mineral are generally good to impotence cure.”

Bananas
Bananas have long been regarded as an aphrodisiac and there is science behind their reputation. They are rich in potassium and B vitamins, both important for maintaining a healthy sex drive. Potassium maintains healthy muscle function and blood flow and the B vitamins help maintain hormone levels for a healthy libido. There is also evidence that the enzyme bromelain found in bananas and pineapples helps boost libido.

Watermelon
According to recent studies, the juicy fruit may be better suited for Valentine’s Day. That is because scientists say watermelon has ingredients that deliver Viagra-like effects to the body’s blood vessels and may even increase libido.

Beneficial ingredients in watermelon and other fruits and vegetables are known as phyto-nutrients, naturally occurring compounds that are bioactive, or able to react with the human body to trigger healthy reactions.

In watermelons, these include lycopene, beta-carotene and the rising star among its phyto-nutrients – citrulline – whose beneficial functions are now being unraveled. Among them is the ability to relax blood vessels, much like Viagra does.

Bitter kola boosts libido
Results of a study published in African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology have confirmed that bitter kola possesses sexual enhancing effects on male rats as evidenced by the increased mounting (MF) and intromission (IF) frequencies with increased number of subsequent ejaculations over the 20 minutes observation period.

Black is beautiful
Researchers have validated folklore claims that dry fruit and leaf extracts of Piper guineense, West African Black Pepper or Ashanti pepper (Uziza in Igbo and Ata iyere in Yoruba) could be used to boost sexual performance in men, treat skin discolouration, sickle cell anaemia and ensure mosquito free environment.

The leaves of Piper guineense are used for respiratory infections and for female infertility while its fruits are used as an aphrodisiac. Previous studies have shown that the aqueous extract of Piper guineense fruits at 122.5 mg/kg stimulates sexual behavior of mature male rats by decreasing mount and intromission latencies and by increasing mounting, anogenital sniffing and penile erection index.

Piper guineense has been shown to have an impact on penile erection and copulatory behaviour, which are controlled by androgens.

A study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology evaluated the effects of the dry fruits of Piper guineense on some male reproductive parameters such as the secretory activities of the testis and some accessory sexual organs, which are also controlled by androgens.

The result of the study indicated that there was a significant increase in the level of testosterone in the serum and testes, cholesterol in the testes, glucosidase in the epididymis and fructose in the seminal vesicles after eight days of treatment, while with 55 days of treatment, the levels of cholesterol in the testes increased by 75 percent, while the levels of glucosidase in the epididymis and the seminal vesicle fructose decreased by 24 and 21 percent respectively.

Alligator pepper seeds
Alligator pepper or Grains of paradise (botanically called Aframomum melegueta) has shown promise in resolving erectile dysfunction and delaying ejaculation.

A preparation from Alligator pepper has received a United States patent as a potent aphrodisiac.

It has been shown that Alligator pepper is more effective when used with Piper guineense (Uziza in Ibo)), kola nut and bitter kola. In a research, this combination was used on male rats. The results showed that this combination has an ability to “turn on” male rats.

Indeed, the patented invention relates to pharmaceutical compositions based on the use of Aframomum seeds to solve the problem of male erectile dysfunction as well as premature ejaculation in men.

A summary of the U.S. Patent 5879682 reads: “One aim of the present invention is to provide a painless therapy for male erectile dysfunction as well as for premature ejaculation in male without the drawbacks of the prior art techniques. The composition of the present invention provide a painless and safe medication to patients suffering from erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation as well as to men wishing to improve their sexual performance.”

Hot and spicy
Spicy foods such as chilli peppers are thought to be aphrodisiacs because they increase body heat and heart rate, somewhat similar to what happens in the bedroom. Chillies contain capsaicin, good for lowering high blood pressure, and are high in vitamins A and C, and bioflavinoids (all necessary nutrients for healthy cell growth).

