Herbal Aphrodisiacs: Herbs and Foods for increased Sexual Vitality and Libido
By: Erika Ochoa, Herbalist and Nutrition Counselor
A quick definition: The term 'aphrodisiac' comes from Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of love and sensuality. It is believed that there are herbs, certain foods, and drinks that can cause one to experience an increased awareness of their sensual/sexual selves.
Have you ever noticed certain foods and plants remind you of well, certain parts of the human anatomy? Take asparagus for example. Growing so tall and proud from the earth. Or an orchid flower…soft, blooming, inviting…these coincidental similarities are called "Doctrine of Signatures" in the herbal world. Simply, what the plant reminds you of with shape, color, or even scent can be used to treat the corresponding body part or body system. Example: Asparagus can be used in cases of erectile dysfunction. Like treats like.
Rousing our Senses
Through our senses (taste, touch, hearing/sound, smell/scent, sight/vision, and "6th sense"/aural-intuitive) we experience and communicate with the world around us, seen and unseen. Our senses are experienced uniquely and with vast diversity by each person. Creating sensual and safe environments are just a important as finding the right herbs and supplements to help increase your sexual/sensual experiences. Sensuality rises from our openness to express ourselves with embracing joy and sensual play. Through the use of massage, music, poetry, cooking, hugging, kissing, meditating, art, dancing, laughing, sex, singing, etc. we can further heighten our sexual experiences.
There is a multitude of herbs that are used to enhance our libido and sexual potency. Here are a few that are safe and effective. Explore, experiment, enjoy. Take note that most plants that help improve our libido contain heart-friendly compounds as well. By nourishing and toning our hearts we open ourselves up like a rose opens her petals…
Damiana (Turnera aphrodisiaca)
Used as a tincture (alcohol based extraction) or as tea, smoke or smudge Damiana is the Mother Goddess of Aphrodisiacs. Used to treat erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, improve mental and physical stamina, smooth out frigidity, and when combined with Passionflower can be useful in releasing sexual anxiety.
Suggested use: try it all out. Smoking Damiana in combination with peppermint, skullcap, rose petals can be very arousing and yet calming. Damiana is a very aromatic herb, almost perfumey, so as a tea it might be a preferred taste. In tincture form, it is highly effective and quick to your bloodstream. There is also Damiana Liqueur that is so delicious and a great gift to you loved one(s).
Ginger (Zingibir officinale)
Warming, arousing, "zing-ing" Ginger!! With it's circulation increasing capabilities, this herb can really warm you up and get you going! Try it as a topical stimulant by chewing it up and rubbing your saliva on body parts of your choosing. Ginger increases stamina and over-all physical ability. Contraindicated with those with bleeding problems such as heavy/prolonged menses.
Garlic (Allium sativum)
Not the first thing you think of when you think sexy but make it into a Garlic Honey and you've got a sexual tonic of the gods! Take whole cloves, no need to peel off skin and place into a jar of organic honey. You can add some rosemary and cinnamon to add some extra flavor and potency! Let it sit and infuse for about a week or so and then enjoy! Garlic is a cardiovascular tonic and we all know getting it on sometimes can be a real workout! And good thing! Garlic is warming and stimulating, can help balance blood sugar, and is an overall tonic; it's health benefits are endless!
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia)
INVIGORATING! STIMULATING! TASTY! Cinnamon is mildly psychotropic (meaning has an effect on the mind) and is a tasty, blood pumping spice that can be added to our lives in endless ways! Cinnamon tea is delicious and helps balance blood sugar levels. Use caution when using externally and never use cinnamon oil externally or internally without a base dilutant. Contraindicated for pregnant women in large amounts.
Combine with Nutmeg, honey, and chocolate (raw cocoa powder), mix into a paste to make a tasty after dinner treat.
Foods for Sexual Potency:
This beautiful, egg-shaped fruit is god-sent! Full of heart healthy fats, this fruit is so nourishing it improves the over-all health and performance of anybody at any age. Eaten and used in a huge variety of ways it can improve erectile dysfunction and perhaps even increase size. Acts as an internal lubricant.
A natural internal lubricant. Eaten as oatmeal, in oatmeal cookies, or made into oat-milk this food is wildly nourishing and abundantly beneficial for those with general weakness, lack of interest, low libido, and vaginal dryness.
Other foods include: Chocolate (of course! raw cocoa preferred), Mangos (tropical fruits in general), Coconut, Almonds, Salmon, foods rich in B vitamins (Oats!), Selenium (cereal grains such as Quinoa, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, etc), Manganese and overall nourishing, nutrient dense foods!
Libido is the fire-in-the-belly creative life force. When our libido is thriving we are able to live and be well with a sense of humor and well being. Vitality is creative abundance, stamina, endurance, longevity and always changing with the cycling seasons of our lives. Through optimal nourishment of our unique and precious selves we can achieve and experience sexual vitality, restored libido, and wildly creative, abundant health!