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Can Garlic Help Your Sex Drive?

Vicky Davis

Reviewed by Vicky Davis, FNP

Written by Geoffrey Whittaker

Published 06/16/2023

Wondering about garlic benefits for men’s sexual drive? You’ve come to the right place.

Raw garlic: the bane of vampires and first kisses after date night at the local Italian restaurant. This delicious allium is known for its distinct flavor and pungent aroma — especially when it’s on your breath.

Garlic has lesser-known reputations beyond horror movies and horror date scenarios. You may be here because of its reputation for boosting immunity, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing the risk of cancer, improving bone health and promoting digestive health.

Some experts even suggest that raw garlic or garlic supplements may boost your sex drive.

One clove per day might keep some health conditions away. We’re here to peel back the curtain on garlic’s myths for sexual health, discuss the benefits it may offer and explain why eating the stuff until it seeps from your pores is absolutely not the sexual strategy to go with.

We’ll also go over other solutions for dealing with erectile dysfunction (ED), low sex drive and premature ejaculation.

So grab some bread and snack away while we dive into the science together. Just breathe in the other direction, please.

Garlic has a long history both as a  culinary ingredient and as a  traditional medicine. Today, it’s available in several forms for both purposes:

  • Raw garlic is what you keep in your kitchen. The uncooked cloves of garlic that we crush, chop or mince are believed to have the most potent health benefits since they contain the highest concentration of active compounds like allicin. It’s also the smelliest option.

  • Cooked garlic has been heated or cooked by roasting, sautéing or frying. While cooking garlic can destroy some of the active compounds, such as allicin, it can also enhance the bioavailability of other beneficial compounds, like S-allyl cysteine.

  • Garlic pills are a supplemental form of garlic containing concentrated amounts of allicin, alliin and sulfur. Garlic pills are typically made from dried garlic powder or garlic oil and are available in various dosages.

  • Garlic supplements and extracts are similar to garlic pills but may also contain other ingredients, like vitamins or minerals. They often come in garlic tablets, capsules or liquids, and you might see them formulated for specific purposes, such as immune support, heart health or blood pressure management.

For the purposes of our conversation, we’ll mostly focus on raw garlic. So if you’re currently using a supplement or pill, you may need to consider the context. 

Let’s look at the benefits of raw garlic.

Sexual Benefits of Raw Garlic

The average guy is always looking for a way to increase sex drive, even if neither erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation are problems in his life. Assuming you’re packing breath mints and not planning to sweat too hard, raw garlic cloves or aged garlic extract may actually offer some tangential benefits to your ability to get and stay hard.

Garlic might provide these benefits in two ways. First, evidence shows it could effectively increase blood flow in people with higher blood pressure. But garlic is also one of the foods that boost testosterone, according to some studies and clinical trials. Let’s look at these benefits in more detail.

Blood Flow

One of the reasons garlic has been thought to enhance sex drive is its effect on blood flow. Garlic contains a compound called allicin that’s been shown to improve circulation by dilating blood vessels, which is a key part of how you get an erection.

Some research has suggested that this will even help aging men counteract the effects of their deteriorating health on erectile function. A 2014 study associated the therapeutic effects of aged garlic extract with benefits in combating erectile dysfunction in a small group of about 50 men.

Testosterone Levels

Another potential mechanism by which garlic may enhance sex drive is through its effects on testosterone levels. Testosterone is a hormone that plays a key role in sexual desire and performance, particularly in men.

Garlic has been shown to increase testosterone levels in animals, but the evidence in humans is limited. Further research and clinical trials are needed to determine whether garlic has a significant impact on testosterone levels in humans and whether this translates to improved sexual function.

Fertility

While the results are limited, at least one study ties garlic to male fertility, testicular function and higher sperm count. That said, there’s currently some conflicting information that says garlic may also impair certain functions. So if you’re looking for fertility solutions, you may want to find another seasoning and speak with a healthcare provider.

Other Health Benefits of Raw Garlic

Raw garlic has been linked to benefits for various health conditions, including everything from diabetes to fatty liver disease to certain forms of cognitive decline. Warding off cardiovascular diseases and other chronic diseases and improving blood circulation are great benefits — if they’re real.

While some of these benefits are only proven to limited degrees, there’s reason to be optimistic about lifelong garlic consumption as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet. 

Potential benefits and therapeutic effects of eating garlic include: 

  • Immune system boosts

  • Lowered blood pressure

  • Reduced cholesterol

  • Cancer-fighting properties

  • Better bone health

  • Improved digestive health

Let’s look at the studies for more.

Boosts Immunity

Garlic is rich in antioxidants and contains compounds like allicin that have been shown to have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. The antioxidant properties of the consumption of garlic have been demonstrated in a number of limited tests.

Perhaps most importantly, studies have found that consuming raw garlic can boost immune function by stimulating the production of white blood cells, which help fight off infections and chronic diseases.

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Lowers Blood Pressure

Raw garlic has been shown to have blood pressure-lowering effects. Animal studies have found that aged garlic extract can reduce systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. This blood pressure-lowering effect is thought to be due to the sulfur compounds in garlic.

Other studies have linked garlic to the management of hypertension, though ordering endless breadsticks shouldn’t be considered a primary treatment for hypertensive patients.

Other research, however, has noted that the effects of garlic and its active ingredients may also increase bleeding and reduce clotting, so be aware of those adverse effects.

Reduces Cholesterol Levels

High cholesterol? Cranking up the fresh garlic may help prevent heart disease associated with LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels. Eating raw garlic has been shown to reduce total cholesterol levels and LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) in people with high cholesterol.

