Mankind has long been fascinated by the idea of certain foods as aphrodisiacs. That stems, of course, from mankind’s endless fascination with sex. The very word aphrodisiac derives from the goddess of love, Aphrodite. Word on the ancient streets was that Aphrodite considered sparrows to be sacred because of their “amorous nature.” The heathens responded by grinding the poor little birdies into their love potions. We’ve come a long way since then, so please don’t try that at home. Let’s keep our focus on things that we can find at the market.

Prehistoric horny humans began experimenting with foods that resembled genitalia or were seeds or eggs to see if they could be even hornier or make somebody else hot for them. If it looked. smelled, tasted or felt like a sexual organ, it was worth trying as an aphrodisiac. Often foods became known as treatments for loss of libido, impotence or infertility simply because they were nutritious. Undernourishment was quite common in the old days and good nutrition is a primary path to sexual health.

In many cultures there are still strong beliefs that sexual potency can be enhanced by eating the genitals of our animal brethren. 5 snake wineThere is actually a “Five Penis Wine” sold in China, as well as a “Five Snake Wine” both of which contain five of the named item. Five is considered a lucky number in China, but not so lucky for snakes or animals missing a penis. The availability of Viagra is actually helping save endangered species since it works so much better than dried tiger penis or powdered rhino horn. Even today, many “macho vitamins” sold in Mexico purport to contain powdered or extracts of bull testicles. I do not recommend any of these animal products.

Let’s take a look at foods with a reputation that we can find in our local markets. Foods that we are actually likely to eat and even enjoy. I’ll try to stick to the alphabet and will post in groups of reasonable size, for size does matter when it comes to blogs.

Before we get started on the sexy stuff, I should mention that the ancient Greeks warned against dill, lettuce, watercress, rue, lentils and water lilies as anti-aphrodisiacs. Hmmm, maybe I’ll skip that salad. “Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce,” doesn’t seem like an unreasonable request, especially if you hope that somebody will hold your pickle or caress your lettuce later.

Both ancient Greeks and Romans claimed that sucking on Aniseeds was said to increase desire. I found them flavorful but that’s about it. Taste like licorice. I only chewed a few, though, so perhaps I under-dosed myself. Mukhwas, that seedy mixture offered after the meal at many Indian restaurants, features Aniseeds. Although that mixture is purportedly to aid digestion, we’re talking about the folks who brought us the Kama Sutra, so what better way to start the post prandial activities than with fresher breath and a libido kicker. Anise oil has been used as a treatment for lice. Go figure.

Asparagus is thought of as a sensual food, mostly due to its phallic shape, and there may be something suggestive to feeding your lover these green stalks. It makes for potent urine but no discernible pharmacological effect. The pungent odor imparted to urine is due to thiols which may appear in the urine very quickly after eating asparagus. Interestingly, only about 40% of humans have the gene that allows them to detect this odor. If altered urine aroma is a turn-on for you, then by all means, eat your asparagus.

Arugula, frequently found in upscale salads is a pungent green whose seeds are sometimes called “rocket” seeds. You get the image? Arugula was a popular and sexy for ancient Romans. It was said to be a favorite of a god of fertility, Priapus, from whom we get the medical term for one of those erections that last longer than four hours! I find the robust taste very enjoyable and much more likely to make me feel lusty than a plain lettuce salad.

The Aztecs called the avocado tree “Ahuacuatl” which translates as “testicle tree.” They do tend to hang in pairs. During avocado harvest time Aztecs would lock up their virgin daughters as a safeguard. They are delicious with a sensuous texture. Avocados are very nutritious and a very good source of potassium (~7 mEq/fruit) but are high in saturated fats (>10gm/fruit). I recall the Texas Tornado song where the amorous young Texan wanted to “make guacamole all night long” with his lover.

Bananas have a marvelous phallic shape and make excellent training tools when teaching about proper condom use but offer little, other than providing potassium, B vitamins and suggestive oral maneuvers. The non-verbal communication as one sexily eats a banana has been the beginning of many wonderful relationships. As a rule of thumb, there is about one mEq of potassium per inch of banana. You can develop your own Freudian theories for any dreams or fantasies that you might have that involve bananas.

Mass quantities of sweet basil are reported to boost sex drive and fertility. I haven’t tried mass quantities of it, but I’d be willing to try a warm pesto body rub! In other cultures basil is revered for its sensual powers. Mexican brujas will use basil in love potions that are used to keep one’s lover from straying. Basil is sacred to Indian gods such as Krishna and Vishnu and in Italy, where it is also called kiss me Nicholas, basil has been used for many love-related purposes. Young women would often dust themselves with basil, hoping to drive the man of their desire crazy with lust. Basil has been used as a sign of availability, either as a hair ornament or in a small herb pot placed on the windowsill.

I love brussel sprouts! They are the kings of the vegetables when it comes to nutrition, and they are especially good sources for many of the necessities for sexual health. Many fertility specialists recommend brussel sprouts to improve both male and female fertility. As a favorite for increasing sperm count, I swear my “boys” hang a little heavier after a good helping of these tasty green orbs (or maybe I just need to get laid). Loaded with crucial nutrients like zinc and folic acid, these tiny cabbages come highly recommended. Great stuff for baby-making! Improved sperm count, healthy womb, folate and more for a healthy baby.

I should mention butter, if only because there are numerous reports of people using butter for a sexual lubricant, either when coupling or during individual attempts at self pleasuring. As a pharmacist, I would not recommend butter for any activity that results in exposure to sensitive mucus membranes. External use is likely OK as a natural and edible lubricant. Is this where the expression “I want to butter you up,” comes from? There are many versions of sex butters available but these are usually based on coconut and other oils. I wonder if these so-called “finishing butters” are of any value? What, exactly, are we finishing? There is also a challenging sexual position called the butter churner. You can discover that one on your own. I cannot recommend any other kind of Butterfinger than the candy bar! I prefer my butter on popcorn or toast.

It’s fun to revisit this article that I wrote many years ago and have now updated for the blog. Yes, when I say I tried the food in question, I really did, although it may have been quite some time ago. I have many good memories from many of these foods. I’ll be back with more of the alphabet soon.