Top 10 Aphrodisiacs

A list of top 10 aphrodisiacs is presented below, explaining the effect of each one.

An aphrodisiac is a substance mainly used to increase sexual desire. The word “aphrodisiac” comes from Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess.

From ancient times, a lot of foods were believed to increase sexual desire. In ancient Greece, a lot of people believed that aphrodisiacs can improve the pleasure and performance of the sexual act.

The father of medicine, Hippocrates, recommended lentils to keep man virile into old age. Even Aristotel, the famous Greek philosopher recommended lentils cooked with saffron for sexual related problems. Another important historical figure, Alexander the Great, was advised by Aristotel not to allow his soldiers to drink mint tea during campaigns, mainly because the philosopher believed it to be an aphrodisiac. Even the national dish of Greece, fassolatha, a dens bean soup, is considered to influence the libido. Also, some believe that eating fassolatha can ensure the birth of sons.

However, it is difficult to prove or disprove that aphrodisiacs help libido. The effects of aphrodisiacs are so diverse and vague that they can not be proven scientifically. Some believe that aphrodisiacs have only a psychological effect.

In the vast range of aphrodisiacs, the following top 10 aphrodisiacs seem to be the most representative:


Number one in our top 10 aphrodisiacs list is Ginseng. A study carried out in 2002 by the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (published in the annals of the New York Academy of Sciences) found that in laboratory animals, both Asian and American forms of ginseng enhance libido and copulatory performance. These effects of ginseng may not be due to changes in hormone secretion, but to direct effects of ginseng, or its ginsenoside components, on the central nervous system and gonadal tissues. In males, ginsenosides can facilitate penile erection.

It is believed that ginsenosides from the roots of both Asian and American ginseng increases the energy, vitality, sexual enjoyment, and mental clarity. Researchers at the Cognitive Drug Research Ltd., Beech Hill, Reading, in the United Kingdom tested ginseng combination on volunteers between 40 and 65 years old. As a result, the memory and other cognitive functions improved substantially.

A team from the University of Ulsan and the Korea Ginseng and Tobacco Research Institute in Seoul, tested the effects of Korean red ginseng on men with erectile dysfunction. The men were either taking 900 mg of ginseng or under the placebo effect. The study revealed that ginseng increases the erectile function, sexual desire and satisfaction. However, researchers did not examine how ginseng improves these aspects, leaving room for speculations.


Oysters come second is the top 10 aphrodisiacs list. It is said that Casanova would eat as much as 50 oysters a day. Also, the Romans of the second century A.D. believed oysters to be aphrodisiacs mainly because they resemble the female genitals.

However, a recent study carried out in America and Italy shows that foods like oysters, clams and mussels contain the rare amino acids D-aspartic acid and NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate). Experiments made by doctor D’Aniello had shown that these elements help in the production of the sex hormones testosterone and progesterone.


Third place in the top 10 aphrodisiacs list goes to chocolate. The Aztec’s thought that chocolate was an aphrodisiac because it invigorated men and made women less inhibited. Thus, when it was introduced in Europe, chocolate was associated with love and passion.

It seems that there was a truth in all this, as investigations in this matter revealed that chocolate consumption affects human behavior. Chocolate contains two elements found in the human brain: Phenylethylamin and Seratonin. Both are released by the brain when we are experiencing feelings of happiness and when we are in love.

Recent studies suggest that women are more influenced by these compounds than men, so chocolate would be a perfect gift in order to stimulate the female partner.


The Spanish Fly is actually a beetle found in Mediterranean countries and in some regions of Russia. When this insect feels threatened it releases a caustic substance that irritates the skin and causes blisters. This substance is called cantharidin and it is said to be an aphrodisiac. The most common way to obtain it is by drying the beetles and crushing them into a powder.

However, this Spanish Fly powder could be very dangerous. It is recommended to consult a doctor before taking it. The cantharidin irritates the urogenital and causes itching and swelling of the genitals. The cantharidin is also very toxic and can lead to gastrointestinal disturbances, convulsions and even death. If you are a fan of extreme death-defying sports, the Spanish Fly is for you.


Maca was included in our top 10 aphrodisiacs list as Maca roots are used as an aphrodisiac for both men and women. Maca root grows in the wilds of Peruvian Andes, in extreme weather conditions. No other food plant can grow at this altitude and at this low oxygen level. Locals include Maca in their diets, some of them growing it in the traditional way.

Maca contains many trace minerals, vitamins, amino acids and carbohydrates. This herb increases energy, vitality and stamina. It helps men in particular by increasing seminal fluid volume and sperm number, at the same time being useful for impotence and erectile dysfunction. For women, Maca helps with menstrual irregularities and hormone imbalances.


