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Get in the Mood

For help firing up a flagging libido, consider these all-natural aphrodisiacs recommended by Cathy Wong, N.D., author of "The Inside-Out Diet." Always talk to your doctor about herbs you're interested in taking.

Remedy: Chili Peppers
How it works: These red-hot wonders are bursting with capsaicin, a chemical that helps speed up blood flow and spur an endorphin release similar to what the body experiences when aroused.

What to do: Chili peppers can kick up your sex drive right away, so include jalapeno, cayenne, or habanero peppers whenever you need to heat things up.

Remedy: Damiana (extracted from the leaves of a shrub native to Mexico)
How it works: Certain compounds may offer libido-boosting effects much like those of progesterone, a female hormone involved in regulating sex drive.

What to do: Take 500 to 1,000 milligrams in supplement form twice daily. Damiana may decrease blood sugar and deliver low levels of cyanide-like compounds, so "it's to best to avoid high doses and stick with short-term use until we know more about damiana's safety," notes Wong.



Remedy: Dark Chocolate
How it works: Cocoa contains antioxidants shown to increase levels of nitric oxide, a chemical compound thought to promote sexual function in both men and women.

What to do: Each day, eat about an ounce of dark chocolate with at least 60 percent cocoa content. The sweet stuff may also lower your blood pressure and keep inflammation in check, according to past studies.



Remedy: Muira Puama (extracted from a Brazilian rain forest tree)
How it works: Said to stimulate production of testosterone, muira puama may also elevate your levels of mood-regulating brain chemicals such as serotonin.

What to do: Taking 1.5 grams of muira puama extract once daily should be safe in the short term. Since the supplement could increase blood pressure, consult with your doctor before using muira puama on a regular basis.

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