Eating Ginger Has A Little-Known Effect On Your Sex Life

Among the most widely-consumed dietary condiments globally (via Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects), ginger may have the potential to spice things up in the bedroom as well as in the kitchen. The medicinal herb has been used throughout history to treat everything from arthritis to seasonal colds, nausea, migraines, high blood pressure, and more. With its mildly sweet flavor, ginger also has a little kick to it. Whether fresh, dried, candied, pickled, or in powder form, ginger continues to be praised for its purported anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. So how does this connect to our sex life?

In a 2022 study published in Sexologies, researchers gathered questionnaire data from nearly 200 women of reproductive age in Iran regarding sexual functioning and sexual quality of life. For four weeks, women received either a 250-milligram ginger supplement four times daily or four placebo capsules of the same quantity. At the end of the study, significant improvements in sexual functioning and sexual quality of life were reported among the ginger-consumption group compared to scores reported before the study began. Significant improvements in sexual quality of life were also reported among the ginger supplementation group in comparison to those who received placebo capsules.

Ginger may boost sexual arousal and circulation

Recent research has also taken a look at whether ginger consumption affects a person's sexual arousal and sexual functioning, particularly in the face of known hindrances to arousal, such as feelings of disgust. In a 2024 study published in the Journal of Sex Research, 247 participants received either an oral ginger supplement or a placebo pill. The researchers also analyzed participant responses of disgust to either sexual body fluids or neutral fluids. Questionnaire data revealed a correlation between sexual body fluids and increased feelings of disgust, which was found to reduce sexual arousal in women. Ginger supplementation was found to neutralize disgust's effect on sexual arousal, however. Furthermore, increases in sexual arousal were also reported in both men and women who had consumed ginger and had been exposed to neutral fluids.

A 2023 research article published in Sexes explored possible explanations for this relationship. While further study is still needed, the researchers outlined how ginger may boost testosterone, a hormone associated with sexual desire. Alternatively, ginger is thought to potentially act as a serotonin receptor antagonist. Some research has drawn connections between serotonin and sexual inhibition. Serotonin antagonists, however, suppress serotonin release (via Medical News Today), which in turn may heighten sexual arousal and behavior. Finally, ginger may also boost nitric oxide production, which may increase blood flow in the testes and penis.

Tips for adding ginger to your diet to boost your sex life

While the majority of these studies used ginger supplements in their research, experts at Formen Health explain that there are many ways we can incorporate ginger into our diet to potentially benefit our sexual health. This includes blending the herb into a fruit smoothie, snacking on candied ginger, or adding ground ginger to any number of soups, desserts, or a hearty broccoli and chicken stir-fry, for example. Drinking ginger tea can also benefit the body. You can DIY your own ginger tea by peeling and cutting 1 to 2 inches of fresh ginger before letting it simmer in 2 cups of hot water for approximately 15 minutes. Strain the water into your favorite mug and drop in a dab of honey for added flavor.

While ginger may have health benefits to offer when it comes to our libido, the research isn't definitive, and there are health risks to consider. UCLA Health states that ginger intake should be restricted to no more than 3 or 4 grams daily. Exceeding 6 grams daily may prompt gastrointestinal distress. Furthermore, pregnant people should first check with their doctor before making ginger or ginger supplements a regular part of their diet.