A pharmacist's look at the supermarket and beyond

Month: December 2014

Foods for Sexual Health: U to Z

It is next to impossible to find a food that starts with the letter U. Sure there are thing that have descriptors that start with U, but no good food name that is in the English language. I will just say how much fun edible underwear can be. Well, once, as a novelty, is all I can truly vouch for.

The scent and taste of vanilla is pleasing to most of us and its folklore adds to its reputation as inspiration for sexual frolicking. It seems that the daughter of a Mexican fertility goddess lusted after a human youth but was unable to consummate her love but her divinity prevented any intimacy. It is said that she transformed herself into a vanilla plant in order to provide him with some sort of pleasure and happiness. I wonder how long that relationship lasted? The Aztec ruler, Montezuma, enjoyed a drink called xocolatl, a beverage that combined chocolate, vanilla, and honey, all three of which have a sexy history. Here’s another aromatic food that helps elicit memories.

Megan Fox reportedly drinks a couple tablespoonfuls of apple cider vinegar in water every morning. vinegar Vinegar is a good source of some important minerals and electrolytes and helps the body maintain its pH balance. Although there is no direct sexual effect, can you find any reason to not want a body as healthy as Megan’s appears to be?

New research is showing that watermelon is pretty sexy. It’s high in citrulline which the body converts to arginine, an amino acid that boosts nitric oxide to relax blood vessels similarly to Viagra but not as well targeted. It takes a lot of watermelon to have any effect, about six cups or more. It might be fun to have a naked seed spitting fight and let the juice run all over your bodies. The clean-up could be more fun!

Whipped cream is a classic sexual food.whipped cream It’s available in convenient spray cans and a lover presented wearing only whipped cream can be explored and uncovered in extremely stimulating ways.

Let’s continue with a nice glass of wine, shall we? Good wine, in moderation, is a delight to the senses and tends to lessen inhibitions. Wine drinking from navels is a favorite of some of the more notable sexual adventurers in history and literature. See grapes.

If you have been following this blog, you will recall that yams provide the precursors for modern contraceptive hormones. In fact, wild yams have been used for centuries in South America for their contraceptive properties. Ayurvedic healers use various extracts of the wild yam to treat impotence and infertility. The trick is in the extraction.

I’ll refer you back to the probiotic blog article for information of the benefits of yogurt for vaginal health.

IMG_0251For the sake of the letter Z, I will mention zucchini, although it is just another squash, healthful, for sure, but other that the occasional suggestive curves and shapes, of no particular use in boosting libido or performance.

I hope that you enjoyed this look at sexy foods and have a chance to try some in the kitchen or in the bedroom. Have some fun, don’t overindulge, and always be considerate. Remember the two sexiest things that you have available: your brain and a healthy body. Spend some time in the produce department and eat more foods that are not processed to the point of a bunch of chemicals disguised to look like food. Get some exercise and live a balanced life. Talk to your lover, communication is intercourse! Relax and enjoy your senses. I’ll end with the words of the Reverend David Wilkerson, “Love is not something you feel. Love is something you do.”

Foods for Sexual Health: R S T

The radish is a peppery root that has a history as an aphrodisiac. radishes The radishes you get in the supermarket are much rounder than the ancient root which had a distinct phallic shape. Egyptian pharaohs, early Roman philosophers, and tantric Hindus all believed the radish would provide stronger, more durable erections. The seeds, in particular, were thought to be quite potent in this regard. The Japanese simply eat radishes doused in honey. The 12th century Hebrew philosopher, Maimonides suggested a penis rub containing oils from carrots, radishes and mustard. These oils were mixed with live ants and left in the sun for 4 days, so I suggest you proceed with extreme caution before you try this at home. Radishes are very healthy, with plenty of fiber and are reported to help detoxify the body and protect from certain cancers, especially colorectal cancer.

Both raspberries and strawberries (and of course Barry White) are all mentioned favorably in a variety of erotic literature. There are many references to these “fruit nipples” being used as erotic toys. They are soft, sweet, juicy, and very edible and may be applied to the body with tenderness or vigor as the occasion demands. Some picked raspberries fit quite nicely over an erect nipple. You’re on your own after that!

“How’s your rhubarb comin’ up, mate?” is an English expression much like, “How’s it hanging?” that refers to the penis in question. If you’ve seen slender stalks of rhubarb, you might wonder if the Brits have a girth deficit in that area. The Italians mix rhubarb with cinnamon, ginger and vanilla for a sexy tonic to enhance spring fever. I’ve had my share of rhubarb and did not find any noticeable stimulation.

