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Men Need Love (and Herbs), Too!

May 31, 2022 06:45AM ● By Kathleen Gould and Madalyn Johnson
A man with a boy on his shoulders.

Sitting on a bench at the local park and playground, we watched as many mothers and their children came to play. Most moms sat on benches watching their kids, sometimes going over to push a child on a swing and calling out to their children when they did something inappropriate, like throwing sand. These moms seemed very good at keeping order on the playground.
Then a lone father came into the park with his little boy and interacted with his child in a completely different way. He tossed his boy up in the air and ran around chasing him. They wrestled in the grass, ran up the slide, and laughed together. They were rather loud and very much unorganized.
This visit to the park helped us understand how different men are from women, not only physically (of course) but also emotionally, mentally and spiritually. As herbalists, we, of course, began looking at what herbs and other nutritional foods, including mushrooms, we might offer that would help them maintain radiant health as they move through the different stages of their lives.
We thought we would share some of these amazing wonders of nature as our way of saying thank you to all the beautiful fathers, brothers and husbands in our lives.
Maca, also known as Peruvian ginseng, comes from the same plant family as broccoli and radish and has been used for centuries in the Andes Mountains, where it grows in very harsh conditions. It has been called a “performance enhancer,” and for good reason. The root is the most commonly used part of this plant and contains many health benefits, starting with libido enhancement and fertility by increasing sperm formation and mobility in some men. Maca contains several essential amino acids, as well as fiber, calcium and magnesium. You can see just how important this “superfood” could be for everyone, especially men as they journey through life.
Damiana has a reputation for being an aphrodisiac, and here’s why. Damiana works well in relieving stress and anxiety related to inadequate sexual performance and may lead to greater sexual sensitivity. It is also used to slow down the digestive tract and increase absorption of the foods we eat. Damiana has also been used for mild depression, or long depression, as it is sometimes called, by increasing our well-being and overall outlook on life. Its delicious flavor is an added bonus.
Hawthorn has been used since the 1800s for a variety of heart-related imbalances, such as irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, chest pain, and hardening of the arteries. Hawthorn contains antioxidants and quercetin, as well as a host of other constituents. Antioxidants have been known to dilate blood vessels, improve blood flow, and protect your heart from damage. They also help destroy free radicals, which increase in number as we age. Environmental toxins also increase free radicals, and they are also responsible for many of our aging processes. Who wants to age? Try a tea or tincture of hawthorn leaf, flower and berry mixed with hibiscus, motherwort and damiana for a boost to heart health.
Mushrooms, medical or culinary, are a great source of nutrition for men. They are packed with zinc, and are good for fertility and sperm count. The potassium found in mushrooms aids in controlling blood pressure levels, and the niacin and copper that mushrooms contain improve the function of the central nervous system. Many mushrooms have vitamin B5, which plays an important role in the functioning of a man’s brain, boosting memory and cognitive abilities. For example, reishi mushrooms are often thought of as nature’s Xanax. Reishi’s mood-boosting compounds may help alleviate anxiety, calm depression, and encourage a good night’s sleep. Lion’s mane has been touted for its brain-boosting ability by increasing concentration and alleviating anxiousness. Chaga is another antioxidant-boosting medicine and powerful anti-inflammatory, and it may help lower cholesterol. We could go on and on about mushrooms, as their abilities are endless. A tablespoon of some powdered mushroom in your man’s coffee or smoothie in the morning just might elevate his health.
There are also so many more things we can consume that are helpful, like turmeric, which has anti-inflammatory properties; nettle root, which is good for prostate health; ashwagandha, an adaptogen that is good for overall immune function; beet root, which increases nitric oxide (always a good thing!); saw palmetto, which decreases symptoms of an enlarged prostate; pumpkin seeds, which help with an enlarged prostate due to their high content of zinc and potassium; and ginkgo, which increases blood flow and circulation.
From childhood to old age, herbs are a man’s best friend.

Madalyn Johnson (left) and Kathleen Gould (right)


Kathleen Gould, registered herbalist, and Madalyn Johnson are proprietors of SW Herb Shop and Gathering Place. Gould has been an herbalist for 30-plus years and has extensive experience in herbal medicine. For more information, call 480-694-9931, or visit or