Damiana (Turnera diffusa) is a relatively common flowering shrub native to the Americas from Texas on south. The oily leaves of Damiana have historically been brewed into a sweetened tea by native Americans who prized the concoction for its aphrodisiac properties. These properties have been affirmed by a series of studies on rats that noted increased sexual activity by rodents of both sexes. You dirty rats!
(image via: Crest Liquor)
Supposedly the original formulation of the popular cocktail Margarita specified a traditional Mexican liqueur made from Damiana extract. The so-called “Damiana Margarita” is said to be popular in Mexico’s Los Cabos region and Damiana Liqueur is available in the USA. Bartender, gimme a mickey and one for my Minnie.
There are 11 different species of Ginseng, most of which have long and lustrous reputations for enhancing one’s libido. Ginseng contain compounds called ginsenosides that facilitate erections in males as well as phytoestrogens that ape the effects of estrogen in females. Ginseng is available in a huge range of preparations both traditional and otherwise: read the ingredients list on your fave energy drink lately?
A landmark study by Laura L. Murphy and Tony Jer-Fu Lee at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine concluded that both the Asian and American forms of ginseng, when administered to animal subjects, indisputably enhanced visible libido and copulatory performance of said subjects. Ginseng: allowing rats to release their inner rabbit since 2002!
Aphrodisiacs? In my watermelon? It’s more likely than you think, and it’s not that bottle of Stoli you stuffed into one upside-down a week ago (though it wouldn’t hurt). Nope, the active ingredient that sows the seeds of love is Citrulline, an amino acid that is a weak nitric-acid booster that relaxes blood vessels leading to increased blood flow when you need it; WHERE you need it. Granted, you’ll have to eat a LOT of watermelon to notice any positive effects from the citrulline… which is where that upside-down bottle of Stoli comes in.
(image via: Christina Hendricks Gallery)
Research conducted by Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center in College Station, confirms citrulline’s effects as well as it’s being a prominent ingredient in watermelon – the name “Citrulline” is taken from Citrullus, the Latin word for watermelon. “Watermelon may not be as organ specific as Viagra,” explains Patil, “but it’s a great way to relax blood vessels without any drug side-effects.” Thanks Dr B, it’s been a slice.
Maca (the plant, not the “cute Beatle”) has been a staple of the Inca pharmacy for several thousand years. his root-like relative of turnips and radishes comes in red, black, cream, and purple varieties and is only found in Peru’s Andes mountains. Though prized by the Incas as a natural libido booster, maca has also been determined to increase semen volume, raise sperm counts and enhance sperm motility in healthy men.
Users attempting to boost their libidos with maca should be aware the roots contain compounds called glucosinolates, known to cause goiters if consumed in volume in combination with a low-iodine diet. Shake a little iodized salt on those maca roots, OK? If Elaine from Seinfeld was freaked out by an unexpected goiter, think of how your date will react.
Oysters are perhaps the most well-known reputed aphrodisiac but do any pearls of truth lurk beneath their rough shells? It seems so: detailed analysis of oysters has determined they’re both low in calories and rich in a host of essential nutrients. The latter include zinc, an element essential for the production of testosterone, and several “rare amino acids (D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate) that trigger increased levels of sex hormones”. Scientists also state that Spring is the time of year “the shellfish have their greatest aphrodisiac quality.” Well shucks!
The popular origin of oysters’ aphrodisiac qualities is Histoire de Ma Vie, the autobiography of lover extraordinaire Giacomo Casanova, in which the legendary womanizer bragged he often breakfasted on 50 oysters. Knowing a thing or two about love and loving, Casanova may be considered to be an authority on aphrodisiacs as well – he certainly knew how to start off the day (as well as finish it). As far as the actual aphrodisiac properties of oysters are concerned, we’ll quote George Fisher, professor of chemistry at Barry University in Miami, who stated in relation to his 2005 study of oysters that “We think this could be the first scientific evidence of some substance. Did Casanova’s 50 oysters really make him frisky? Could be!”
(image via: Metro UK)
Not everyone enjoys oysters, however, so we’ll close with a heady blend of yesterday and today joined in a steaming hot embrace: Amore del Caffe, the coffee with an aphrodisiac touch of oyster essence. De’Longhi’s sip for sinners “combines a rare Indian coffee bean with essence of oyster” and we’re OK with that… as long as it doesn’t exude the aroma of oyster. So lift your mugs, enjoy some hugs, and enjoy St Valentine’s Day blessings without using drugs. And, umm, tell ‘em Giacomo sent you.