I believe that most of us over the age of thirty-five have heard of Spanish Fly, as it has been long promoted as an aphrodisiac that stimulates sexual desire.  As a young adult growing up in the 1990s, Spanish Fly was popular among my age group (25-30), while raw oyster was the aphrodisiac of choice among older age groups. Although I never tried Spanish Fly, I ate my share of raw oysters. I can truthfully tell you that at no time—not during nor after consuming a mound of oysters at one sitting— did I feel the urge to have wild and passionate sex. So I questioned the aphrodisiac value of not only oysters but all food purported to increase libido.

By definition, an aphrodisiac is a substance that evokes or stimulates sexual desire. Experts say that an aphrodisiac can create sexual desire in two ways: (1) by working on the mind and by enhancing the mood through the sense of smell, and (2) by increasing blood flow to the sex organs. Contrary to popular belief, Viagra is not an aphrodisiac; even though it improves physical performance, it does not create desire.

As a Holistic Nutritionist and Herbalist, I know that there are many foods/herbs that can improve physical performance and create sexual desire. For instance, herbs like Ginger, Cardamom, Cayenne, Garlic, Damiana, Cloves, Fennel, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Horny Goat Weed, Mucuna Pruriens, and Indian and Korean ginseng are known for being warming, stimulating and having the ability to increase and balance hormone levels. They will wake up the senses and “spice up” your sex life.

Aphrodisiac herbs are circulatory stimulants that will increase blood circulation to the genitals.  These herbs are also aromatic aphrodisiacs that will engage olfactory sensations, an important part of sexual desire.

Rather than using these herbs once or just for that “special occasion,” you should use them over time and on a long-term basis. By making these aphrodisiac herbs a part of your daily culinary experience, you will awaken the body and remove stagnation that can create poor circulation.


Here is a recipe that will help you incorporate some of these warming, stimulating, and aromatic herbs into your daily diet. Enjoy!

Sexy Chai Tea Blend. This tea blend is spicy! It warms the body and arouses the mind. Drink it daily, especially during the colder months of the year. (Provided by Rosalee de la Foret)

2 tablespoons of burdock root
2 tablespoons of ginger root
2 tablespoons of dried orange peel
1 tablespoon of cinnamon chips
1 teaspoon of peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon of hulled cardamom or two crushed cardamom pods
1/4 teaspoon of cloves (about 3-5 cloves)
rose water to taste
1 and 1/2 quarts of water

Place all the ingredients in a pan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat. Cover and simmer for one hour. Strain the herbal tea. Add the rose water, milk and honey to desired taste.  You can also top off the tea with a little nutmeg and cayenne.



Tillotson,  Alan Keith, Nai-Shig Hu Tillotson and Robert Abel Jr. The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook.

New York: Kensington Publishing Corp., 2001.