Lube 101 Definitions


An herb commonly used in sexual health supplements. It is derived from the bark of the catuaba tree, which is indigenous to Brazil.

In traditional medicine, catuaba is used to treat a range of conditions, including low libido (sex drive). It is said to provide an energizing effect.

Currently, there is no clinical evidence proving or disproving catuaba’s effectiveness as an aphrodisiac. It is considered safe. However, people with medical conditions should check with their physicians before using any health supplements.


A flowering plant notable for its role in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The flowers, seeds, and stem are said to have a libido-boosting effect, and cnidium is commonly used in sexual enhancement supplements. Some users also claim that cnidium boosts testosterone and energy levels.

Currently, there is no clinical evidence for any of cnidium’s purported medicinal uses. However, according to a study published in the March 2009 edition of Food and Chemical Toxicology, cnidium may have antioxidant effects. It appears to be a safe ingredient in supplement formulas.


A type of fungus commonly used in health supplements. Manufacturers often claim that cordyceps can improve immune system functionality and sexual performance. There is no evidence showing these effects in a clinical setting, although some studies suggest that cordyceps may positively affect oxygen absorption.

Because cordyceps may have an effect on the immune system, people with immune disorders should consult their physicians before taking supplements with this ingredient.

Calamine Powder

A powdery compound containing zinc oxide and either zinc carbonate or ferric oxide. It is commonly used in skin care products to relieve symptoms caused by poison ivy, poison oak, mosquito bites, sunburns, diaper rash, and various other irritants.

Calamine powder can have a soothing effect on dry, damaged, or inflamed skin. It may also prevent infections in some circumstances, and it is safe for regular use. While allergies are rare, they can be serious; immediately seek medical help if you notice swelling, pain, or other symptoms after applying calamine.

Cooling Lubricant

Any lubricant that causes pleasurable cooling or tingling sensations. Cooling lubes can enhance sex by stimulating sensitive tissues. Some users also claim that these lubes allow for longer-lasting sex, as the cooling ingredients can have a mild desensitizing effect on the penis.

Cooling lubricant formulas vary greatly from one product to the next; some common ingredients include menthol and peppermint oil. Some cooling lubes use the same active ingredients as warming lubricants, but in different concentrations.

While cooling lubricants are safe, they may cause irritation for some users.


A flowering plant commonly used as a folk remedy for various inflammatory conditions. Chamomile may have an antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, and it is sometimes used in lubricants for these reasons. It may support healthy skin, and it is thought to have a soothing effect on muscles and other tissues.

While chamomile is generally safe, it can cause uterine contractions. Pregnant women should not use products with this ingredient. Chamomile allergies are rare, but people who are allergic to ragweed often avoid chamomile to avoid a possible reaction. Other possible side effects include drowsiness and upset stomach.


Usually refers to the fruit of the cacao tree. Cacao is commonly used to make chocolate.

Some lubricants use cacao as a natural aphrodisiac. Cacao may also have a positive effect on skin health, and its high caffeine concentration can act as a mood enhancer. It has a pleasant aroma and is safe for most people.

In large concentrations, cacao can cause irritation, but this is rare in commercial lubricant preparations. Likewise, pure cacao contains a high level of caffeine, but lubricants use a fairly limited amount of the substance.


A plant commonly used in South Asia for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Cardamom is a member of the ginger family, and it is one of the world’s most expensive spices.

Some lubricants use the essential oil of cardamom as an anti-inflammatory. It should not be used by people with gallstones, but in general, cardamom is very safe when applied to the skin or when taken internally. As is the case with any spice, it can cause an allergic reaction in some users.





Polyurethane Condoms

Male condoms made from a type of plastic. They are an excellent choice for people with latex allergies, as they provide similar protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Polyurethane condoms are also an effective form of contraception, although scientific studies have shown contrasting results when directly comparing polyurethane to latex.

Polyurethane is generally thought to be the stronger of the two options, and the relative strength of the material allows for a thinner condom design. This allows for a more pleasurable experience for many users. However, polyurethane condoms are generally more expensive than latex condoms.

You can safely use oil, water, or silicone-based lubricants with polyurethane condoms.

Lube 101 Definitions