“Do aphrodisiac foods work? Which are the most potent aphrodisiac ingredients?” We decided to research the history of aphrodisiacs and how some foods can help with libido, erections, prostate health and more. According to the FDA, there is no such thing as an aphrodisiac. But ancient history tells a different story. Throughout history, various foods have been held in the highest regards as aphrodisiacs. The word aphrodisiac derives from the Greek goddess of beauty and love, Aphrodite. Here is a brief history & science of just a few , but very potent, aphrodisiac ingredients:
Cupid was known for dipping his arrows in honey before shooting them at unsuspecting lovers.
Honey is known throughout history as one of the most potent aphrodisiacs. Honey itself is made through pollination. The term honeymoon starts to make more sense! Honey also contains boran, which helps regulate testosterone and estrogen levels and provide a natural energy boost. According to www.benefits-of-honey.com, “a scientific study found that a three-ounce dose of honey significantly increased the level of nitric oxide, the chemical released in the blood during arousal.” They continue to say, “It was said that Greek physician Hippocrates, one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine, prescribed honey for sexual vigor and advocated the taking of milk and honey to induce love and ecstasy”.
The Aztecs called the avocado ahuauatl, or “testicle tree”.
The avocado has been considered an aphrodisiac food as far back in history as the ancient Aztec civilization. Perhaps it was the avocado’s pear-shaped form and delicious soft interior that first struck the fancy of Aztec lovers. Centuries later, scientists have made findings that show they were on to something! Barbara Klein, professor of food and nutrition at the University of Illinois, told the California Avocado Commission that the fruit’s high levels of vitamin E could help keep the spark alive because of its role of maintaining “youthful vigor and energy level.” According to Discovery Health, “The high-quality Vitamin E content of this super-food can boost the state of arousal and intensify orgasm.”
“….the taste of chocolate is a sensual pleasure in itself, existing in the same world as sex….” – Dr. Ruth
Chocolate is not only extremely sensual through it’s aroma, texture, and taste, but dark chocolate has been shown to cause an increase in dopamine, which creates feelings of pleasure. According to eatsomethingsexy.com, “Michael Liebowitz of the New York State Psychiatric Institute proved that the phenylethylamine (PEA) in chocolate releases the same hormone as does sexual intercourse. Although naysayers object that the amount of PEA in chocolate is too small to produce significant results, this sweet treat offers hundreds of other chemical compounds – in fact, chocolate is among the world’s most complex foods.”
“In Italy, where sweet basil is called “kiss me Nicholas,” “bacia-nicola,” it is thought to attract partners, and a pot of basil on a windowsill is meant to signal a lover.”
We included a staff-approved sexy breakfast in bed Basil Frittata recipe at the end of this blog from the aphrodisiac cookbook, Intercourses. According to Womansday.com, “The flavonoids in basil are anti-inflammatory, which combats erectile dysfunction and low libido. Lowering inflammation increases blood circulation, which aids erections.”
The Herb Society (www.herbsociety.org) explains the history of basil & love intertwining, “[Basil] has been considered an aphrodisiac by some, is associated with the pagan love goddess, Erzuli, and is used in love spells. In Italy, where sweet basil is called “kiss me Nicholas,” “bacia-nicola,” it is thought to attract [partners], and a pot of basil on a windowsill is meant to signal a lover. In Moldavian folklore, if a man accepts a sprig of basil from a woman, he will fall in love with her. As is typical for its folklore, while being linked to love and attraction, basil has also conversely been associated with chastity.”
Eating tomatoes is known to aid in sexual performance. According to the Huffington Post, “the mere scent of tomatoes has been shown to increase penile blood flow by 5%”. We found out that tomatoes can help calm pre-sex nerves, which can be especially helpful in a first-time-partner situation. Furthermore, the tomato is also known for improving muscle control, which can aid in a number of other sexy efforts, too. According to Men’s Fitness, “Studies show that the tomato component lycopene, a member of the vitamin A family, helps maintain prostate health,” says Shari Lieberman, Ph.D.
We left this for last because of its intense smell, but had to include it because of its potency and vast history of use for sexual potency and libido. While garlic isn’t necessarily the most desirable odor you might want during your romancing, when you’re both eating it, it won’t make a difference! Furthermore, according to Session Magazine, garlic is the third most powerful aphrodisiac in the world.
Garlic helps with blood circulation. According to Dr. Joerg Gruenwald of Berlin University, “A lot of men with heart disease will have impotence but not realize poor circulation and narrowing of the arteries in the groin is to blame. Garlic can help. A good flow of blood to the groin means a man should not have a problem with sex.”
Additionally, in history, “Myths tell that the priestesses that controlled the temples of Eros, Aphrodite, or Dionisio were experts in preparing love potions. It is said that the base of their power lied in garlic.
In another publishing, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (United Kingdom), Plant Culture wrote this bit of garlic history: “The ancient Indians valued the medicinal properties of garlic and thought it to be an aphrodisiac. [but…] It was also forbidden by monks who believed it to be a stimulant which aroused passions. Widows, adolescents, and those who had taken up a vow or were fasting could not eat garlic because of its stimulant quality.”
In Jewish Magic and Superstition, by Joshua Trachtenberg (1939) we are told that Jewish traditional belief held that garlic was among those things “which heat the body and awaken sexual desire.”
Aphrodisiac Breakfast in Bed Recipe: Basil Frittata from the book Intercourses
5 large eggs
3 tablespoons milk
Salt and freshly ground
black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced
shallot or onion
1⁄4 cup julienned
fresh basil leaves
1⁄4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or
2 wedges Laughing Cow Swiss cheese
2 French bread rolls
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons mayonnaise,
Handful of fresh
Preheat the broiler. Combine the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl, and whisk until well combined. Set a medium-size, oven-safe sauté pan over medium heat and add the oil. Sauté the garlic and onions for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the shallot has softened. Pour in the egg mixture and sprinkle with the basil. Stir one or two times to release the cooked egg from the pan and allow the uncooked egg to flow to the bottom. When the eggs are almost cooked, but still have a thin layer of liquid on top, sprinkle with the Parmesan and place under the broiler. (If using the soft Swiss cheese wedges, reserve for the bread.) Broil for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the frittata is puffed and the cheese has browned. Remove from the oven and turn out on a plate. Cut into wedges or slices that fit the bread.
While the frittata is cooking, grill the bread. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. Slice the rolls half lengthwise and spread with unsalted butter. Place, butter-side down, on the hot skillet and cook until warmed through and golden brown.
To assemble the sandwiches, spread with mayonnaise (or the soft Swiss cheese wedges), place the frittata on the bread, layer with a few leaves of spinach, and top with the other half of the grilled bread. Slice in half and serve immediately.
Yields 2 servings