At some point in our lives we may experience low libido and an extra boost is required to keep the passion alive. For centuries people have made use of aphrodisiacs as libido enhancers to achieve greater sexual health and functioning.
An aphrodisiac is a substance such as food, drink, drug, scent or device that can arouse or induce feelings of sexual desire. Aphrodisiacs are named after Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of sexual love and beauty. Aphrodisiacs have a powerful impact on the mind as they are thought to trigger the release of chemicals in the brain which then stimulate certain organs.
Most aphrodisiacs enhance aspects of the sensory experience such as sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing - which in turn increases sexual drive or libido, improves performance and results in greater sexual satisfaction. Some foods are thought to have aphrodisiac properties.
These include oysters, chocolate, chili, or alcohol. There are also a variety of plants and herbs which have been used for centuries in traditional medicine around the world in order to restore or enhance sexual pleasure.
Even certain situations may play a part in sexual arousal. For instance, a candlelight dinner for two with romantic music and champagne is seen as an aphrodisiac and libido enhancer because it has all the stimulants necessary to promote sexual desire.
Aphrodisiacs have even been hailed as being of great help in treating sexual dysfunction and increasing female and male libido. While aphrodisiacs may be considered by some as folklore and mythology, many claims have been made about their potential libido enhancing powers.
There a wide variety of natural aphrodisiacs and they include:
Vegetables containing androstone, such as celery. Vegetables such as asparagus, carrots, cucumbers and artichoke are suggestive of sex due to their phallic shape
Fruit such as the banana, avocado, pomegranate, fig, papaya and peach
Nuts such as gingko nuts and pine nuts
Grains such as oats
Herbs such as basil, cloves, garlic, ginger, ginseng, aniseed, nutmeg and licorice
Spices such as cardamom, chili, pepper, and asafetida
Shellfish such as oysters, caviar and shrimp
Sensual scents such as vanilla, patchouli and musk
A number of prescription drugs may enhance libido, sexual performance and organ sensation. These drugs include Viagra, Arginine and Prostaglandins. Androgens (male hormones) can be prescribed for men with low libido or poor performance.
Women with low hormone levels, particularly during menopause, can try hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to improve libido.
While these medications may increase sexual pleasure and performance, there are some negative side effects such as tremors, blurred vision, headaches and irregular heartbeats.
Many herbs are also natural aphrodisiacs and have been used for centuries as a way for increasing libido naturally and to promote sexual pleasure and arousal. These herbs are highly effective, safe to use, and nourishing for the body.
For example, Smilax ornata (Sarsaparilla) is used as a tonic for male sexual potency and virility, while Eleutherococcus senticosis (Siberian Ginseng) is an overall system toner which improves performance and stamina. In addition, Sabal serrulata is a strengthening remedy which has a stimulatory effect on sexual functioning, as well as female health.