The sulfur compounds in garlic have been found to inhibit the production of cholesterol in the liver, leading to a reduction in cholesterol levels.

Choose your chew

Anti-Cancer Properties

Garlic may have inhibitory effects on the formation of tumors. Some studies have found that consuming raw garlic may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including stomach and colorectal cancer.

The sulfur compounds in garlic may offer protective effects that help prevent the formation of cancer-causing substances in the body and may also have anti-tumor properties.

Promotes Digestive Health

Raw garlic has been shown to have prebiotic effects, meaning it can help promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. This can lead to improved digestion and absorption of nutrients, as well as a reduced risk of digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease.

That said, some people also find that garlic may cause upset stomach and other digestive issues, so consume it in moderation if you’re worried about garlic indigestion. 

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Raw garlic is certainly one option for men who are open to new and inventive ways to address common sexual health issues. But we really can’t give it our full recommendation because, frankly, there are just so many other options out there.

Consider the big picture, fellas:

  • YES, raw garlic has been shown to offer benefits for blood pressure and testosterone health, which could directly impact erectile function and sexual drive.

  • BUT none of the studies we found claimed that a clove a day would keep your penis saying “yay.”

  • IF you’re down to chomp on raw garlic to make magic in the bedroom, you may just be better off talking to a healthcare professional about medication.

  • AND while garlic or garlic supplements might have a place in your treatment plan, odds are your primary treatment isn’t going to be something you crush and roast for focaccia.

One final note from us: while meal-planning to increase your erectile health, you might also consider looking into medication for ED. There are various erectile dysfunction treatments backed by science, approved by the FDA and much less smelly than snacking on garlic cloves. 

Medications like sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis) and others in the ED med space aren’t available in your fresh produce aisle, but they are available as prescriptions through healthcare professionals.

If you’re really doubling down on this garlic thing, we highly recommend you check out our hard mint chewable ED meds for the benefits of medication and fresh breath — thank us later.

Hims also offers premature ejaculation treatments for men who want to build some extra stamina. If you’re struggling with the clock, check out our premature ejaculation blog to learn more.

10 Sources

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Garlic. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/garlic.
  2. Mahdavi-Roshan, M., Mirmiran, P., Arjmand, M., & Nasrollahzadeh, J. (2017). Effects of garlic on brachial endothelial function and capacity of plasma to mediate cholesterol efflux in patients with coronary artery disease. Anatolian journal of cardiology, 18(2), 116–121. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28554988/.
  3. Lawson, L. D., & Hunsaker, S. M. (2018). Allicin Bioavailability and Bioequivalence from Garlic Supplements and Garlic Foods. Nutrients, 10(7), 812. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6073756/.
  4. Ushijima, M., Takashima, M., Kunimura, K., Kodera, Y., Morihara, N., & Tamura, K. (2018). Effects of S-1-propenylcysteine, a sulfur compound in aged garlic extract, on blood pressure and peripheral circulation in spontaneously hypertensive rats. The Journal of pharmacy and pharmacology, 70(4), 559–565. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29380376/.
  5. Matsutomo T. (2020). Potential benefits of garlic and other dietary supplements for the management of hypertension. Experimental and therapeutic medicine, 19(2), 1479–1484. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6966105/.
  6. Hammami, I., & El May, M. V. (2013). Impact of garlic feeding (Allium sativum) on male fertility. Andrologia, 45(4), 217–224. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22943423/.
  7. Zarezadeh, M., Baluchnejadmojarad, T., Kiasalari, Z., Afshin-Majd, S., & Roghani, M. (2017). Garlic active constituent s-allyl cysteine protects against lipopolysaccharide-induced cognitive deficits in the rat: Possible involved mechanisms. European journal of pharmacology, 795, 13–21. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27915041/
  8. Nishimatsu, H., Kitamura, T., Yamada, D., Nomiya, A., Niimi, A., Suzuki, M., Fujimura, T., Fukuhara, H., Nakagawa, T., Enomoto, Y., Kume, H., Igawa, Y., & Homma, Y. (2014). Improvement of symptoms of aging in males by a preparation LEOPIN ROYAL containing aged garlic extract and other five of natural medicines - comparison with traditional herbal medicines (Kampo). The aging male : the official journal of the International Society for the Study of the Aging Male, 17(2), 112–116. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24844765/.
  9. Hamal, S., Cherukuri, L., Birudaraju, D., Matsumoto, S., Kinninger, A., Chaganti, B. T., Flores, F., Shaikh, K., Roy, S. K., & Budoff, M. J. (2020). Short-term impact of aged garlic extract on endothelial function in diabetes: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Experimental and therapeutic medicine, 19(2), 1485–1489. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6966134/.
  10. Rana, M. M., Shiozawa, K., Mukai, K., Takayanagi, K., Eguchi, K., Sultana, H., Ohsaki, Y., Komai, M., & Shirakawa, H. (2021). S-allyl Cysteine Enhances Testosterone Production in Mice and Mouse Testis-Derived I-10 Cells. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 26(6), 1697. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8003081/.
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Vicky Davis, FNP

Dr. Vicky Davis is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with over 20 years of experience in clinical practice, leadership and education. 

Dr. Davis' expertise include direct patient care and many years working in clinical research to bring evidence-based care to patients and their families. 

She is a Florida native who obtained her master’s degree from the University of Florida and completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2020 from Chamberlain College of Nursing

She is also an active member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

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