Aphrodisiacs 101: Food & Drink to Light Your Valentine's Day Fire

With all the bogus adds for "sexual stimulants" and "potency enhancers" that pop up on the Internet, it's hard to believe anyone's claim that something you ingest can boost your libido or improve your romantic encounters.

The verdict is still out on whether aphrodisiacs work, but some people swear by them. The new Happy High Herbs shop on Mill Avenue in Tempe has quite a few "satisfied" customers, so I popped by to check out their aphrodisiac teas. 

This is the first American store for the Australian chain, which carries teas, elixirs and smoking herbs. They have an entire wall of dried herbs and powders to help make your Valentine's Day special. 

  • Damiana came highly recommended by the staff. It's said to be a powerful aphrodisiac, stimulating the senses and relaxing the body. Happy High Herbs carries it in loose tea form, as well as in liquid drops and citrus-flavored lozenges.
  • Another suggestion is Blue or White Lotus, which is best when steeped in vodka or white wine.
  • Cocoa Lusto is a blend of Damiana and Maca, which regulates hormones in women. It's a great idea for Valentine's Day because you make it up just like hot chocolate. Garnish with a couple of chocolate curls or serve it with a box of truffles and you'll likely get bonus points with your sweetie (plus chocolate's also said to be an aphrodisiac, so you're getting a double-dose). 

The down and dirty: Of course, with all herbs you want to check with your doctor if you're on any meds or special diets before taking them. Wouldn't want your head swelling up like a balloon or your bladder going into overdrive while you're slipping into naughty lingerie.       

Now that you're all set with sexy tea and hot cocoa ideas, on to the libido-boosting foods...

We've all heard that oysters and strawberries are aphrodisiacs. But what about bananas? Laugh all you want about the phallic connotations. According to the geniuses at HowStuffWorks, this potassium-rich fruit contains chemicals which aid in sex hormone production.

Here are few other sensual foods the HowStuffWorks folks offer up for V-Day:

  • Have a Thrill with Basil: For centuries, people said that basil stimulated the sex drive and boosted fertility while producing a general sense of wellbeing. Basil is one of the many reported aphrodisiacs that may also promote circulation.
  • There's a Reason It's Called "Hot" Chocolate: Researchers have studied chocolate and found it to contain phenylethylamine and serotonin, which are both "feel good" chemicals. They occur naturally in the body and are released by the brain when a person feels happy or passionate.
  • Honey Is Right on the Money: Honey is rich in B vitamins (needed for testosterone production) as well as boron (which helps the body metabolize and use estrogen). Some studies have suggested that it may also enhance blood levels of testosterone.
  • Light Her Fire with Papaya: Papaya has compounds that act similar to the female hormone, estrogen. As such, it has been used as a folk remedy to increase a woman's libido.

Click here for the whole list.

Try a holiday menu of pasta with fresh basil, honey-yogurt fruit salad and hot chocolate. With so many aphrodisiacs in the mix, one's bound to work. Right??

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