Women’s Sexual Health – An Ultimate Ayurvedic GuideDr. Surya Bhagwati
There’s no denying the importance of sex to life; after all, sexual activity is a prerequisite for the propagation and survival of every species, ours included. Unfortunately, with sexual stereotypes and hypersexual media content, we often tend to play down or overlook the importance of sexual health for human wellbeing. This is especially true for women’s sexual health. Sexuality is a vital component of women’s health, just as it is for men. While it may be a hormone-driven bodily function to ensure the perpetuation of our species, it is also a pleasurable activity that strengthens relationships and promotes mental wellbeing and overall health. Ancient Ayurveda recognized this vital role of sex and defined women’s sexual health as a state of wellbeing in which a woman is able to fully participate in and derive pleasure from sexual activity. These early Ayurvedic sages also understood the influence of various physical, social, and interpersonal relationships on a woman’s sexual health. Not surprisingly, Ayurveda gives us a wealth of information on the promotion of women’s sexual health and how to deal with common dysfunctions as and when they arise.
The Importance of Women’s Sexual Health in Ayurveda
Sushruta, the author of the earliest and most revered Ayurvedic text – Sushruta Samahita, dedicated significant attention to the preservation and promotion of sexual health in women and men. The discipline of sexual wellness within Ayurveda is known as Vajikarana and it focuses not just on enhancing fertility, but also on the rejuvenation of vitality and sexual energy. This discipline provides therapeutic guidelines to improve reproductive organ function, strengthen the reproductive tissues, and to increase the viability of eggs for conception. This was regarded as important not just for sexual function, but also to improve the quality of life and life expectancy. According to ancient Ayurvedic sources, these practices can also improve the health and vitality of your offspring.
Recognizing the complexity of female sexual health, Vajikarana therapy follows a diverse approach that involves various practices and medications. Herbal medicine, which is the basis of all treatments, focuses on various aspects of sexual health. This means that some herbs may be used as aphrodisiacs; others directly strengthen and promote health of the reproductive organs, while some work indirectly to counter other health conditions that can adversely impact sexual function such as stress or depression. Vajikarana therapy is therefore regarded as essential for anyone who is about to become sexually active or wishes to preserve and improve their sex life. Of course, in our disease oriented world, the most valuable facet of Vajikarana is in the context of treating and managing sexual dysfunctions naturally.
Ayurvedic Perspective of Sexual Dysfunctions in Women
Female sexual dysfunction can include a variety of disorders related to abnormalities in desire, low libido, poor arousal, pain during sexual activity, or absence of orgasms. Because of the complexity of a woman’s sexual response it is often hard to precisely diagnose and treat sexual dysfunction. However, we do know that the problem is pervasive, with epidemiologic studies suggesting prevalence rates as high as 55%. Arousal phase disorders and low libido are some of the most common complaints, with both being heavily influenced by mental health factors, emotional state, relationship quality, social norms and values, and environmental settings. Most of these problems are well-explained in yonivyapad. In fact, Apraharsha or Ananda abhava, which means the absence of enjoyment, most accurately describes arousal disorders. Factors that affect such disorders are described as sankalpa (imagination), dhyeya (meditation), chintya (thought), vicharya (analysis), and oohya (rationale). In addition, physical factors linked to weakened ojas and ama buildup can also give rise to diseases that affect the reproductive and sexual functions directly or indirectly.
Ayurvedic Strategies to Promote Women’s Sexual Health
Satwavajaya chikitsa, the branch of Ayurvedic medicine focused on the natural treatment of mental health disorders is regarded as vital in the treatment and management of female sexual dysfunction. This can include the use of sexual counseling, behavioral therapy, and herbal medications to lower stress levels. In addition, other Ayurvedic treatments address wider problems that don’t just have a psychological component. Detox therapies of panchakarma like virechana or purgation can help to remove ama, improve the flow or prana and strengthen ojas, which is essential for a healthy sex life. Herbal formulations called Vrishyadravyas may also be used to strengthen libido and improve arousal for a more satisfying sexual experience.
While specialized therapies would require an accurate diagnosis and recommendations from a skilled Ayurveda practitioner, polyherbal formulations that are marketed as Ayurvedic sex capsules for women typically contain a blend of herbs to address most underlying problems. These can be used as generalized treatments for female sexual dysfunction in most cases and also to promote women’s sexual health and protect against dysfunction. Some notable herbs to look for in Ayurvedic sex capsules for women include:
Gokshura or Gokhru
Researchers are still studying this herb to understand its full range of application, but some studies show that the herb can enhance libido levels, improving a woman’s sex drive and arousal. The precise mechanism of action is not understood, but it remains one of the most effective and highly recommended herbs for women’s sexual health.
It’s best known as herbal supplement for bodybuilders and men, but that’s not all that this wonderful rasayana herb is good for. It is also one of the most powerful remedies for female arousal disorders, improving libido levels within a few days of treatment. Clinical studies have revealed neuroprotective and antidepressant benefits, which can directly impact sexual function. One study showed a more direct connection, suggesting that that the adaptogenic and testosterone boosting effects of the herb can improve sexual performance in women.
One of the most highly valued herbs for women’s health in Ayurveda, shatavari is commonly used to treat female infertility and low libido. The herb may improve sexual function through anti-inflammatory effects on the sexual organs, which encourages healthy ovulation and folliculogenesis. Improvements in sexual function may also be linked to a testosterone boost and increase in nitric oxide levels.
Keep in mind that in addition to the use of herbs and Ayurvedic sex capsule for women, lifestyle and diet changes are also necessary for a lasting solution. Harmonious living with nature and the maintenance of the natural balance of energy also requires following seasonal guides and daily routine or dinacharya. Limiting exposure to toxins from processed foods, alcohol, and smoking is also vital, while yoga and meditative practices are also encouraged. In cases where sexual dysfunction is severe, it is advisable to not just rely on these general recommendations but to also consult a skilled physician.
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