By now you should know that roe (caviar), scallops, shrimp and other seafood, when properly prepared, can be sexy as Hell and are loaded with nutrients like zinc that are important for sexual health.

We have a large rosemary bush growing in front of our house. rosemaryThe love of rosemary goes way back and is associated with Aphrodite and was mentioned as a memory booster by Shakespeare. It is very fragrant and since smells are strongly associated with memories, a whiff of rosemary may help imprint that incredible love-making session and stir the passions anew when smelling that scent again. rosemary on pillowA few drops of rosemary oil in the bath or, as I tried, a light rub down with freshly gathered sprigs, increases dermal circulation and leaves the skin all pink and tingly – and smelling like rosemary, of course. Some folks recommend rosemary tea to calm the nerves. Others report teasingly striking or spanking their lover with a rosemary bough. Fun stuff!

Cleopatra allegedly added saffron to her bath when she expected to get laid. The erotic properties of saffron have been talked about since the bronze age, providing plenty of placebo power. Derived from the crocus flower, the carotenoid, crocin, is thought to be the active agent. Check this out: A study published in Phytomedicine in 2008 found definite sexual properties in saffron when an extract was infused into the bellies of rats! They studied Mounting Frequency (MF), Intromission Frequency (IF), Erection Frequency (EF), Mount Latency (ML), Intromission Latency (IL) and Ejaculation Latency (EL). They found increased MF, IF and EF behaviors and reduced EL, IL and ML parameters. So the rats had more erections and hopped on board quicker but got off quicker. That does not sound like a great aphrodisiac unless you are into quickies. Even more surprising was that the study was done in Iran!

Somebody had to ask about tacos, of course. A while back we had a restaurant in nearby Scottsdale called the Pink Taco. There was quite a stir about naming an eatery after a slang term for a certain part of the female anatomy. If you do not know which part, you should not be reading this blog. In fact, get off the internet, now! Anyway, the place opened to much fanfare, had a torrid but brief run and finally closed down. Perhaps the food was not as good as the real thing. Maybe they put saffron in the tacos. Reportedly, at the height of the Arizona Pink Taco frenzy the PT owner put in a bid for naming rights on the stadium in Glendale where the football Cardinals play. Most considered it a joke bid. I guess there a still a couple open in LA.

When tomatoes were first brought to the Old World from the New World they were thought to be the infamous “forbidden fruit” of the Garden of Eden. Some folks called them “love apples” and “apples of paradise.” tomatoes In 19th century Europe, the Catholic church judged the tomato to be an immoral fruit despite the Italians’ fondness for these “poma amoris” and the French love of the “pomme d’amour” They are juicy, tasty and healthful to eat. How you use them is only limited by your imagination.

The Greeks and the Romans both considered truffles to be aphrodisiacal. These underground fungi and tracked down by trained dogs and sows. Most species release pheromones, some of which have been documented to illicit mating behaviors in pigs. They do provide a healthy dose of glutamic acid, which is an important excitatory neurotransmitter. But is it truly an aphrodisiac? Consider this quote from Tanith Tyrr, the Bay Gourmet, “But then again, a fine dinner by candlelight, the sweet shaving of white truffles over a perfectly creamy risotto, a tender, blood-rare filet wrapped with wild boar bacon and drenched in black truffle cream, a glass of magnificent Bordeaux, and surely the atmosphere of romance might well accomplish what the chemical alone cannot. Even if the truffle has no aphrodisiacal properties in and of itself, it is still a dish for lovers.”

Foods for Sexual Health: O P Q

Your typical green olive is about 4 calories and about 40mg of sodium, so that’s pretty salty and should be consumed sparingly. Olive oil, on the other hand, is a better source of all the great antioxidants found in olives: carotenoids, oleic acid, tocopherols (vitamin E), good fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6,and more. For this reason olive oil has been used for centuries to maintain soft, sexy skin, even helping to protect the skin from the damaging UVB solar radiation. For best results use cold-processed, virgin oil in a dark, light-blocking, bottle. Virgin oil has more oleic acid which helps create that soft, sensual feel.

onionsMost folks with love-making on their mind avoid onions, but The Perfumed Garden, an ancient Arabic guide to sex, tells of a busy guy who stayed erect for 30 days by eating onions daily, even during the acts! I am skeptical. Remember to call your doctor if you have an erection that lasts more than four hours! You can call your friends while you are on the way to the emergency room!

Like most citrus, oranges are loaded with vitamin C and flavonoids which are essential for healthy blood vessels, right down to those tiny capillaries that are so critical to erectile tissue, the flush of a blush, and the warmth of a cuddle. If you watch the video, you will see how ancient cultures would make use of an orange for contraceptive purposes. Thankfully, we have much better options today.

