Written by staff Clinical Herbalist Brita LaTona
“When a wave of love takes over a human being… such an exaltation takes him that he knows he has put his finger on the pulse of the great secret and the great answer.”
– Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Have you ever smelled a rose, and for those few seconds inhaling the aroma, been overtaken by a sense of peace and calm? We are entering the month that celebrates the power of love, and just as love often consumes us, certain plants throughout history have been known to momentarily consume our senses and produce mesmerizing states of being. Since highly aromatic plants affect us physiologically and psychologically, they can also intensify feelings of love, sensuality, passion, and calm and relaxation.
The essential oils of aromatic plants have shown us something important in scientific studies. The mono or sesquiterpenes found in the volatile oils of certain plants have been shown to balance our limbic systems, bring us into the present moment, stimulate circulation and cardiovascular function, relax our nervous systems and also relax smooth muscle.
It’s also important to remember that our olfactory sense (sense of smell) is intimately connected to the Hippocampus– a region of the brain that integrates emotion and memory. When we inhale the aroma of specific plants that contain these molecules, it begins affecting us almost immediately on a physiological level. So, these beautiful little flowers and plants that smell so good, often affect us in a big way.
Incorporating highly aromatic plants into our love lives can help lower stress levels, put us “in the mood”, stimulate our senses, improve circulation, enhance libido and foster deeper feelings of love and awareness.
Consider these highly Aromatic Herbs to warm things up with your partner, or for self-care and self-love practices. They can be used topically as essential oil mixed with a carrier oil in massage oils or perfume rollers. Also, experiment with the whole herb in love elixirs, teas, tinctures, hot chocolate, and dessert recipes. Get creative!
Cacao has been used to boost libido for centuries. Cacao elixirs were the prized drink of the Aztecs, and Cacao beans were first brought to Europe by Columbus in 1502. Throughout the 1800s, chocolate was prescribed by doctors for its aphrodisiac qualities and its ability to ignite passions. Cacao is anti-oxidant, a cardiovascular tonic, a nervous system stimulant and has a wide array of nutrients and vitamins. It increases serotonin and endorphins and can give short bursts of energy when consumed in its whole, raw form. Cacao contains the compound phenylethylamine that occurs in trace amounts in the brain and is naturally released when we are in love.
The genus name ‘Vanilla’ is derived from the Latin ‘vaina’ which translates as ‘sheath’ or ‘little vagina’ in reference to the shape of the flower. The Vanilla seed pod has been used by ancient cultures for millennia. The Aztecs used Vanilla in their chocolate drinks. The aroma of Vanilla calms the senses and is gently stimulating. Vanilla can help boost low libido and arouse and excite the senses.
Cinnamon stimulates circulation, is invigorating and brings warmth and heat to the body while relaxing the nerves. Cinnamon is anti-inflammatory, astringent, tonifying and pain-relieving. It also increases healthy digestive fire, lowers cholesterol, and is great in cooking through colder winter months.
In every culture, Rose is associated with the heart and higher spiritual states of love and acceptance. Rose is astringent and tones tissue. It is a heart tonic, aphrodisiac, anti-inflammatory and relaxes the nervous system. In a spiritual sense, the Rose family holds the vibration of unconditional love and can assist one in opening their heart to deeper experiences of love.
The scent of Jasmine flowers is highly sensual and alluring. It has a sweet floral quality that is soft, gentle and healing. A certain species of Jasmine that grows in India is considered sacred to Kama, the Hindu God of Love. Jasmine relieves stress and anxiety, calms the nerves, and can also soothe headaches, insomnia, depression, and painful menstrual cramps.
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED APHRODISIAC HERBS FOR WOMEN:
Shatavari-Balances hormones, boosts libido, reduces stress, and aids in proper lubrication.
Maca– Enhances sexual desire, balances hormones, and improves fertility
Damiana– Relaxes the nervous system, and stimulates warmth and circulation to the pelvic region for women and men.
Red Clover– Balances hormones, enhances fertility, and is nourishing through nutrient stimulation.
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED APHRODISIAC HERBS FOR MEN:
Muira Puama-Boosts libido and sperm count, and increases virility and testosterone production.
Yohimbe-Increases blood flow to the pelvic region, boosts libido, and improves erectile dysfunction.
Saw Palmetto-Enhances sexual arousal, boosts libido, and aids in prostate health
Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium)- Increases sexual desire, boosts sperm count and testosterone production, and improves circulation.
‘The Wild Medicine Solution’ by Guido Mase
‘The Sexual Herbal’ by Brigitte Mars