Though I’m not personally big on “Hallmark” holidays like Valentine’s Day per se, I’m ALL about celebrating love … every day and the ‘side effects’ that come along with it. Bliss, euphoria, joy, and a natural high. And herbs can be our allies to heighten these feelings whether or not we’re in love.
Some of the best aphrodisiacs, mojo boosters, and mood elevators come from the jungle. Of course, all areas of the globe have their set of aphrodisiacs, it's fascinating how the jungle holds some of the most potent and popular ones out there. Below are some of my all-time favorite mojo boosters that have been used for centuries by indigenous peoples around the world to spice up your life.
And, you can find all these precious plants within our apothecary, and in many of our formulations! Below are a mix of adaptogens, that help set the tone for the long run, like Ashwagandha and Suma, and those that bring it on faster, like Catuaba and Guarana. When mixing your blends, keep in mind the energetics of these plants if you're looking for long term, or short term mojo/mood boost.
The name of this herb isn't a coincidence!
Horny goat weed is considered to be a traditional staple amongst herbal aphrodisiacs. According to legend, Horny Goat Weed got its name after a goat herder noticed his flock becoming unusually sexually aroused after eating the herb. Horny Goat Weed contains a compound called Icariin, which has been shown to have Viagra-like activity and can promote stronger longer lasting erections. Icariin is a PDE inhibitor, so in men, it keeps the blood flowing more effectively in the right place by opening up the blood vessels.
With any herb, always speak with your doctor. According to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, horny goat weed does come with some risks. Do not consume before an operation, as it is a blood thinner. The herb can also lead to sweating or feeling hot, but more research needs to be done on the effects.
Suma (Brazilian Ginseng), “Para toda” meaning “For all things” otherwise known as a ‘heal-all’ herb. Though many other ginsengs also boost libido and energy, we’re highlighting Suma.
Suma has been used by indigenous people as a rejuvenate, for energy, and as a sexual tonic and calming agent for eons. Its uses range from a general tonic, adaptogenic, fight chronic fatigue + exhaustion, boosts libido + helps sexual disorders, steroidal + immunostimulant. It also balances hormonal disorders, is anti-cancerous + lowers cholesterol, and is an immunomodulator.
This incredibly nutrient-dense plant has been called the “Russian secret” as it is taken by athletes to increase muscle building + endurance without side effects like other steroids.
A study on animals suggests that extract from the root may increase sexual activity and ejaculation in sexually sluggish or impotent male rats. Another study reported that in male and female mice, that these extracts may have increased levels of sex hormones, such as estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone. Those sex hormones do play an important role in libido, ovulation, sperm production, and erectile function. Therefore, increased levels of these hormones may be linked to improved fertility.
Who doesn’t love its smell and taste!? Due to the intensive labor that goes into producing Vanilla, it’s also one of the most expensive spices in the world per oz. Vanilla’s flowers are hand-pollinated, and the bean pods are ripened, dried, and conditioned to create their special flavor and distinct smell.
Beware of synthetic vanilla made from wood pulp and coal tar that’s often used as a substitute. Sure, synthetic vanilla is less expensive, but it doesn’t offer the plethora of health benefits that real vanilla does, like ours!
Traditional practices around the world have found a number of wide-ranging therapeutic uses for vanilla, including as an aphrodisiac, to aid with gas relief, help curb sugar intake. Studies have shown that both the flavor and aroma of vanilla can offer some health benefits. Vanilla has a calming effect on newborns born prematurely who smell vanilla before and during a blood test. The smell of vanilla also lessens crying in newborns.
Smelling vanilla can have calming effects on adults too. It can reduce startle reflexes and also provide some relief from sleep apnea, a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts.
Ashwagandha is one of the most famous adaptogens which help your body manage stress. It has many health benefits including boosting brain function, lowering blood sugar and cortisol levels, and helps fight symptoms of anxiety and depression.
It has been used for over 3,000 years to relieve stress, increase energy levels, and improve concentration. In Sanskrit, Ashwagandha is for the smell of the horse, which refers to both its scent and its ability to enhance strength.
Studies suggest that Ashwagandha supplements can boost testosterone and increase fertility in men. In one study in 75 infertile men, the group taking ashwagandha displayed increased sperm count and motility. Additionally, taking Ashwagandha led to a significant increase in testosterone levels.
