“Love is something that arises from the gentleness of true intimacy, the comfort of deep support, the nourishment of open and honest communication. Love and sexual arousal begins on the unseen level of both emotional and spiritual connection. Simply sitting down, gazing into your beloved’s eyes, and ACKNOWLEDGING them is sometimes the sexiest kind of foreplay” ~ Herbalist and Healer, Asia Suler
Love, passion, and sexual expression are a healthy part of life. And yet, many women struggle with this aspect of themselves. There are so many possible reasons for this, including:
- Constant stress, physical and mental exhaustion
- Past trauma
- Poor body image
- Our role as mother and caregiver conflicts with feeling free to express ourselves sexually
- Health problems
- Medication side-effects
- Hormonal changes
- Lack of true intimacy with our partner
- Lack of self-care and not making our health a priority
A truly holistic approach to health addresses our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. We must first love ourselves and addressing our physical need for love, affection, and passion is a natural part of taking care of ourselves.
Using Herbal Aphrodisiacs
Herbs have a long history of use in addressing sexuality and fertility. But what, exactly, is an aphrodisiac?
Aphrodisiacs are any plant material (flower, seed, root, or leaf) that excites, nourishes, sustains, or elevates sexual or sensual desire.
The word itself – “Aphrodisiac” comes from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.
Many of the herbs traditionally used as aphrodisiacs have research supporting their benefits, although libido and sexual performance are naturally difficult to quantify.
Why would you want to try an herbal aphrodisiac? Herbs are deeply supportive, sometimes in unpredictable ways. Unlike pharmaceuticals, the plants have evolved and are an important part of our history and culture. Plant medicines are still very much a part of cultures throughout the world, and they offer us a chance to connect with deeper aspects of ourselves.
How do you choose the right aphrodisiac? Consider your deeper needs.
- Is your sex life lack-luster because of stress, exhaustion and overwork? Try some of the nervine herbs like Ashwagandha – they calm our nervous systems and provide a sense of deep well-being so we can relax.
- Perhaps your hormones are out of whack – balancing herbs like Maca and Shatavari can bring you into a more balanced place, opening you up to greater sensuality.
- If you are looking for more excitement and energy, try some of the stimulating herbs like the South American Lepidium meyenii.
- Maybe your heart simply isn’t in it. Try a heart healing herb like rose.
Most importantly, feel free to explore and experiment. Have fun, enjoy the herbs and the recipes. Perhaps plan a “love potion” party for you and your friends and enjoy sensual foods as you create your herbal recipes.
Remember, everyone responds differently to foods and herbs, and not all herbs work for all women. The best advice I can give you is do your research, and pay attention to the signals your body sends. You know your body better than anyone, and only you can decide if something is right for you.
Please Note: the information provided here is not intended to replace professional medical advice and care. It is simply my perspective for you to consider as you make good choices for you and your family’s health. The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and maintaining health. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and can interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care. The information provided has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not meant to diagnose any disease, nor is it intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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7 Herbal Aphrodisiacs to Explore
Damiana (Turnera diffusa)
Damiana is a great herb to start with. A sexy, stimulating herb said to increase desire and excitement. Damiana belongs to the nervine class of herbs, acting chemically on the nervous system to reduce the stress hormones (like cortisol), relieve anxiety, and release tension.
Damiana is a great aphrodisiac herb to start with. Try it as a tonic – drink a cup of tea ½ hour before “bedtime” and continue this practice for a few weeks. See if you notice any changes when you use daily.
Maca is a South American herb with many hormone-balancing benefits. Andean shepherds noticed improved fertility when their animals consumed Lepidium species, and studies show improved stamina and libido for both men and women who take supplemental Maca. It’s also great for helping balance hormones in women going through menopause (you can read about more herbs for menopause in 10 Herbs for Menopause – How to Stay Sane When Your Hormones are Making You Crazy.)
Rose (Rosa species)
Rose is a beloved medicine for the heart. Exquisite, graceful, alluring, the rose is associated with sophisticated beauty and love. But the rose is much more than an ornamental flower adored for its heady aroma. The healing medicine of the rose is extraordinary and under-appreciated, and is a wonderful addition to any love potion, for yourself, or for others. (Read more about using roses as food and medicine, and rose recipes.)
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is a tonic herb well researched for its healing benefits, especially for effects of chronic stress. In India, ashwagandha has a long history of use for improving libido and sexual function, in both men and women.
Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)
In Ayurveda, Shatavari is considered the most important herb for women and has been used for over 5,000 years. Shatavari helps to balance hormones, increase vitality, and the translation of shatavari is “having 1 hundred husbands.”
Even if you have only 1 husband, give shatavari a try and see what happens. : )
Yohimbe (Pausinystalia yohimbe)
Traditionally used in Western Africa to boost general health, athletic performance, and as an aphrodisiac. Yohimbine hydrochloride is available and approved by the FDA as a prescription treatment for impotence. However, the Yohimbe bark extract is available over the counter, and is used to treat low sex drive in women and the unwanted decrease in libido associated with many antidepressant medications.
Herbal Aphrodisiac Recipes
Click here to save or print the recipes – Herbal Aphrodisiac Recipes
- Combine all herbs in a jar to create your tea blend
- To use: 1 tablespoon blend for 8-ounces of boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes and sweeten with honey.
Chocolate Love Cordial
- 1 ounce dried damiana leaf
- 2 cups brandy
- 1 1/2 cups filtered water
- 1 cup raw honey
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons rose water (optional)
- The best chocolate sauce you can get
- Soak damiana leaves in alcohol for 1 week. Strain and reserve liquid in a clean glass bottle.
- Soak the alcohol-drenched leaves in filtered water for 2 days. Strain and reserve liquid.
- Gently warm the water extract (over very low heat) and stir in honey. Remove from heat and add the alcohol extract. Pour into clean glass jar, add the vanilla and rose water, and allow to mellow for 2-4 weeks. The flavor improves with age.
- For every 1 cup of damiana liquer that you have, add a 1/2 cup of chocolate sauce. Adjust the vanilla and rose water to your liking.
For more Herbal Aphrodisiac Recipes, I recommend the delightful book by Dianna De Luca – Botanica Erotica: Arousing Body, Mind, and Spirit