Aphrodisiacs have been around since just about forever. People from every culture and every point in time have sworn by specific foods which are meant to increase libido and stamina for both men and women. Science has stepped in and given credence to some of the more popular foods celebrated as sexual enhancers, but research is still lacking for scores of other so-called aphrodisiacs. We’ve rounded up 10 of the lesser known bedroom foods to examine why they’ve been labelled an aphrodisiac and to see if their reputation is well earned.
Sweet Basil – Back in the day, the scent of basil was believed to drive men absolutely wild. The belief was so common and widespread that women dust dried, crushed leaves along their cleavage in order to entice suitors. While Basil Perfume never really caught on, there is some evidence to suggest that basil helps promote healthier circulation which, for men, means better and harder erections. The jury is still out on whether or not you can consider basil a true aphrodisiac, though.
Avocado – Originally, the avocado was seen as an aphrodisiac based on its shape. People used to refer to it as the “testicle tree” and for a long time, its connection to sexual health seemed to be no more than skin deep. Modern research, however, suggests the connection may be more than superficial. Avocados are rich in minerals, mono-unsaturated fats and vitamin B6 – all of which contribute to energy and improved cardiovascular health. They also contain a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids which help to boost mood and can increase libido.
Pine Nuts – In Medieval times, pine nuts were rumoured to increase libido but their reputation for being able to increase libido dates farther back. The physician Aelius Galenus, better known simply as Galen, came to prominence around AD 126 and his research, writings and work continues to influence Western medicine today. Galen recommended eating 100 pine nuts before going to bed to increase libido and stamina. What does medical science today have to say about it? Pine nuts are a great source of zinc so, like oysters, they do support greater testosterone production as well as maintaining dopamine levels.
Licorice … And Possibly Doughnuts
Various scents have been used to heighten levels of arousal and, when it comes to food, the results may surprise you. In ancient China licorice was thought to enhance love and lust and modern science thinks it may have something to do with the smell. A study performed by Chicago’s Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation examined how different smells affected sexual arousal. The smell of black licorice was found to increase arousal by 13 percent and, when buddied up with a Doughnut arousal was increased by a whopping 32 percent.
Figs – Figs were originally labelled as an aphrodisiac for their appearance. People believed the fig’s similarity to the shape of a vagina made it an instant aphrodisiac. Artistic license aside, figs are a powerhouse of manganese, potassium and antioxidants, making it a super food in terms of whole body health. This could definitely help give you a boost with stamina, though it’s unclear if it can increase libido.
Honey – During Medieval times people drank mead, a beverage of fermented honey, in order to boost their libido and stamina. In fact, after couples were married, they spent an entire month drinking mead – a practice referred to as “honey month” which later became the ‘Honeymoon” we know today. Honey has a number of health benefits, but it’s more likely that the alcohol in the beverage led to frisky feelings.
Chilli Peppers – The hotter the chilli, the more you’ll burn up the sheets … right? Chilli peppers have been used in a number of aphrodisiac preparations because it’s thought their fiery taste can lead to a fiery night. In reality it’s the capsaicin in hot peppers of all varieties which increases circulation and heart rate while getting you a bit sweaty. Capsaicin continues to be a popular way to increase libido but can also bring out bouts of indigestion for some people, making it gamble as far as being an aphrodisiac.