Question: How can sisters control strong sexual desires when they are trying to get married, or have to put it on hold for whatever reason? Are there herbs or natural remedies that may assist in this?
Answer: As salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,
The Nature of the Problem
I pondered your question for some time and although I started to look into various herbs mentioned for “excessive sexuality” I was struck by the fact that all the herbs I looked at were herbs commonly used as sedatives or to decrease tension, irritability, nervousness, etc. I realized that the condition in question was not in fact a physical condition to be treated with a pill (The AMAercan way) (AMA=American Medical Association) but rather a spiritual one that will only respond to adherence to a spiritual discipline. Herbs may help—given the person’s personality / temperament/character is one of an excessive nature (think type-A personality). Allah knows well the natures of His creatures and has given the answers to all of our ills through the advice and practices of the Venerable Muhammad ibn Abdullah (salallahu alaihi wa salim).
We live in a society of constant sexual tension and stimulation. The sexual culture of movies, music, magazines, in fact all forms of media is promoted heavily with the sole intent of perversion of the innocents. You cannot take a pill to shield you from this madness. Unless one denies herself contact with these sources of sexual stimulation, the problem that we are discussing will never go away.
One’s sexual nature is a gift from Allah, however we pollute the gift by denying its rightful expression within marriage. So often marriage is put “on hold” for pursuit of other goals-school, career, the perfect mate, etc. When natural urges are denied expression then it is easier for the thoughts and actions to become perverted. That is why I say that an herb is not the answer. So what are some answers to a very serious question?
Fasting has been prescribed as a way of dampening the sexual urges. Many will say that they have tried it but it doesn’t work. One must look at the way they are fasting—was their niyyat clear and pure, did they ask Allah for the help, did they truly fast or just deny themselves food. Fasting involves so much more than not eating. Denying the nafs is the essence of fasting, especially for this issue. Denying the senses of anything stimulating is the key. Shunning the media in all its forms is the first step, not only during the fast but afterwards as well. You can’t watch Beyonce shaking her behind and not have thoughts about doing the same. You cannot listen to singers talk about what they can/will/want to do with you tonight and expect not to fantasize about someone doing the same with you. You cannot watch and ardent kiss or love scene and not become aroused to some point. That is human nature. To be successful deny yourself access to these things as much as possible.
Worship, Staying Busy, and Avoiding Stimulants
Feed the nafs or the soul? Dhikr – the remembrance of the Almighty –gives one the fortitude needed to keep the nafs in check . Contemplation on Allah’s creation provides a pivot point that focuses one on something other than what will feed the nafs. Activity, staying busy doing things for others, avoiding idle time; these are ways to deny the nafs its temptation. Nawwafal salat brings one closer to Allah and further away from the haram. This is the best time to petition for help and seek forgiveness. Avoiding anything that stimulates the nafs in any way should be avoided. For example, hot spicy foods incite the passions in most people, especially children. Stay away from those Hot Cheetoes, Hot Tamales, jalepeno chips…you get the message.
The bottom line is that the only way to overcome this problem is to provide the proper way of expression and that is marriage. Anything else is temporary at best and requires a stringent routine that most of us are unable to follow.
Now, having said all that…here are some herbs that may help but I don’t put much faith in their ability to help unless as I said earlier , the person has a personality that would benefit from some calmness.
Hops, valerian, belladonna, sage, skullcap, coriander, and wild marjoram are some herbs that I have come across. Be sure to consult someone knowledgeable in the use of herbs before using them as each herb has multiple characteristics and can be used for multiple reasons.
Hope this is helpful.