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Aphrodisiacs! The word itself can send a tingle of anticipation

down your spine. Throughout the ages almost every culture has

used various `substances', usually herbal in origin, to put some

zip into their love lives or in an attempt to cure the impotent.

The types of preparation employed as aphrodisiacs ranged from the

useless (except perhaps for their psychological effects) to the

extremely dangerous, some being toxic enough to cause death!

However, leaving those dangers behind....


There were four main types of herbal substances used as

aphrodisiacs. The first and most dangerous was the narcotic, used

to intoxicate the user's object of desire, thereby rendering them

incapable of responding to an unwanted sexual advance. These

aren't real aphrodisiacs obviously, just a way of weakening

another person's will. These substances are extremely dangerous

in even slight doses and are now justifiably illegal in most

parts of the world.


The second type were substances that would irritate the mucous

membrane of the genitalia, hopefully producing a warm, itching

feeling similar to sexual arousal. Unfortunately, what often

happens is that the genitalia become inflamed, causing permanent

damage. The prospect of kidney problems and other unpleasant

side-effects is also high. This type of so-called aphrodisiac is

best left alone.


The next group of substances used as aphrodisiacs were herbs

that alleviated medical disorders that interfered with normal

sexual function. Any herb that helped to alleviate the symptoms

of a variety of genito-urinary tract infections, or that supplied

badly needed vitamins or minerals that were lacking in the diet,

could be considered as aphrodisiac, as they would allow a person

with previous physical problems to function normally.


An example is Ephedra nevadensis which has been used as a remedy

for kidney, bladder and urinary problems and as an aphrodisiac.

In some parts of the world Kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) is

considered to be aphrodisiac. Kelp is rich in  many vitamins and

minerals, among them iodine, necessary for the proper function of

the thyroid gland. Lack of iodine can result in excessive

physical fatigue and a lowered sex drive.


The fourth type of herbal aphrodisiac is the one that seems to

have the effect of directly increasing sexual desire and prowess,

even increasing the intensity of the sensations felt during

orgasm. After some extensive research and experimentation the two

herbs that seem to produce the best results in this regard are

Kava Kava root and Damiana leaves.


Kava Kava is obtained from the shrub Piper methysticum, which is

native to the Polynesian Islands, It has been used by the

Islanders as a religious and visionary herb and aphrodisiac for

most of their history. Since none of the active ingredients of

Kava Kava are water soluble, the natives would pre-chew the roots

and then blend this saliva/root mixture with coconut milk. The

resulting liquid was then fermented to produce a potent beverage

that was used for important rituals. The effect of the drink is

to relax spinal activity, producing an euphoric state of

relaxation but without impairing mental activity. Some subjects

also experience a tingling feeling in the genitalia, producing

all the ingredients for an interesting sexual experience.


If you would like to try this kava drink (!) mix together in a

blender; one ounce of powdered Kava Kava root, two tablespoons of

olive oil, one tablespoon of soya lecithin granules and ten

ounces of water. Blend on high for one minute. This amount will

suffice for 2-4 people.


**NOTE**Over use of Kava Kava will cause dangerous respiratory and skin



Damiana is obtained from the shrub Turnera diffusa, which is

native to the U.S. Southwest and northern Mexico. The inhabitants

of this region have used Damiana for many years as a remedy for

nervous disorders, and as a tonic and aphrodisiac. Damiana seems

to have a positive toning effect on both the nervous system and

sexual organs, especially when combined in equal parts with Saw

Palmetto berries. Some users of the combination tea (Damiana and

Saw Palmetto) report that, taken an hour or so before sexual

activity, it helps produce a more satisfactory experience. The

best results seem to be obtained when Damiana is taken in

moderation over a period of time. Using the tea mentioned above

(one cup per day for two weeks) seems to have stimulating effects

on sexual performance.                                          


My favourite Damiana recipe is a delightfully strong tasting

cordial. To produce this `Damiana liqueur' soak one ounce of

Damiana Leaves, two tablespoons of Saw Palmetto berries, two

tablespoons of Angelica root and a l/2 tablespoon of vanilla pods

in 750 ml. of whisky. After one week, strain the mixture through

a coffee filter and save the liquid. Re-soak the herbs, etc. in

750 ml. distilled water for another week and then strain this

second mixture. Heat the second mix to approximately 80C and

dissolve one cup of honey into the hot liquid. After the honey

has dissolved, remove from the heat, allow to cool somewhat and

then add it to the first (whisky) mixture.


You must then age the whole thing for at least a month! One ounce

of liqueur, taken once a day for a few weeks should produce

interesting results. Herbs usually work in a gentle fashion so

don't expect instantaneous results. Indeed, because of their

different metabolism, some people may not experience any effects

whatever, while others may find the results too potent. Use these

herbs in a respectful manner and use them in moderation,

over-indulgence or extended use may have harmful side-effects.

Most importantly, be wise, oh and by the way... enjoy yourselves!

This Article is taken from The Herbalist, newsletter of the

Canadian Herbal Research Society. COPYRIGHT June 1989. 


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