In another study, men who received ashwagandha for stress experienced higher antioxidant levels and better sperm quality. After 3 months of treatment, 14% of the men’s partners had become pregnant (how miraculous!).
Tribulus Terrestris is said to have a variety of health benefits, including reduced blood sugar and cholesterol, altered hormone levels, and increased sexual function and libido.
Tribulus grows in many places, including parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. From root to fruit this entire plant has been used medicinally in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda medicine. Traditionally, people have used this plant for a variety of potential effects, including enhancing libido, keep the urinary tract healthy and reduce swelling.
Today, Tribulus terrestris is widely used as a general health supplement, as well as in supplements that claim to increase testosterone levels.
The Guarana (Paullinia Cupana) plant has been an ally to the Indigenous peoples of Brazil for its medicinal qualities well before the country became colonized. South American Indian tribes (especially the Guaranis, where the plant's name is derived) dry and roast the seeds and mix them into a paste with water, making a chocolatey kind of drink for energy and medicinal uses.
European researchers began heavily studying guaraná (in France and Germany) in the 1940s, finding success with indigenous uses to cure fevers, headaches, cramps, pain, and as a potent energy tonic were well-founded. Guaraná is used and well known for its stimulating and libido-boosting properties. It was often prescribed by local medicine people for those with low sex drive, impotency, and “anorgasmia”( difficulties in experiencing orgasms). In the United States today, guaraná is known to increase mental alertness, fight fatigue, and increase stamina and physical endurance.
Studies have also demonstrated how it's very protective against the damaging effects of stress, because of its highly preventive nature against premature aging-which is one of the many reasons it has been paralleled to being an undiscovered adaptogen.
Presently, guaraná is taken daily as a health tonic by millions of Brazilians, who believe it helps overcome heat fatigue, combats premature aging, detoxifies the blood, and is useful for intestinal gas, obesity, dyspepsia, fatigue, and arteriosclerosis. The seed is also used for heart problems, fever, headaches, migraine, neuralgia, and diarrhea. Guaraná has been used in body care products for its tonifying and astringent properties.
Contraindications: Please refrain from using if you have an overactive thyroid or suffer from anxiety and/or panic attacks.
Muira Puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides) also called "potency wood" is a small tree that grows to 5 m high and is also native to the Brazilian Amazon as well as other parts of the Amazon rainforest. Native peoples in the Amazon use it for neuromuscular problems, sexual debility, rheumatism, grippe, and cardiac/gastrointestinal weakness. It's also valued there as a preventive for baldness.
In Brazilian herbal medicine, Muira Puama still is a highly-regarded sexual stimulant with a reputation as a powerful aphrodisiac. It is recommended there for the treatment of impotence and dysentery. Since its entry into the global market in around 1960, it’s been used in Europe to treat impotence, infertility, nerve pain, menstrual disturbances, and dysentery. In Germany, Muira Puama is used as a central nervous system tonic, menstrual disturbances, and rheumatism.
Master herbalists, like Donald Yance, and other Brazilian scientists have also regarded this as an undiscovered adaptogen for its powerful anti-aging nature, as well as its protective nature against oxidative stress.
Contraindications: It has no noted side effects- however, as with many sexual stimulants, it can slightly raise blood pressure.
*This is one of the main ingredients in our Euphoria Elixir. If you’d like to experience this herb individually, contact us!
A vigorous-growing small tree from the upper Amazon. Catuaba (Erythroxylum vaccinifolium) is perhaps the most famous of all Brazilian aphrodisiac plants. The Tupi Indians in Brazil first discovered the potency enhancing qualities of the tree and over the last few centuries, they have composed many songs praising its wonders.
An infusion of the bark is used traditionally by indigenous people in Brazil. In Brazilian herbal medicine today, Catuaba is considered a central nervous system stimulant with aphrodisiac properties. A bark decoction is commonly used for sexual impotency, agitation, nervousness, nerve pain and weakness, poor memory or forgetfulness, and sexual weakness. It’s known to stimulate sex drive and increase blood flow, particularly in the genitals.
Shortly after ingestion, most people will feel a tingling sensation along the spine and a sensual feeling all over the body. The skin and genitals become more sensitive. It is certainly suitable for those looking to give the love life department a boost.
