Sexuality and Herbal Aphrodisiacs
by Gail Faith Edwards
Ancient Tantric legends say that it was the lovemaking between Lord Shiva, as the embodiment of pure consciousness, and the Goddess Shakti, the embodiment of pure energy, that resulted in the creation of the earth, moon and stars, the animals, plants, and humans. The joining of these sacred opposing forces created the entire universe.
According to the teachings of Tantra, sexual energy has tremendous healing and magical power that can transform the world, our relationships, and ourselves.
Tantra tells us that our sexuality is a sacred agent of transformation. We know from our own life experience that sexual pleasure takes us out of time, the chatter of our mind stops, and there is only the exquisite now. Science tells us that during orgasmic lovemaking between committed partners a wide range of biochemical substances are released by the brain, including endorphins and serotonin. These chemicals cause a natural high, enhance feelings of relaxation, and create a profound sense of well being. This is where true healing takes place. In this tension free, deeply relaxed state, the boundaries between you and your beloved dissolve.
Offering natural nourishment and support for the energy and creativity of eroticism, herbal aphrodisiacs can help increase, enhance, stimulate, and maintain existing physical desire, and thus nourish sexuality. All cultures and peoples of the world have used, and continue to use, aphrodisiacs.
Aphrodisiacs are defined here as plant substances that affect the mind as well as the body. Their use is documented to at least 60,000 years ago. Some aphrodisiacs gently nourish a lagging libido; others kick it into high gear. Used ethically, aphrodisiacs can be appreciated as a source of joy; plant spirits that help us celebrate our love for life. They are traditionally used in a variety of ways.
Some aphrodisiacs are consumed as teas and infusions, decoctions, syrups, tinctures, mead and other beverages. Others are eaten as spices, food, pills, and capsules. Aphrodisiacs can be burned as incense or smudge. Some are used as oils, salves, and ointments for massage and external stimulation.
Herbs and other substances that are used to enhance and nourish sexuality have been regarded as sacred throughout millennia. Use them to nourish your love life in honor of all who have used them before you! And remember that the true source of your desire comes from your love and connectedness, which provide the foundation of our sexual lives.
Proven aphrodisiacs include rose, honey, chocolate, cannabis, angelica, ginseng, opium and many culinary spices. Essential oils that stimulate sexuality include rose, sandalwood, ylang/ylang, patchouli, cinnamon, and vanilla.
A study done by the Smell and Taste Research Foundation in Chicago appears to verify what our grandmothers have been telling us all along: that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. According to its research, the two most effective scents for stimulating eroticism in males are pumpkin pie and cinnamon buns!
Life-style adjustments that will help improve your sexual performance and enjoyment include getting rid of your cigarette habit, limiting alcohol consumption, eating less meat and more plant-based foods, such as grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables, exercising daily for at least half an hour, and keeping your weight under control.
Excerpted from Traversing the Wild Terrain of Menopause; Herbal Allies for Midlife Women and Men by Gail Faith Edwards.