Muira Puama is a small tree from the Amazon rain-forest. Its bark and root are used around the world to treat paralysis, dyspepsia, rheumatism, sexual impotency, grippe and menstrual disturbances. Muira Puama is listed in the Brazilian Pharmacopoeia and the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia. The root and bark is rich in fatty acids and fatty acid esters, oils and alkaloids.

The aphrodisiac effects of Muira Puama have been tested by a French study indicating that this tree could “enhance libido [85% of test group], increase the frequency of intercourse [100%] and improve the ability to maintain an erection [90%].” In other research projects, scientists have discovered that Muira Puama can have antistress, antifatigue, adaptogenic and positive effect on the central nervous system.

A U.S. patent on muira pauma, cited that it can “reduce body fat percentage, increase lean muscle mass and lower cholesterol” in humans and animals. Recently has been discovered that Muira Pauma has a beneficial effect on memory and nervous disorders. In 2003 an experiment was conducted on mice, proving that it can help memory retrieval in both young and old mice. Some researchers even concluded that it can be beneficial for Alzheimer patients. No toxic effects were reported for Muira Pauma.

Muira Pauma is used in Basil as an appetite stimulant, in Germany for menstrual disturbances, in Europe as a tonic, for impotence, infertility and menstrual disturbances and in the United States for impotence and menstrual problems.


Tribulus is a plant found in many warm regions. Tribulus Terrestris, also known as the Puncture Vine, is the most widely spread type of this plant. Tribulus has been used in the popular medicine of Turkey, Europe, China and India for blood pressure, headache and sexual dysfunction.

The aphrodisiac effect of this plant has been tested on rodents. It was concluded that tribulus terrestris works by relaxing muscles and increasing the blood flow in the corpus cavernosa of the penis. Also, Tribulus may influence testosterone release.

There were no reported side effects of tribulus terrestris on humans. However the long-term use of more than 500 mg could result in more energy, feeling warmer, slightly faster heart beat, restlessness.


Yohimbe is a tree native from South Africa, known for its inner bark used as a powerful aphrodisiac. Research shows that yohimbe increases blood flow in the extremities, thus helping people with problems like impotence and increasing libido for men and women.

The alkaloid yohimbine is the most active element of yohimbe. However, yohimbine is less than 10% of yohimbe. Also, yohimbine is a drug approved by the FDA for treating erectile dysfunctions, and it is not the same as the yohimbe bark powder or yohimbe extracts. Depending on your preferences, you can choose either yohimbine or yohimbe supplements.

After taking 42 mg of yohimbe daily, of 182 men with erectile dysfunction, 34% reported full recovery of sexual function, and 24% reported partial recovery. In another study at Stanford University on yohimbe, 46% of 48 men with impotence reported improvement and 90% of them experienced increasing sexual desire in less than one hour. Also, in 1977, a German trial evaluated that consumption of 30 mg of yohimbine a day for eight weeks improves sexual desire, sexual satisfaction, frequency of sexual contacts, and quality of erection on men. Also, it was found that, while the placebo’s effectiveness is of 45%, the yohimbine’s is of 71%.

However, yohimbe has very powerful side effects and it is recommended that its use should be supervised by a professional healthcare. A dose of over 40 mg could cause changes in heart rhythm, difficulties in breathing, potentially dangerous drops in blood pressure, temporary muscle paralysis in the legs and feet. A dose of less than 20 mg can cause abdominal pain, dizziness, elevated heart rate, general weakness, nausea, sweating, vomiting. Also, yohimbe should not be combined with foods containing tyramine like red wine, cheese or liver. Yohimbe and yohimbine should not be taken by pregnant women either.


Asparagus was also included in the top 10 aphrodisiacs lists as this is very popular in the UK as a vegetable rich in vitamins and minerals. First of all, asparagus is an excellent source of folacin, potassium, fibre, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin A, C and E.

However, asparagus is also well known as an aphrodisiac. The herbalist of the 17th century, Nicholas Culpepper wrote that asparagus “stirs up lust in man and woman”. The shape of asparagus inspired Europeans that saw asparagus as an aphrodisiac… and they were right. The vitamin E from this plant is considered to help production of sex hormones.


Last, but not least, in our top 10 aphrodisiacs list is red wine. Drinking wine relaxes the body and stimulates the senses. This can make the romantic interlude more erotic. In the 17th century an aphrodisiac that enhanced sexual powers was made by adding cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, rosemary and thyme in wine.

However, too much alcohol will throw away the romance, making you too dizzy to seduce your lover.

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Cake of Heart II via photopin (license)

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