Here's a guide to scientifically-backed aphrodisiacs and a few that have scientists on the fence

Studies are now looking into the efficacy of foods as aphrodisiacs. Here’s a look at the most popular aphrodisiacs and whether science approves them.

Myupchar October 29, 2019 12:49:33 IST
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Here's a guide to scientifically-backed aphrodisiacs and a few that have scientists on the fence
  • Aphrodisiacs are thought to work in one of three ways: (1) increase libido or sexual desire, (2) increase potency, or (3) increase sexual pleasure

  • Saffron or Crocus sativus L. has been reported to be a potent aphrodisiac

  • Studies show that Crassostrea iredalei, commonly known as black scar oyster, can restore sexual drive in men

“The buildup to sex is as important as the act itself,” says Dr Shailendra Goel, a senior sexologist associated with myUpchar. “The act itself lasts a few minutes. The buildup to sex - that can start much before the first kiss. For example, you could be thinking about sex on your way back from work,” he says.

Sexy lingerie, sexting and sexy lighting might all set the mood for both partners. Throughout history, though, there's one thing that people across cultures have used to feel sexy - aphrodisiacs or foods said to arouse or increase sexual desire, or to improve sexual performance.

Heres a guide to scientificallybacked aphrodisiacs and a few that have scientists on the fence

Representational image. Image source: Getty Images.

Aphrodisiacs are thought to work in one of three ways: (1) increase libido or sexual desire, (2) increase potency, or (3) increase sexual pleasure. 

Some aphrodisiacs have been reported to help address erectile dysfunction in males and hypoactive sexual desire disorder in females.

Scientific studies are now looking into the efficacy of foods — from oysters to chocolates — as aphrodisiacs. Here’s a look at the most popular aphrodisiacs and whether science approves them for this job.

What works

Saffron: Saffron or Crocus sativus L. has been reported to be a potent aphrodisiac. Crocin, a carotenoid that gives saffron its yellow colour, has been shown to help in cases of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. ED, one of the most common sexual complaints among men anywhere, is when someone is unable to get or sustain an erect penis throughout intercourse.

Pistachio: Improves erectile function, check. Tastes great, check.

Date palm: Also known as Phoenix dactylifera, date palm contains estradiol and flavonoid that have positive effects on sperm quality. Technically, it’s not the job of an aphrodisiac to improve infertility, but if you can stop two gaps with one bush...

Indian almond: Terminalia catappa, the scientific name of Indian almond doesn’t sound very sexy, but studies show that eating T. catappa seeds can improve sexual vigour in some people. These almonds usually grow in the tropical regions of Asia, Africa and Australia.

Gokharu: Gokharu, or Tribulus terrestris, is a flowering plant found in warm and tropical regions. Studies have shown that Gokharu improves libido and spermatogenesis (formation of sperm). It also increases the levels of testosterone, luteinizing hormone, and other hormones that help in releasing sex hormone (dehydroepiandrosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate) in the body.

Oyster: Studies show that Crassostrea iredalei, commonly known as black scar oyster, can restore sexual drive in men.

Maca: Grown in the central Andes region of Peru and marketed across the world as Peruvian Viagra, Maca or Lepidium meyenii has been shown to improve sexual performance in men.

Tongkat Ali: Usually found in Indonesia and Malaysia, Tongkat Ali or Eurycoma longifolia root contains butanol, methanol, water, and chloroform extracts which have been shown to increase male virility and sexual prowess in some studies.

White sapota: Scientific name: Casimiroa edulis. This creamy white, apple-sized fruit grows in Asia and Central America. The aqueous seed extract of C. edulis possesses aphrodisiac properties and may help to restore sexual function in males.

Panax ginseng: As with many herbal remedies, this root is prescribed for a range of health benefits from protecting the heart to overall well-being. It is used worldwide in the hope to improve the symptoms of erectile dysfunction in men and low sexual desire in women.

Where the heart lies

Some foods have gained a reputation for being aphrodisiacal, but there isn’t scientific evidence to prove or disprove their effectiveness. We are listing them here because they may help some people set the mood - this is more important than we give it credit for.

Chocolates: Chocolates awaken the pleasure centres in the brain. It’s not for nothing that they are called a guilty pleasure. Though scientific evidence is divided on whether or not chocolates are sexy - especially for women - if they help to fuel passion between you and your partner, we say indulge.

Strawberries: If champagne and strawberries (and the image of Richard Gere from Pretty Woman) make you go weak in the knees, we say call for the bubbly and berries. Science, however, isn’t convinced that strawberries are aphrodisiacs - for men or women.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please see our section on Foods and Remedies to Increase Libido.

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