Oysters have been around since Neolithic times and were one of man’s first aphrodisiacs. When Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, sprang forth from the sea on an oyster shell and promptly gave birth to Eros, the word “aphrodisiac” was born, not to mention “erotic.” It is said that Casanova began his dinner by downing a dozen oysters. Roman emperors eagerly paid for oysters with gold. In fact, oysters were one of the first commodities “worth their weight in gold.” These sexy bivalves are rich in minerals, especially zinc, and have a sensual texture sliding down your throat. Perhaps part of the allure comes from the old adage “If you can get a woman to eat a raw oyster, you can get her to do anything!” Six oysters provide about 50 calories, so it is a low-cal treat.

The Mayans called the papaya tree the “Tree of Life” for good reason. The fruit, leaves, seeds and sap of the papaya tree has been used for a variety of medical uses throughout the centuries past. papayaOn the Indian sub-continent papaya is used as and aid to contraception. Quite often, Indian folk medicine will advise women with a worrisome missed period to eat an unripe papaya or drink a concoction made from papaya seeds, peppercorns and coffee, in hopes of avoiding pregnancy. In that society, and in other cultures as well, many believe that papayas may cause miscarriages and fetal deformities. These same folks also use papaya seeds as a male contraceptive. In one study on rats given papaya seeds, sperm was rendered “ineffective” and there was no measurable decrease in testosterone levels. Research continues for a possible male birth control pill.

Paprika is just powder made from dried peppers, a good source of capsicum and already discussed under chiles.

A fuzzy peach can often have line that look similar to some of the sexier contours of the human body, and they are related to roses, so they rank as pretty sexy as far as fruits go. The musician Prince must think so too, as evidenced by his song “Peach,” where he sings, “Her hot pants can’t hide her cheeks / She’s a peach.” Peaches are good sources of vitamin C and other antioxidants, provide plenty of fiber, and even the biggest preach is only about 70 calories. Biting into a ripe, juicy peach is a sensual experience that can be easily shared.

Zinc, so important for male potency, is also found in quantity in pińon or pine nuts. Pine nuts have been use to stimulate libidos since the Middle Ages. They are often used as a garnish on other aphrodisiac foods. They are, obviously, nuts, as well.

Pineapple has a reputation as a holistic treatment for impotence in cultures where it is native. pineappleIn addition to the usual fruit nutrition, pineapples contain the enzyme bromelain, a proteolytic enzyme and it is a good source of manganese, a trace mineral which may account for its reputation for improving libido and sperm quality. It is rich in vitamin C and a spear of pineapple in a jigger of rum makes for a nice après-sex cocktail.

I tried a quince once and thought it tasted like a bitter pear. To add another Q, I’ll mention that “real men eat quiche,” is a way of saying that a man that is secure in his sexuality will eat quiche, thought of by some as a “sissy food.”

Once again, I have to thank Joe Ruiz, pharmacy intern from Midwestern University, College of Pharmacy, Glendale, for his assistance on our marketplace photo safaris, and, especially, for his manual skills in the video.

Foods for Sexual Health: L M N

L M N, buy a couple vowels and you have LEMON! Things are starting to get juicy…

Lemons are pretty sexy looking and provide plenty of vitamin C for your health. limes Being slightly acidic and astringent lemons (and limes) can help tighten loose skin and cause a pleasing puckering of areola and other responsive tissue. I’m trying to remember that movie where the girl squeezes lemons and lets the juice run provocatively over her naked breasts. Wait, was that a movie, or my life?

For many, the mere smell of licorice elicits lusty thoughts. Glycrrhizin, a component, is 50 times sweeter than sugar. Natural licorice contains sterols, specifically phytoestrogens. This chemical seems to cause a mild rise in estrogen levels in females and testosterone in males. The mechanism is unclear but it seems to involve the sense of smell so maybe it’s a pheromone-like phenomenon. The Chicago Smell and Taste Research Foundation reports that the combined smell of black licorice and doughnuts increased penile blood flow up to 32%. Homer Simpson, are you listening? Chanel are you listening? Chanel #55, licorice notes over a light hint of glazed donuts might be a winner! Many Asian cultures tell of using licorice to ensure fidelity, increase sexual stamina, encourage arousal, and casting “love spells.” Read your labels, many US “licorice” products are made with anise oil, not licorice.

Eating lobster can be sexual if done correctly, and with minimal butter and more lemon, is actually very healthy. lobster There can be plenty of finger licking and juices flowing down the chin to regions below. Lobster on the beach where a little lemon juice may stiffen a nipple or two and buttery fingers do a little tweaking can be highly erotic. Lobster is a good source of lean protein, copper, zinc and selenium. I’ve already mentioned the importance of zinc for a healthy male libido and sperm health. Lobster is also a good source of phosphorus, which helps fuel the sex drive of both genders.  

