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In steady use for at least the last 5000 years, aphrodisiacs are substances believed to increase sexual powers, desire and may include such items as foods, herbs, scents, beverages, drugs or various other potions.

Named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexual love and beauty, aphrodisiacs are strongly rooted in every culture yet there is no hard evidence or proof of what actually works and what doesn't. Our available information consists mainly of folklore and myths as opposed to science. In fact, the United States Food and Drug Administration declared, "there is no scientific proof that any over-the-counter aphrodisiacs work to treat sexual dysfunction".

Many of the current products used as aphrodisiacs are based on Chinese herbal medicine and the Chinese are thought to be the first to use aphrodisiacs. India was also an originator of the codification of these substances - a whole section of the Kama Sutra being devoted to it. Worldwide, aphrodisiacs have been in existence for thousands of years and each culture seems to use plants, spices, herbs or animal species that are specific to their geographical location.

As technology has progressed, we still use many of the natural forms of aphrodisiacs, but we now also use a number of synthetic ones as well. If you are looking for a sexual boost, the following are a number of categories of aphrodisiacs and some interesting facts about them that you and your lover may (or in some cases, may not) want to try out to get you in the mood!

There are many common foods that enjoy the reputation of being aphrodisiacs. Oysters have been used as aphrodisiacs since Roman times; this may have something to do with oysters containing zinc, which is thought to increase testosterone production, which in turn regulates sex drive. Since Aphrodite was born of the sea, many types of seafood in general have gained reputations as having effect on sexuality.

Onions are another everyday food that have been deemed aphrodisiacs, in fact Egyptian priests were not allowed to eat them! So next time your lover says that you have onion breath, tell them that you are trying to get in the mood! Related to onions, garlic also enjoys a long history of utilization as an aphrodisiac by ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese and Japanese.

In the case of impotence, some modern clinicians even suggest crushing a few cloves and mixing them with lard to form a concoction to spread on the penis! Other foods used as aphrodisiacs include: asparagus, beans, betel nuts, celery, coco-de-mer, gingko, grapes, leeks, peas, pine nuts, radishes, quince, and walnuts. There are many recipe books that cater to healthy libidos which you may want to check out.

Originally, herbs and spices were used not only to make meals taste better, but also because in pre-refrigeration days, a lot of food wasn't exactly fresh. Over the years they have been also used to get libidos going.

One of the most notable spices used in China as an aphrodisiac for over two thousand years is cloves. For impotent men, it was recommended that cloves be mixed with honey and milk to be consumed daily. Also originating in China is ginger - the prime ingredient in quite a number of potions to be applied externally to encourage female desire. Nutmeg, used in very small doses, (due to its hallucinogenic properties), may be mixed with honey and a half-boiled egg to prolong the duration of sexual intercourse… according to ancient Indian tradition.

Other popular spices used as aphrodisiacs either through ingestion or topical application include: anchovies, asafetida, cardamom, licorice, mint, pepper, rosemary, saffron, salt, thyme, and vanilla. Don't forget to add one or more of these spices or herbs to your everyday cooking to spice things up in the bedroom!



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