As requested by BJSUPERMIX, who posted a comment on my blog, I decided to look into and report back on some naturally occurring aphrodisiacs. Since this is a blog about gardening (usually) I focused my research on plant-based compounds and stayed away from the rhinoceros horns and the Zimbabwe Dung Beetle stuff.
Initially I put the “sex in the garden” post on the blog as a joke to see how many readers would have their interest piqued, and let me tell you, I have been surprised at the number of people who have clicked on the link. At first I had an article in that category about froggy lovin’ with some racy photos for all the frogs reading my blog, but when BJSUPERMIX wrote in, and I decided to look into natural aphrodisciacs (as a scientific endeavor of course). Here is what I found out.
Over the course of history many different herbs and plant parts have had, let me say, “exciting” results attributed to them. Actually, there are many reports detailing the stimulating properties of several common plants including some you may not expect.
How about the ornamental bedding plant Coleus? Yep, good old Coleus. The active photochemical in Coleus is forskohlii and numerous studies have proven several beneficial effects. I bet you’ll look at it differently next time you want to root some cuttings on your windowsill. Maybe some coleus tea?
And how about chocolate? Yep chocolate too. The cacao seed pod which is the base for chocolate, contains high amounts of theobromine and phenethylamine, which increase brain serotonin levels. I guess it causes the heart to beat faster, and those “thoughts” to enter your mind.
Here are some less common naturally occurring aphrodisiacs:
- Damiana: Turnera diffusa, Turnera aphrodisiaca. A native of Mexico and the southern US and the leaves are commonly made into a tea
- Maca: Lepidium meyenii, Peruvian ginseng. The Incans first used this one, again normally made into a tea.
- Yohimbe: Pausinystalia yohimbe. This is an evergreen tree that grows naturally in several areas of western Africa. The aphrodisiacs are made of an extract of the bark. All sorts of positive benefits are attributed to Yohimbe. It is said to be useful in weight loss, treating depression, as well as revving up those love motors. There are also lots of warnings about Yohimbe so use with caution. Overdoses can be toxic.
- Ginseng-Panax: I think Ginseng is attributed with helping with just about everthing from diabetes to immune problems to erectile disfunction.
- Horny Goat Weed: (with a name like that it just has to work, right?) This is a green leafy plant from China and the Mediterranean. It will grow in the temperate climates of the US.
Regardless of how you feel about the idea of aphrodisiacs, there is no doubt that these natural herbs do have a physical effect on those who take them. Considering that many drugs used today to cure diseases and alleviate pains come from plants, it’s not surprising that some of them could be used as mood enhancers.
So my advice: enjoy the herbs, but save some of your energy for working in your vegetable garden.