Plants: Nature’s Aphrodisiacs

Looking to spice up your love life? Why not bring a little extra something to your lovin’ with a natural aphrodisiac? – a gift from the seductive temptress Mother Nature herself! Her bounty boasts a huge array of plants, herbs, spices, fruits, nuts and veggies that have been helping fuel the fire in the bedroom since the dawn of time.

Named after Aphrodite, the lusty Goddess of luurve, aphrodisiacs are foods that increase things like blood flow, body temperature, heart rate and energy, arousing that fire in the genital region and getting you in the mood for S.E.X. Whatever your issue (low libido, stress, stamina) there’s a natural aphrodisiac available for you. To help you out, we’ve found some of the more readily available types that won’t have you forking out tons of cash or drawing raised eyebrows from bystanders at the farmer’s market. You may even be (pleasantly) surprised to find some of these already lurking in your veggie patch or the back of the pantry!

The fruit of a wild nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) tree. Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons by Jeevan Jose.
Raw cinnamon. Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons by Thiry.

When you’re planning the menu for date night
Nutmeg and cinnamon
Time to get those mix masters out people! A recent study conducted by Dr Alan Hirsch at the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Centre in Chicago found the scent that drives men wild with desire more than any other is good ol’ fashioned, pumpkin pie, with participants of the study experiencing increases in blood flow to the penile region by an average of 40% after inhaling its aroma! The pie itself is also loaded with libido inducing ingredients, especially nutmeg and cinnamon, spices commonly used as aphrodisiacs for their heat producing qualities within the body. Hailed as the first Viagra, the use of nutmeg in the ancient world was common. Romans carried a pouch of grated nutmeg to add to their wine and African women continue to consume bowls of nutmeg and porridge on their wedding mornings. More recent studies show the main element of nutmeg is myristicin – a component also found in MDMA. Consumed in high doses, nutmeg can induce hallucinations and be highly dangerous – no wonder those ancients swore by its powers! Cinnamon on the other hand was popularly used to refuel the fire post sexy time and up until the last century it was common belief that a drop of cinnamon oil rubbed onto the genitals would produce powerful sexual stimulation – phew!

Acai berry. Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons by Marajonida.

When you’re feeling like a health nut
Acai (aa-sigh-ee)
Due to its high levels of fibre, antioxidants and healthy fats, acai berries are basically rockstars in the world of superfoods and #cleaneating. Native to parts of Central and South America, the acai berry is pretty similar in shape, colour and size to a blueberry. You’re more likely to recognise these babies not by their fruit though, but from the dozens of beach-side vendors selling ludicrously expensive (yet absurdly delicious) acai bowls – layers of blended fruits, berries, yoghurt and granola – or the tanned, buff, yoga pants wearing hottie devouring a bowl between gym sessions. But there may be a more primal reason for the popularity of the acai. Studies show the super fruit is great in increasing blood circulation – the ideal supplement for erectile dysfunction, low libido and stamina. Plus, the dramatic benefits of acai to energy levels and overall health and wellbeing make you happier, healthier and more confident in all areas of your life – starting in the bedroom!

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) leaves. Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons by Thamizhpparithi Maari.

When it’s your wedding night
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), also known as cilantro in North America.
Good old coriander is a contentious beast – it’s the one that half the population sprinkles on every meal, while the other half are gagging in the corner, swearing they’ve just eaten dirty dishwater. (Side note – which side of the coriander debate you’re on has a whole lot to do with your genes. Scientists have found that most people who hate coriander share olfactory-receptor genes that are sensitive to the smell of aldehyde chemicals – found in both coriander AND soap!) But did you know this fresh herb has ancient aphrodisiac origins as well? Dating back to the beginning of mankind, coriander was used both medicinally in the treatment of ulcers and rheumatism, and also for its believed increase in fertility hormones. It was a popular ingredient in ancient Chinese love potions and inspired many great legends, such as the tale found in the Book of Arabian Nights of the childless merchant whose childlessness was cured by a concoction of coriander. A popular wedding drink at ancient Greek and Roman festivities was Hippocras, a combination of coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger and wine, which produced intoxication and supposedly induced libido and fertility. Hippocras was hugely popular and exported all across the world – its use however was banned in South America for increasing libido TOO MUCH.

Got your own wedding coming up or need an idea for a gift for a friend’s? Make your own Hippocras by combining red wine, sugar, coriander, cinnamon and ginger powder. Let stand for two hours, strain and rebottle. Keep for a couple of days before serving. Consume at own risk of libido levels exploding!

The flower of rocket or arugula (Eruca sativa). Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons by Jesse Taylor.

When you want to ramp up your reproductive potency
Rocket or arugula
Who would have thought this peppery, salad favourite could spice up both your salad and your sex life? Documented for its aphrodisiac use since the first century AD, the aptly named rocket has been proven to increase sperm activity, cure bedroom anxieties and prevent inadequate sexual performance. Plus, the rich levels of Vitamin E found in its leafy greens support sex hormone production and can block libido reducing contaminants.

Lusty fig. Image by Daniel Shipp.

When you’re feeling like getting in touch with your feminine side
Is there any fruit that inspires thoughts of sensuality and erotica like the fig? Rich in flavour and aroma, their rounded, luscious shape is indicative of the female form and the act of devouring its flesh to taste the sweet juices within deeply sexual. Its allure as a forbidden fruit of lust, sex and sin is so captivating that the fig has inspired great works of art and literature throughout the ages, including a wonderful poem by the OG horn-bag of poetry, D.H. Lawrence. I’ll leave you with a snippet to get you in the mood…

Fig by D.H. Lawrence, 1923
The proper way to eat a fig, in society,
Is to split it in four, holding it by the stump,
And open it, so that it is a glittering, rosy, moist, honied, heavy-petalled four-petalled flower.

Then you throw away the skin
Which is just like a four-sepalled calyx,
After you have taken off the blossom, with your lips.

But the vulgar way
Is just to put your mouth to the crack, and take out the flesh in one bite.

Every fruit has its secret.