I only mention malt because a single malt whiskey in appropriate amounts is a good way to loosen inhibitions and induce behaviors normally dismissed as taboo. Malt is really any cereal grain that is allowed to begin to germinate and then dried, preventing further germination. Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.

The Kama Sutra is often cited as a reference for those that say mango fruit are sexy. mango The only passage familiar to me is the eight steps of fellatio where in step 7 actual sucking begins (“sucking the mango”) which is metaphorical and does not directly involve a mango. This did not stop Cosmopolitan magazine from suggesting having chewed mango in your mouth when fellating your lover. It does feel cool and provides lubrication. The entire process is referred to as auparishtaka or “mouth congress” in the Kama Sutra and may have often involved eunuchs.

Mustard has reputation for increasing sexual desire, perhaps by virtue of its irritating properties. I’m talking about the real deal here, fresh ground mustard seed, not French’s off the Safeway shelf. Fresh mustard paste was rubbed on the penis as a folk remedy for impotence! No wonder it goes so well on a hot dog! Even the Bible describes it as ‘the greatest amongst herbs’. This sounds plausible, but I have yet to try mustard on my wiener. mustard

Nutmeg was an arousing spice for ancient Arabs, Greeks and Romans. In India, the secret to a long lasting sexual act is to eat a half-boiled egg with nutmeg and honey an hour before sex. Large amounts of nutmeg are said to induce hallucinations, so be careful. This spice has many anticholinergic effects when taken in doses any higher than 1mg/kg which is way beyond what is in your egg nog. There are some dangerously wrong folklore that nutmeg can be used to induce an abortion. Not so, but it can make you feel like you are dying, and rarely may actually cause death. Don’t be stupid. In a 2001 article in The Atlantic, Wayne Curtis wrote of his experiment with nutmeg and also noted “The intoxicating properties of nutmeg have more recently been documented among musicians (the jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker introduced it to his bandmates) and in prisons, where Malcolm X discovered that “a penny matchbox full of nutmeg had the kick of three or four reefers,” as he noted in his autobiography.” I tried a bunch of nutmeg during a summer break from pharmacy school many years ago and all I got was a disturbing headache and loose bowels. Stick to small amounts.

Foods for Sexual Health: H to K

Following a lead that hazelnuts were sexy, I first learned that in some circles a hazelnut is vernacular for a tattooed scrotum. Ouch. But lets get back to the nuts… Nutritionally, hazelnuts, or filberts, provide about 9 calories per nut, most of that from fat, including over 100mg of good fatty acid omega-6. Most of the fat here is monounsaturated. Each hazelnut provides a rich assortment of vitamins and minerals, ranking number one among nuts for folic acid content. I remember these nuts were popular around the holidays when I was a youngster back in Maine. Generally, just a good, healthy nut with plenty of nutritional support for the sexual health of either gender. Reportedly, a jar of Nutella, the hazelnut spread, is sold every 2.5 seconds. That is faster than the 8 second birth rate!

Honey is rich in B vitamins and amino acids. The lore of honey goes back to the dawn of man. Its beginning from the interaction of the bee with sexual flower parts and the value in the reproductive process of the matriarchal hive add power to its reputation as an aphrodisiac. Mead, a drink made from fermented honey, was a medieval favorite of seducers of both sexes. Newlyweds drank mead on their “honeymoon” thereby “sweetening” their union. Honey is often combined with one or more of these other fun foods to enhance flavor and potency. The same might be said of adding honey to your partner. Time for another short break, my sweet tooth is tingling.

Honeydew melon has quite a reputation as a sex aid. These cool green melons are a good source of vitamin C, the vasodilator, niacin, and copper which aids in skin regeneration. Prompt skin regeneration can be important when the friction of frequent sex is causing a bit too much wear and tear, but you just can’t stop! I did come across a few tutorials on how to do some creative surgery on a honeydew to create an artificial vagina for male masturbation. I cannot remember ever being that desperate.

Horseradish, aka wasabi, is one of those hot things that help dilate blood vessels allowing for impressive erectile response when an opportunity arises. As far as nutrition goes, there is not much in prepared horseradish other than some fiber, starch, sodium and potassium. There is a real wasabi with a green root, although outside of Japan most wasabi is made with horseradish and green food coloring.

