By Lovern Hayes, Flair Co-ordinator
Herbalist Winsome Beckford,left, who operates Winsome's Therapy Wholistic Clinic on Mona Road in Kingston, explains the function of herbs that are combined to make the 'front-end lifter' potions, such as those above. - Carlington Wilmot /Freelance Photographer
FOR CENTURIES, certain foods and drinks have been known to have qualities that help to increase sexual desire and improve sexual performance. Men and women have flocked to herbal stores and herbalists seeking potions and brews that are filled with the promise of a better sex life.
Do these foods and drinks, called
aphrodisiacs, really work or are they merely legend?
It has been said that the most powerful aphrodisiac known to man is his mind. The brain is considered the biggest sex organ in the body. However, men and women are always on the lookout for substances from nature, or science, that can help improve our sex lives.
Named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexual love and beauty, the list of aphrodisiacs includes such foods as celery, garlic and onion. However, Aphrodite was said to be born from the sea, therefore many types of seafood are considered to be aphrodisiacs, with oysters being the most well known.
There are two views of the aphrodisiac throughout history. The first is that men, in particular, believe that aphrodisiacs will make them more powerful and virile. The basic premise is that if circulation and blood flow are improved, the penis will respond in kind. To accomplish this goal, herbs, concoctions and lotions that improve blood circulation are taken or applied.
The second type of aphrodisiac is that which sets the mood for the entire sexual encounter. Spices, fragrances, a warm bubble bath, a sensual massage or even candlelit dinners with special ingredients are the most common aphrodisiacs for this goal.
Herbal aphrodisiacs tend to have a common denominator of enhancing circulation, although some have other properties. Herbalist Winsome Beckford, who operates Winsome's Therapy Wholistic Clinic on Mona Road in Kingston, explains the function of some herbs that are combined to make the 'front-end lifter' potions. However, she first points out that often herbal concoctions to improve sexual performance are not necessary...instead more attention should be paid to health.
"Some people just need to clean out their entire system, get rid of all the garbage and toxins within them and purify their blood. When they do that, their sexual performance will improve. My advice is to get all your organs in tune and then nothing can stop you from having explosive, mind-blowing orgasms."
Here are some of the more popular Jamaican and foreign herbs that may be listed among the ingredients of that bottle of tonic:
Duppy gun stimulant, aphrodisiac
Stiff cock (cocoalike plant that often grows in the hills) purifies the blood
Blood wisp cleans the blood and helps with circulation
Strong back helps with the nerves and builds stamina
Aloe Vera purifies the blood
Bitterwood purifies the blood and cleanses the entire body
Dandelion cleans the entire urinary system (kidney, liver and bladder)
(Raw) Pumpkin seed/sesame seed these are stimulants. They are high in zinc and help to build the sperm count and improve the sex drive. They also prevent prostate cancer.
Yohimbe this generally improves blood circulation and keeps the mind clear, but also acts specifically on the sex organs, bringing blood closer to the surface and constricting the veins to keep it there.
Siberian ginseng this is a stimulant, aphrodisiac which calms the mood and helps the brain to distress. It also helps to lower blood pressure.
Ginger soothing circulatory stimulant
Garlic combats high blood pressure and infections. Garlic also keeps the veins and arteries clean and is a bit of an aphrodisiac.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) an herb popularly known for its ability to promote brain function through better circulation, may, when taken regularly, increase blood flow to the penis.
Cayenne pepper this is a cleanser and a stimulant. It also promotes weight loss.
Dog blood cleans the womb and ovarian tubes to eliminate foul odours and pain
Red Clover is good for the heart
Vervine is also called 'love bush'. This was used in ancient times to produce love potions. It is a stimulant that stirs up passion.
Samson or bee bush (has a lot of bee pollen) gives energy. This bush is good for diabetes and colds as it has a lot of insulin.
Medina stimulant, aphrodisiac. This is used by many Jamaican men but Ms. Beckford advises against this. "Men should not use Medina regularly because one of the side-effects of this herb, is that it lowers the sperm count so much so that it eventually results in 'dry back', which is when the man is ejaculating and nothing but air is coming out," she says.
Ms. Beckford goes even further, pointing out that ejaculating three and four times per lovemaking session is not healthy -- herbal concoction or not. He may well be enjoying himself, but "his nervous system is being damaged," she says.
Before embarking on your journey of love, thoroughly acquaint yourself with the herbs you are using. Herbal aphrodisiacs often affect the hormonal balance of the body.
"It is always recommended that you familiarise yourself with the potential side effects and cautions associated with a treatment you intend to take, but the number and range of side effects found in herbal aphrodisiacs make this precaution more crucial. Certain herbs should not be taken by diabetics or hypertensive persons or even pregnant women, so extra care must be exercised," cautions Ms. Beckford.