How velvet bean, fluted pumpkin boost fertility in men, prevents sperm damage
They are two of a kind. They are climbers found in many farms and garden across the country. Fluted pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis) is a popular vegetable commonly called ugu by most Nigerians. But cowhage or velvet bean (Mucuna pruriens) is not that popular. It is called werepe in Yoruba and agbala or agboloko in Ibo. The velvet bean plant is notorious for the spiky hairs on the mature bean pods that are very irritating to the skin.

But recent studies suggest that a combination of the two herbal extracts could produce the must awaited novel drug that can improve sperm count, boost libido and sexual performance in men, protect the testicles from environmentally induced damage, lower blood sugar, act as antidote to snake bites, among other benefits.

A study published recently in the African Journal of Biotechnology suggests that aqueous extract of T. occidentalis could improve haematological parameters and sperm quality, and could be a potent hypoglycemic agent.

Nigerian researchers have demonstrated how diets rich in fluted pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis, ugu in Ibo) leaves and seeds could be used to increase haematological indices, improve sperm quality, reduce blood glucose levels, and stop cancers.

Guava leaves boost sperm output
New findings by Nigerian researchers suggest that the extracts of the leaves of Psidium guajava (guava) possess beneficial effects on sperm production and quality, and may thus improve the sperm parameters of infertile males with oligospermia and non-obstructive azoospermia.

Coffee boosts female sex drive
Scientists over at Southwestern University are interested in the female libido, among others. With the aim to decipher the chemistry and brain structures surrounding sexual motivation they gave a number of lady-rats a dose of caffeine before mating to see if it had any effect on their behaviour.

The result? They found that caffeine shortened the time it took for the females to go back for more after the first session. While one might think this could be the result of the energy boost caffeine provides, they ruled that out and rather attributed the effect to an increased stimulation of areas in the brain responsible for arousal.

It has been shown that as far as sexuality is concerned, a single cup of coffee or caffeine-containing beverage may give one more energy and stamina for sexual activity, thereby enhancing performance and overall enjoyment. When athletes drink three or four cups of coffee about an hour before they compete, they can outlast caffeine-free competitors by up to 20 minutes. This affect on athletic performance is real – so real that the International Olympic Committee has classified caffeine as a “restricted drug.”

Avocado
Loaded with potassium, avocados have been demonstrated to boost libido for both sexes. And they are reportedly rich in folic acid that provides energy and stamina – both of which are important once libido is restored.

Avocados are rich in folic acid, which has been shown to boost circulation and promote heart health. They are also very rich in good fats, which help keep hormones in balance. The fruit is also rich in Vitamin E, an antioxidant linked to enhanced sexual pleasure in women and longer-lasting erections in men.

Could Almond leaves be the next Viagra?
Recent studies have shown that diabetes and its attendant complications (erectile dysfunction/premature ejaculation, leg ulcer/gangrene, liver/ kidney failure), lung cancer and sickle cell anaemia can be addressed with extracts of Indian almond.

Nigerian and Indian researchers have regenerated the pancreas with Indian almond extracts thereby boosted blood sugar regulation, improved sexual and liver/kidney functions in diabetics.

Indian almond is botanically called Terminalia catappa and belongs to the plant family combretaceae. It is found in almost every town and village in Southern Nigeria.

Researchers have also studied the effects of Terminalia catappa seeds on sexual behaviour and fertility of male rats.

According to the study published in Asian Journal of Andrology, the kernel of T. catappa seeds has aphrodisiac activity and may be useful in the treatment of certain forms of sexual inadequacies, such as premature ejaculation. “The present findings show that seeds of T. catappa possess potent aphrodisiac activity and provides scientific evidence in favour of the claims made in Ayurvedic medicine in Sri Lanka regarding this action. The results also suggest that moderate consumption of kernel of seed of T. catappa could be useful in the treatment of men with sexual dysfunctions resulting primarily from premature ejaculation.”

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