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Ryan Myers
Ryan Myers

Z E S T R A !!LINK!!

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Studies suggest that borage and evening primrose oils are rich in gamma-linolenic acid that is metabolized to prostaglandin E1 in the skin (2). This process is known to increase blood flow and nerve conduction. Osthole, a compound present in Angelica root extract was found to increase the levels of cGMP and cAMP (3). C. forskohlii extract contains forskolin, coleonol, and related diterpenes that are known to stimulate adenylate cyclase (4).

Zestra is an arousal gel for women that claims to increase sexual pleasure. It contains borage seed oil, evening primrose oil, angelica root extract, Coleus forskohlii extract, ascorbyl palmitate, and dl-alpha tocopherol.[1] The gel is intended to be applied topically to the outside of the female genitalia. After about five minutes, the woman experiences a "pleasant, tingly and/or warming sensation" that lasts for up to 45 minutes. Innovus Pharma, maker of the product, calls this feeling the "Zestra Rush".[2]

While claims of aphrodisiac properties are common to many substances, the effectiveness of Zestra is supported by two clinical trials. However, both studies included subjects with various sexual disorders, making the product's efficiency on healthy women less well established.[3][4]

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Zestra for Women is a botanical feminine massage oil formulated to enhance female sexual pleasure and arousal when applied to the vulva. We conducted this randomized, double-blinded, crossover study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Zestra for Women compared to placebo oil in 10 women with and 10 women without female sexual arousal disorder (FSAD) in conditions of home use in conjunction with sexual activities. Subjects were screened by physical examination, sex therapist interviews, and questionnaires. We randomized qualified subjects to treatment paths and gave them 5 doses of test article and diaries to use at home. At Visit 2, we assessed them by questionnaires and gave them 5 doses of crossover test article and diaries to use at home. At the final visit, we assessed them with questionnaires. We assessed safety by adverse event reports and primary efficacy by responses to a diary question regarding satisfaction with arousal. Secondary efficacy instruments included remaining diary questions, recall-based questionnaires, global assessment questions, and a consumer-testing questionnaire. All 20 subjects completed the study. Three subjects reported single incidences of mild genital burning sensations lasting 5-30 min after use of Zestra for Women. Both normal and FSAD women showed statistically significant improvements, relative to placebo, in level of arousal, level of desire, satisfaction with arousal, genital sensation, ability to have orgasms, and sexual pleasure. Although FSAD women showed greater magnitude of response, the presence of FSAD had no effect on response rates. Zestra for Women was just as effective in women using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants as in women not using antidepressants. Zestra for Women improved sexual function in normal and FSAD women under conditions of home use.

Over 256 women, age 21 to 65, with acquired mixed female sexual disorders participated in a 16-week randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study of Zestra, a topical botanical preparation. Routine outcome instruments measured efficacy and safety. Zestra was well tolerated. The only significant safety finding was mild-to-moderate genital burning seen only in Zestra-treated subjects (14.6%). Zestra provided significant desire, arousal, and treatment satisfaction benefits for a broadly generalized group of women with sexual difficulties.

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Jan. 30, 2003 -- For millions of women with sexual arousal problems, the mind is willing but the body just doesn't respond. Arousal disorder is one of the most common forms of female sexual dysfunction, and there are literally hundreds of over-the-counter products claiming to fix the problem. But there has been almost no scientific proof that any of them worked until now.

A small study, reported in the January issue of the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, found the botanical massage oil Zestra to be much more effective than a placebo oil for enhancing sexual arousal when applied to the genitalia. The manufacturer-funded research included just 20 women, but one of the nation's top sex therapists says she is impressed by it.

"The fact that this was found effective in comparison [with] a placebo sets it apart from the other herbal products out there," Laura Berman, PhD, tells WebMD. "These herbal products aren't regulated by the FDA, so they didn't have to do this study."

Berman, who runs the Berman Center in Chicago and makes frequent television appearances to talk about sexual problems in women, says many of her patients have used the product with mixed results.

The study assessed Zestra's effectiveness in 10 women with female sexual arousal disorder (FSAD) and 10 women without the disorder by surveying them about their sexual satisfaction before and after its use. The researchers looked at changes perceived in the level of arousal, desire, satisfaction with arousal, genital sensation, and ability to have an orgasm. Each woman used Zestra five times and the placebo oil five times, but neither they nor the research team knew which oil they were using until the test was completed.

Women with FSAD reported satisfaction with sexual arousal less than one-third of the time while using the placebo oil, but 85% of the time with Zestra. Women without FSAD reported satisfaction with arousal 73% of the time with the placebo oil and 95% of the time while using Zestra.

"The magnitude of the change that we saw was every bit as dramatic as what was seen in the studies of Viagra for men," lead researcher David M. Ferguson, MD, PhD, tells WebMD. Ferguson works as an independent consultant helping manufacturers test their products.

Results from the small study offer early evidence that Zestra may be effective in one of the largest groups of women who commonly experience problems with arousal -- those taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants. More than 40 million women take SSRIs and as many as 60% report some sexual side effects.

Pharmacist Martin Crosby developed Zestra and now runs QualiLife Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures it. He tells WebMD the botanical ingredients in the massage oil -- which includes borage seed oil, evening primrose oil, angelica extract, and coleus extract -- were chosen because they have properties similar to a pharmaceutical treatment for severe erectile dysfunction.

The New Jersey pharmaceutical company NexMed Inc. is taking a similar approach in its treatment for female sexual arousal problems. It has developed a topical cream based on the drug known as prostaglandin instead of herbal alternatives. The company has obtained a patent for the cream, but FDA approval is not expected for several years.

Psychologist Leonore Tiefer, PhD, says it is unlikely that an oil, cream, or even drug will be developed that will be as effective in women as Viagra has been in men, because sexual problems in women tend to be more complex. She is also critical of QualiLife for marketing its over-the-counter product directly to physicians. The company offers the product to medical professionals at a discount. 041b061a72


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