Many of you know this beautiful aromatic shrub native to Mexico. Damiana (Turnera diffusa) was recorded to be used as an aphrodisiac in the ancient Mayan civilization, as well as for "giddiness and loss of balance." A Spanish missionary first reported that the Mexican Indians made a drink from the damiana leaves, added sugar, and drank it for its purported power to enhance lovemaking.
Damiana has a long historical use in traditional herbal medicine around the world. It is thought to act mainly as an aphrodisiac, antidepressant, tonic, diuretic, and cough-suppressant. It has been used for centuries as a classic tonic for depression, anxiety, sexual dysfunction, debilitation, bed-wetting, menstrual irregularities, gastric ulcers, and constipation.
Since 1888, Damiana has been recorded within scientific literature and was traditionally used by Doctors between 1888-1940 to improve sexual function in both males and females, as well as for its positive effects on the reproductive organs.
Cacao (Theobroma cacao) has an incredibly long history as a love food. Passion for cacao began in Mesoamerica as a highly-prized luxury item among Mayan and Aztec upper-class elites. Cacao was worth its weight in gold and even used to pay taxes levied by Aztec rulers.
The reason why chocolate is associated with Valentine's Day is that it releases oxytocin when eaten - the same hormone that the brain releases when people are hugged or kissed.
Commonly referred to as the ‘food of the Gods’, raw Cacao (not to be confused with cocoa, which is highly processed) is not only the highest food source antioxidant on the ORAC scale, but also contains the stimulating aphrodisiac theobromine, mood-boosting serotonin, and tryptophan, and a huge amount of phenylethylamine aka PEA (the ‘love chemical’, due to its ability to increase dopamine).
Also, it is one of the most potent food sources of magnesium. Dopamine, like serotonin, is a neurotransmitter with slightly different functions. Dopamine plays a significant role in the prevention of Parkinson's, promoting feelings of pleasure and reward, attentiveness, memory, motivation, and sleep. It is the PEA in cacao that contributes to the ‘high’ we receive from it, and can mimic the feeling we get when we have completed a good sweat session or the feeling of being in love.
*Due to the massive supply of cacao on a planetary level, the farming of this precious tree can be very toxic, and even contain lethal heavy metals. It’s vital you source clean and excellent cacao. Our heirloom cacao is all organic, heirloom, and heavy metal-free.*
Contraindications: Those intaking MAOI antidepressants or those with serious heart conditions should consume with care, and speak with a healthcare practitioner.
Read more about the magical properties of cacao here.
This beautiful blue flower was once highly revered by the ancient Egyptians. Said to be native to the Nile, has also been found in the rainforests of Asia, including in Mexico and in Guatemala by the Maya.
Blue Lotus (Nymphaea caerulea) was used as a sacred sacrament in ancient Egypt and used in sacred ceremonies to induce states of relaxation and euphoria. Although you’d think the extensive amount of carvings depicting this flower was due to its beauty, it was regarded as one of their prime medicines used within ritual, a rite of passage initiations, as well as special celebrations of specific harvests, etc.
Depending on the dosage and potency its effects can range anywhere from sedative effects, to feelings of euphoria, sexual stimulation, and due to its pineal gland activation, it can induce deep states of meditation and deep dreaming.
Read more about this mysterious flower here.
Also known as “velvet bean” and "dopa-bean", is a legume that grows in the tropics ranging from Asia all the way to Central-South America. In Indigenous cultures within Central America, it's referred to as “Nescafe” as traditionally it was made into a paste and served as a coffee-like beverage. The bean has been used for centuries for its mood-regulating, and euphoric enhancing effects.
Mucuna has an almost magical ability to improve motivation, well-being, energy, and sex drive. Mucuna is a secondary adaptogen (yet to be officially coined as one due to a lack of research within the subject area). Adaptogens are healing plants that regulate hormones and helps the body to better adapt to stress.
Specifically, Mucuna Pruriens contains high levels of naturally occurring L-dopa, the precursor to dopamine. Dopamine is a key brain chemical that plays a major role in our ability to feel motivation, experience pleasure, sleep well, a clear mind, and experience a broad spectrum of emotions. Without enough dopamine in our body, we might feel exhausted, lethargic, confused, and even depressed.