We've all heard about the power of oysters, the rousing benefits of nibbling on dark chocolate, and the surprising advantages of creating a meal with the delectable and ever-sexy asparagus, but how many of you knew that some of the most basic herbs and spices in your kitchen have aphrodisiac benefits?

History of Aphrodisiacs

The use of aphrodisiacs dates back hundreds of years across the globe. There is evidence of their consumption in the Ebers Papyrus in Egypt, written in the Rubrics of the sacred pyramids, in the Roman Times and of course, riddled throughout Greek history.

No culture, civilized or primitive, has been without its love enhancers. The term aphrodisiac stems from Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of Love. Aphrodisiacs have the ability to arouse sexual desire, enhance sexual potency and provoke the love God and Goddess in us all. It is the nature of every human to desire intimacy and pleasure. Aphrodisiacs can help us attain this by enhancing the libido, or increasing juiciness. Some will increase blood flow to the body's sweet spots, and some simply help calm our mind so we can ease freely into intimacy. Some work immediately, while others have a cumulative action. In today's busy world of quickies and 'parent' sex, aphrodisiacs have the potential to simply help us slow down, set intentions and enjoy one of life's greatest and most natural pleasures.

My favorite Aphrodisiac herbs

Cinnamon: This herb is stimulating and warming to the senses mostly due to it's sensually stimulating aroma. Cinnamon can be used in baking for tantalizing desserts, made into a spicy tea or used as a topical stimulant to warm and arouse the clitoris. But do use topically with extreme caution and dilute well. If you happen over do it, use a carrier oil to dilute.

Damiana (Turnera Diffusa): Damiana is known for its fragrant leaves and comes to us from Central America. The Aztecs believed it to be the most powerful sexual tonic. This herb may be used in tea for a sweet lovers moment; it can also be smoked or added to food. The favorite use of this herb seems be in the Damiana Cordial Damiana activates our sexual desire and stimulates the sweet spots.

Nutmeg: Like cinnamon, this herb has been stimulating the senses for centuries. African women have been using it in aphrodisiac combinations for generations and still do today. Across the globe this aromatic beauty is used in baking, teas and in body products. Perfect to add to a libido libation.

Maca: Long used in Asian countries, Maca root has a rich history for benefiting male sexuality. It has been shown in at least one scientific study to reduce sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women and does so without inducing hormonal imbalance.

Passion Flower: While this herb has been documented for improving the sexuality of males, it also has a reputation for helping out in the female libido department. This herb works by calming the mind, relieving stress and relaxing the body so we can freely receive intimacy. Great in tea with a combination of other herbs.

Shatavari: Shatavari is the Queen of Ayurvedic medicine, used for 1000s years as e supreme tonic for women. It is in this way that it works as an aphrodisiac for women, by bringing all the symptoms of women's sexual health, through all the changes of a women's life into balance. It nourishes a women's sexual health, stimulating fertility , alleviating symptoms of menopause and regulating hormones that govern sexual health. Also a nice herb for men when combined with Ashwagandha.

Chocolate: A luscious aphrodisiac and stimulant. Love food. Chocolate is wonderful in raising the spirit and producing the feeling of love. Oxytocin!!! Perhaps this is why women crave it during their moon time. It couples excellently with rose, nutmeg, cinnamon, chili powder. Many cultures drink this special combination as a stimulating warming beverage. Perfect to share by the fireside with a lover to set the mood and promote connection.

Recipes for Love

Cleopatra's love nuggets

(A recipe by Rosemary Gladstar)

1 cup Raw Sesame Tahini

3/4 cup Raw Honey

½ teaspoon Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Cardamom, Anise

2 tablespoon Cacao

2 teaspoon Damiana Cordial

Mix ingredients and roll into balls, then coat with coconut or cacao. For lasting energy for passionate encounters.

Damiana cordial

(An age old recipe of unknown origin)

1 ounce Damiana Leaves

2 cups Brandy or Vodka

1 cup Water

1 cup Honey

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract 1 teaspoon Rose Water

(May substitute ½ ounce Yohime for male enhancer libation)

Add Damiana, brandy, water and let soak for 30 days.

Strain out leaves and add the honey, vanilla and rose.

To make a chocolate cordial, split ½ cup honey and ½ cup dark chocolate melted.

Lickable love dust

1 cup Honey Powder (order online from Mountain Rose Herbs) or 1 cup Powdered Sugar

½ cup Cacao

½ teaspoon Cinnamon, Cardamom, Nutmeg

Blend together and apply with a feather duster.

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