Herbs have helped heal ailments of all kinds for millennia. To help us understand them and what they do, we’ve categorized them into neat groups based on their properties: herbs for immunity, for energy, for anxiety support, and so on. In reality, however, the healing effects of botanicals and natural remedies know no bounds. They don’t follow boundaries or categories— an amazing thing about them that conventional, non-holistic medicine can’t match. Even if one supplement seems “designed” or marketed for a select list of health reasons, that doesn’t mean people without those issues can’t find their benefits or healing from that herb or formula.
This includes herbs for men and herbs for women, including those known to help reproductive health, fertility, sexual energy, and more. Do men’s herbs work for women? Can women’s herbs work for men? The answer is: absolutely. While there are benefits for women to be found in any “male herb” (and vice versa), here are some examples of men’s herbs that work for women and women’s herbs that have benefits for men.
Tongkat ali (Long jack)
Hailing from southeastern Asia, Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) is classically considered a men’s herb, but it also has female health benefits in spades.
While it naturally boosts testosterone in men, studies show it could help lower the same hormone in female anatomy, which can be very desirable for certain conditions women deal with— most notably polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition in women that can be caused by too much testosterone.
Other studies show it may have a hormone balancing effect (on all hormones— male and female) in female reproductive systems, thus pointing to it being potentially healing or hormone imbalance, menstruation, and even menopause in women as they age.
If you know anything about men’s herbs, you’ve almost definitely heard of saw palmetto (Serenoa repens). Before it became a renowned male sexual herb for prostate and more, it was renowned as a traditional herbal remedy for women’s health issues and an aphrodisiac for both men and women.
Traditional use and science show that saw palmetto can help regulate hormones and smooth over the discomfort of some menstruation symptoms in women, besides just helping men’s issues. It was also traditionally used to promote lactation (but not during pregnancy) and to have some natural breast-enlargement potential due to its phytoestrogen content.
However, since it can elevate androgens (male hormones like testosterone), it won’t benefit women with PCOS— and women are cautioned not to take it while pregnant.
He shou wu (Fallopia multiflora, also called fo-ti or tuber fleece flower) is an all-around longevity-boosting herb from Asia, known for its “age-fighting” benefits first in some circles, for its men’s energy effects second.
While the herbal supplement is often marketed to men to help soften the blow of aging (including that inevitable dip in testosterone) and is also high in zinc— an essential micronutrient and mineral for men’s health and fertility, He Shou Wu is a broad-spectrum herb for everybody. It also helps with longevity in women, boosting their immunity and balancing hormones as they age, so we all have a much easier, more comfortable rite of passage into our golden years.
This herb (scientific name Smilax officinalis, or any species in genus Smilax) conjures imagery of old western saloons, where sarsaparilla root was sold as an energy-boosting tonic for hard-working cowboys, miners, and pioneers— classically, for male energy and issues. But where do women fit in?
Men have been drawn to sarsaparilla to boost libido and sexual function. Apparently, in Asian traditional medicine practices, a Chinese species of the herb (Smilax china) is shown to be an important natural remedy for women dealing with reproductive pain and inflammation such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) endometriosis, and more.
Here we have a widely popular healing root more strongly associated with women’s health: maca, or Lepidium meyenii. Native to South America, maca root was traditionally used for female health issues, including hormone balance, menopause, and supporting stress, anxiety, and nerves around menstruation and other issues.
Science has shown that maca has incredible potential for men, too. It boosted testosterone, sexual energy, well-being, and even overall fertility in men by enhancing the health, quality, and quantity of sperm and semen. It was also observed to have some benefits to prostate issues, too.
Whether male or female, herbs have healing gifts and scientifically-proven wellness potential for just about everyone. Don’t be deterred by “Men’s Herbs” labels if you’re female or “Women’s Herbs” if you’re male— chances are there is something in it for you. Just be sure to do your research, and if you’re uncertain, talk to your doctor or other health professionals before taking any herbs for your sexual or reproductive health.