Herbal and Aromatic Aphrodisiacs
Our species evolved using scent to help us survive. We recognized what was food through scent. As a flower lures a bee, an animal emits pheromones to lure a mate to propagate our species. These hormonal emissions, the breath of desire, contain all kinds of tiny chemical constituents. They have the ability to affect us immensely. When we inhale a scent the area in the brain known as the limbic system first recognizes its chemical constituents. This area deals with emotion and memory. In fact the sense of smell is the only sense that is not first routed through the thalamus. Therefore scent affects our brain chemistry even before we recognize its presence.
Western Science has an insatiable desire to prove what ancient man knew through experience. It has been able to isolate chemical constituents present in plant material and essential oils that can have an effect us in many ways. Some chemical constituents relax the central nervous system and some modulate brain chemistry potentially evoking euphoria, while some are stimulating. This may help to explain why certain aromas have been known throughout history as aphrodisiacs.
Scent is just one method for experiencing these chemical messengers. Topical application, herbal teas, extracts, herbal wines and cordials are all ways of absorbing these plants and their wonderful effects. For example, a massage oil containing essential oils when applied infuses these tiny molecules into our blood and easily circulates through what is known as the "blood brain barrier" where they impart their effects. When ingested, these chemical constituents are also absorbed into the blood.
The following, will explore several herbs and essential oils that have
been utilized as aphrodisiacs throughout history and recipes including them.
Damiana: Turnera aphrodisiaca
and spicy in nature. Damiana increases blood flow to the pelvic region. It is
native to Mexico where it is known as an ancient Indian aphrodisiac
the nerve synapses in the sacral area of the spinal cord. It contains an indole
alkaloid, yohimbine that Western medicine recognizes as a genuine aphrodisiac.
West Africans used the herb as an erotic stimulant.
tonic, helps circulation, and has stimulant effects. It helps maintain Yin Yang
harmony in the body according to Michael Tierra.
the central nervous system and contains phenyl ethylamine which is known to
tonic herb balances energy and stimulates sexual desire.
Muira Puama: Liriosma ovata
as potency wood in its native South America. It is known to lower sexual
inhibitions and increase sensitivity to touch.
used in tea form by Navajo Indians 1-2 hours prior to intercourse. Yarrow is
known as a vulnerary, diaphoretic and a stimulant.
prescribed in homeopathy as an aphrodisiac. It was used in ancient America as an
root native to Peru where it is known for regulating sex hormones, and enhancing
South American native plant is used as a stimulant. Guaranine, one of its
chemical constituents is similar in chemical structure to caffeine. This tonic
herb is slightly narcotic and known as an aphrodisiac.
cordial is a lightly sweetened herbal tincture. They are delicious ways of
enjoying an herb's properties. Most often they are alcohol based, but can be
made non-alcoholic if one so desires. Often a cordial includes fresh or dried
herbs, and fresh or frozen fruits.
or blend fresh fruits and herbs.
dried herbs in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder.
Liquors that are 40 percent alcohol make great menstrums. Brandy, rum and vodka are all
suitable. Glycerin can be used to make a non-alcoholic menstrum that is already sweet,
eliminating the need to add honey.
parts Berries (fresh or frozen)
parts Cacao Beans
part Muira Puama
part Maca Root Powder
part Eleuthero Root powder
part Chinese Ginseng powder
Jasmine: Jasminum sambac
floral, and aphrodisiac. Contains a chemical constituent known as indol that has
a distinct animal earthiness. Middle Note
flower has long been associated with love.
Its scent is an immensely floral aphrodisiac. Jeanne Rose claims it has
profound effects on a women's genitalia when applied topically. Middle Note
warm, spicy oil promotes circulation. It is an aphrodisiac, and a stimulant. Top
from the root of a grass this oil is grounding and nourishing. It is a
circulatory stimulant yet sedative to the central nervous system. Base Note.
from the flowers of the bitter orange tree, this oil is calming to the central
nervous system and nourishes the heart. Middle Note.
antidepressant, grounding and balancing. Base Note.
narcotic and aphrodisiac. In Indonesia ylang ylang flowers are spread on the
beds of newly married couples. Middle Note
circulation and is an aphrodisiac. It is a stimulant, and promotes stamina. Top
antidepressant, euphoric, and sedative. Middle Note.
antidepressant, and sedative. Contains sesquiterpenes, which are known to be
calming to the nervous system. Base Note
distilled from the fresh rhizome. This oil is a warming and stimulating
aphrodisiac. It increases local circulation. Top Note.
An aromatic massage is an effective way at encouraging relaxation and
intimacy. The application of essential oils through the use of ”carrier"
oil imparts the oils effect into the blood stream quickly. Many chemical
constituents like terpenes, are present in the blood stream as early as 2
minutes after topical application. Most other chemicals are present in the
blood's chemistry by 20 minutes.
When adding essential oils to your carrier aromatherapists for whole body
massage use a standard dilution rate of 2.5%. This is roughly:
drops essential oil (from an eyedropper)
oz carrier (Almond, Grapeseed, etc.)
Although scent is incredibly subjective, the harmony of a mixture of
essential oils is detectable in a manner similar to the harmony that is produced
by notes in a chord musically. In fact you will encounter many references to
music when considering perfumery.
Scents are categorized as base, middle and top notes. This refers to their characteristics as well as their evaporation rate. When creating a mixture one might include top, middle, and base note oils to create a harmonious chord.
# of drops
your essential oils to a bottle one drop at a time and shake well to
Add: 1 ounce Grapeseed Oil
Mandy. Essence and Alchemy. Gibbs
Smith Publishers, 2004.
Marcel. Aromatherapy Workbook. Healing
Arts Press, 1996.
Lise. Sacred Luxuries. Cornell
Jeanine. Healing Tonics. Storey
Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.
Frog Ltd, 1999.
Christian. Plants of Love. Ten Speed
Julia. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of
Essential Oils. Element Books, 1995.
Kurt. Medical Aromatherapy. Frog Ltd,
Shutes, Jade. Masters Apprenticeship Program. East-West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies, 2007.
Tierra, Michael. The Way of Herbs. Pocket, 1998.
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