Valentine’s Day celebrates love: romantic love, of course, but also sensual and carnal love. On this festive day, why not take a look at an often overlooked aspect of plants… their use as love potions and aphrodisiacs?
Since time immemorial, plants have been used to stimulate love and lust. Consuming them is reputed to encourage romance and increase desire… and also to make someone more desirable. But is it really true? Can plants really act as aphrodisiacs?
Scientific studies are far from conclusive… but when it comes to sex, what’s happening between the ears is often more important than what’s happening between the legs, so the placebo effect of love potions and aphrodisiacs may actually play more of a role in seduction than their actual traits. A woman who uses a love potion may be so convinced it is effective that her actions finally do arouse desire in her lover; a man who serves his girlfriend an aphrodisiac meal may be better able to seduce her now that he’s convinced it’s a sure thing… because his partner may be turned on by his increased ardor.
A Very Long Tradition
Since science is undecided on the subject of aphrodisiacs and love potions, why is it that, since the dawn of time, some plants have been considered to have a stimulatory effect?
Often it is the shape or texture of the plant that counts: it may resemble a heart, a phallus, or vagina. According to the doctrine of signatures, an ancient belief that was considered the basis of medicine itself until the 19th century, God created every plant for the exclusive use of Man and left some signature – a shape, odor, color – so people would be able to recognize its usefulness.
The silver spots on the leaves of lungwort (Pulmonaria) are reminiscent of a diseased lung: surely this plant was designated by God to treat lung diseases. The red sap of the bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) would necessarily show it was useful for treating blood illness. (Note that we now know that bloodroot is toxic … but back then, it was expected that doctors would kill at least as many patients they healed.) And the unequivocally rigid form of a stalk of asparagus was surely a sign that it could treat lack of libido in men.
In other cases, the reason for the alleged effects of a plant was simply due to the discovery that it seemed to give people extra energy when consumed. All that was left to do, then, was to know where to direct that energy!
A Few Aphrodisiac Plants
Almond: Coming from a fruit that, seen from the right angle, is said to have a resemblance to the vagina, the almond has been considered a symbol of fertility since ancient times. Its aroma is particularly renowned for stimulating passion among the fairer sex. Gentlemen, give your sweetheart chocolates (see below) with almonds and it’s in the bag!
Aspargus: This is perhaps the most famous aphrodisiac plant. Its thick, straight stem gives it a phallic appearance and therefore it should be able to counter erectile problems and stimulate excitement. Apparently consuming it three days in a row does wonders for the male libido!
Avocado: The avocado plant was called the testicle tree by the Aztecs because of the suggestive shape of the fruit. That was enough to see it as a powerful aphrodisiac. Even today, the soft texture of a ripe avocado is often consid sensuous. Sharing an avocado with a potential lover could be seen as a sophisticated invitation to take action!
Banana: The banana could not be more phallic and thus it is one of the most popular traditional aphrodisiacs. In addition, it is rich in potassium and B vitamins that are necessary for the production of sex hormones.
Coffee: In small amounts, caffeine is a stimulant. However, it is a depressant if used in excess. Taking just the right amount of coffee before a night of love might therefore help performance.
Carrot: And you thought carrots was only good for the eyes! The phallic shape of the carrot has long captured the imagination and it is said to stimulate sexual capacity in men. In the Middle East, it was using to help seduction. In addition, being rich in vitamins and beta-carotene, it is very good for health in general… and for sexual performance.
Chocolate: Of course, chocolate is derived from a plant: the fruit of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao). The Aztecs called it the “food of the gods” (whence the botanical name, as Theobroma is greek for “food of the gods”). Chocolate contains chemicals known to influence brain neurotransmitters and also theobromine, a stimulant. So if your new lover offers you chocolates, perhaps he is suggesting he’d like to take it a step further?
Fig: It is said that an open fig resembles a vagina and so tradition sees the fig as a sexual stimulant. When a man opens a fig and eats in front of his love, he is committing a powerful erotic act. It goes without saying that, for a maximum effect, he should eat the fig with his fingers, looking her straight in the eye while letting some juice dribble down his chin. Talk about suggestive!
Garlic: Garlic has been considered an aphrodisiac since at least the time of the ancient Greeks, who felt that its “heat” had a stimulating effect. But be careful! That may only be true if it is consumed by both partners. Otherwise, garlic on the breath would certainly have a deleterious effect on love.
Hot Pepper: Ever since the time of the Greeks, “hot” foods have been seen as sexual stimulants. If that is the case, what could possibly be a stronger stimulant than a hot pepper, especially a ‘Moruga Scorpion’, a variety has earned a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records as the hottest pepper in the world? Spice up your Valentine’s Day with a meal that includes this painfully hot seasoning.
Mustard: Yet another plant with plenty of heat! Its burning effect is how mustard came to be seen as able to stimulate sex glands and increase desire. Do try it, but… be careful where you apply it!
Pine Nuts: They vaguely resemble testicles and that was enough for this nut to become a traditional aphrodisiac. Since medieval times pine nuts have been used to stimulate the male libido. Curiously, we now know that zinc is needed to maintain virility. Well, guess what? It turns out pine nuts are very rich in zinc.
Red Wine: The red coloration of wine recalls the reddening of the lips and cheeks of a woman in sexual arousal and furthermore, drinking wine can stimulate a similar blush. That’s why red wine has long been seen as a first-class aphrodisiac. Beware, however, that alcohol is a depressant; therefore, too much red wine can stimulate desire but reduce ability!
Strawberry: Red and heart-shaped: what more could you ask for in a love potion? At one time girls were not allowed to consume strawberries before the age of 15 for fear that it would stimulate premature romantic desires. Rich in sugar, strawberries also give energy.
Much, Much More
Obviously, the list of aphrodisiacs plants and love potions is much longer than this… but there are enough ideas here to for you do to a few tests of your own.
Have a romantic – and sensuousl! – Valentine’s Day!