Although it may not be strictly classified as a food, ice, deserves a mention for its utility as an erotic edible. Fans of Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke recall the “ice” scene from Nine and ½ Weeks with fondness, and many have “tried this at home.” The effect of cold on erectile tissue has thrilled many lovers throughout time. The cold provides a stimulating contrast to the heat of passion and has zero calories! The ways it can be used to enhance sexual play are limitless, OK, perhaps limited by your imagination and/or cold tolerance.

Jicama is another root that is low in calories and is little more than water and fiber. It is only here because I wanted a J.

Newly popular kale is a great source of B vitamins and so supports many metabolic functions. I could only find indirect and theoretical impact on libido or any aspect of sexual health.

The kiwi is apparently some sort of mutant gooseberry.IMG_0112 Here again, this thing just looks too sexy to not be an aphrodisiac. It has a soft, hairy skin, and when cut open reveals hundreds of seeds which almost looks like sperm trying to fertilize the inner egg, suggesting fertility. IMG_0126 Kiwi also supply serotonin. This neurotransmitter boosts mood and perhaps the kiwi and many of the SSRI antidepressants share the same side effect of delaying ejaculation. Again, we have found a food worth trying, particularly if you like your sex to last a while. We had a little trouble finding the physiologic pathway from the GI tract to the brain for ingested serotonin, but it appears it may be partially digested and then rebuilt into the neurotransmitter.

Special thanks again to Joe Ruiz, student pharmacist, Midwestern University College of Pharmacy, Glendale, AZ. Joe served as research assistant and hand model for this assignment.

Foods for Sexual Health: F and G

Fennel may have some aphrodisiac qualities but I cannot discern what they are. Various cultures incorporate fennel into a variety of foods that are said to aid libido, fertility or sexual stamina.

Fennel seeds

Fennel seeds

Fennel grows as an upright group of stalks so that may account for the folklore. The seeds do appear in mukwhas, that Indian restaurant seedy after dinner digestive. Fennel seeds also make their way into various sausage, yet another phallic connection.

Let us not forget the wonderful herb, fenugreek. I’ve already discussed its use as an aid to lactation and its paradoxical presence in so-called male supplements. If you have not read those blog posts yet, please follow the links and check them out.

Ripe figs are thought to emulate either male or female genitalia, probably depending on your point of view and proclivities. A man using his fingers to open a fig and then eat the insides is considered a provocative and seductive invitation in many cultures. Consider this passage from a cookbook: “And its feel, oh its feel. A knife slices through the fruit like soft butter. The tiny, edible seeds seem unending, weaving layer upon layer of texture and flavor within the succulent fig. All ridges work inward to a core, painting a relief portrait of the soft world of the inner thighs. When you eat a fig, you are tasting history, Cleopatra, Dionysian orgies, the Roman Saturnalia. And when its juice runs over your tongue, you are drinking pure, unadulterated sensuality.” Heh, we aren’t talking about a Fig Newton here!

Garlic has a reputation for curing just about anything, including low libido. It has been touted for hypertension, high cholesterol, called “nature’s antibiotic,” good for arthritis, the common cold and on and on. If you’re thinking of eating some to enhance your lovemaking, I suggest that both participants partake. Fight fire with fire. The science is that garlic does seem to increase production of nitric oxide synthase, the enzyme responsible for nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide, you’ll recall, is an important chemical involved in erectile tissue, so go ahead and order extra garlic on that pizza.

Ginger was a redhead I knew in college. She could… whoops! I’ll have to tell that tale another time. gingerGinger root stimulates the circulatory system and you should know by now what that means. Ginger has also been shown to be an effective remedy for motion sickness, so if you are into sex in moving vehicles or carnival rides it could help!

Peeling grapes for your lover is a classic move with much history behind it. As previously mentioned, red grapes boast resveratrol which has been ordained as an anti-aging antioxidant. Grapes can be fun sex toys when used in a responsible manner and you make sure they are all accounted for when things cool down. There is good nutrition here but little direct effect on sex drive or prowess unless powered by your imagination. Apparently Cosmopolitan magazine once suggested having their readers put grapes between their fingers when masturbating their male lovers. Um, ok, I guess, but this image does nothing to turn me on. Well, the grape part anyway.

Perhaps the gooseberry was not named after the water fowl but the frisky touching of the rear groin area. Whatever the case, gooseberries are packed with nutritious health benefits. Ounce for ounce they have way more vitamin C than oranges! Gooseberry oil has been used as a sort of folk Rogaine to fight baldness. Folklore has tales of increased semen production as well as “strengthening the glands” that release the semen. Those two effects combine for better fertility with a stronger and larger volume ejaculation. Gooseberries are hard to find and I have only tasted a couple so I will leave it to you to test those claims. In Aryuvedic medicine gooseberries are used to battle menstrual cramps.