Not too long ago, I dreamed I jumped
into a swimming pool filled with rice pudding. It
is one of my favorite desserts and while I was researching
this article I soon found out to my delight that rice pudding
is one of the aphrodisiac Ayurvedic super foods that nourish
the shukra dhatu (the reproductive system).
For thousands of years, humanity has experimented with countless
possibilities in an incessant search for new substances to
enhance lovemaking or to promote longevity.
In the ancient healing tradition of Ayurveda
– which literally means the “science of life or
longevity” - sexuality was important enough to devote
a whole branch of medicine to its study. This special branch
of medicine is called vajikarana in Sanskrit.
Vajikarana means 'that which strengthens
the body by reinvigorating the sexual organs'. The Ayurvedic
point of view is that by increasing the strength of the sexual
organs the overall health of the body is maximized. The secondary
effects of this are increased fertility for both sexes, and
heightened enjoyment during lovemaking.
The Chinese also maintain a similar view.
However, the Chinese system often uses the genitals of animals
and insects to increase the strength of the reproductive organs.
Aside from being disgusting this practice has disadvantages
both psychologically and physically. Ayurveda achieves better
results by using special plants and foods that not only increase
vigor to the reproductive organs but also promote health and
Those who are not particularly interested
in enhancing their love life, but nevertheless want to look
and feel radiant, glowing and youthful should know that many
of the vajikarana herbs and foods used for their aphrodisiac
effect will also have a positive effect on the overall health.
There is a value in enhancing the shukra dhatu, which means
the reproductive organs. Shukra has a dual function, not only
producing the sperm and ovum but also ojas, the finest product
of digestion. Ojas creates vigor, bliss, lightness, stamina,
immunity, luster in the skin, sparkle in the eyes, and clarity
of mind. Ojas is vital to the health and happiness of everyone.
Anyone who wants mental clarity, immunity, and spiritual well-being
will find these recommendations useful, because they enhance
the shukra dhatu and thus enhance ojas."
I suppose that any food that is natural,
healthful, fresh, attractive to our eyes, mouthwatering, tempting
– that is, that has the same virtues one looks for in
a mate- would be aphrodisiac. Some aphrodisiacs function through
analogy, like the vulva-shaped oyster or the phallic asparagus;
others by association because they remind us of something
erotic. In general anything with a French name seems aphrodisiac.
Serving mushrooms with garlic isn’t all the same as
champignons a la Provencale. In Sanskrit Ayurvedic herbs are
named after their alleged properties, such as Ashwaganda which
is translated as “strength of a horse”, or Shatavari
which means “possesses a hundred husbands”. I
will talk about aphrodisiac herbs later and will first mention
foods (including my beloved rice pudding) that can maximize
your metabolic potential and thus enhance sexual radiance.
Please consult with a certified Ayurvedic practitioner, however,
if you would like to know the appropriate foods for your dosha
Foods For Vitality and Sensuality
According to Ayurveda:
Fresh, organic fruits and vegetables
* Whole grains
* Dairy proteins, including milk, lassi, and panir (a fresh
cheese made of milk)
* Mung dhal
* Almonds, Walnuts, Sesame
* Sweet, juicy fruits such as mangoes, peaches, plums, and
* Dried fruits such as dates, figs, and raisins
* Stewed apples for breakfast
* A banana cooked in ghee, cinnamon and cardamom which is
a tasty and wholesome dessert for people with strong digestion
Foods that Specifically Enhance the
* milk (organic, whole)
* aloe vera
* rice pudding
In general, it's important to eat a wide variety of foods
in order to receive all the essential nutrients. Keep trying
new vegetables and fruits, and rotate your menus to make sure
you're not eating the same thing day after day.
Before vajikarana herbs are administered, a person's body
must be purified. First, the diet is improved according to
the person's dosha, then a more disciplined lifestyle is recommended--including
the adoption of a calmer mind, positive outlook and spiritual
It should be noted that aphrodisiacs cannot be taken if the
body is unhealthy or full of undigested food matter (i.e.,
toxins or ama). A person should be in good health to benefit
from the use of these herbs. Below are only a few of the many
vajikarana herbs available:
Ashwagandha was historically used as an aphrodisiac.
Ashwagandha is mentioned in the ancient Kama Sutra as an herb
for heightening sexual experience, Ashwagandha has the ability
to restore sexual health and improve overall vitality while
promoting a calm state of mind.
Laboratory studies show Ashwagandha produces nitric oxide
which is known to dilate blood vessels.
Ashwagandha is categorized as a rasayana, which is used to
promote physical and mental health, to provide defense against
disease and adverse environmental factors and to slow the
Shatavari is a member of the asparagus family; its name means
"one who possesses a hundred husbands" in Sanskrit.
A special tonic for women, shatavari nourishes shukra dhatu
and increases fertility and the capacity for lovemaking. Shatavari
has rejuvenative effects on the female reproductive system,
and possesses a sattvic quality as well as enhancing feelings
of love and devotion. Shatavari also helps generate healthy
reproductive fluids and blood and can help regulate a woman's
menstrual cycle. It can be used during any time from puberty
Kumari (Aloe Vera)
Kumari - Literally means 'like a young girl or virgin'
as it imparts the energy of youth to the reproductive system.
Dose is one tablespoon of gel once a day (with a little ginger
powder if needed).
To this day many of the East Indian women use it to maintain
beauty and counteract the symptoms of aging.
Gokshura (tribulus terrestris) is another botanical commonly
used to enhance libido. It has long been used in traditional
Chinese and Indian medicine for various ailments and has been
studied in animals with encouraging results. Researchers concluded
that “tribulus terrestris’ extract appears to
possess aphrodisiac activity probably due to the testosterone
increasing property of tribulus terrestris.” Tribulus
also is known to decrease levels of prolactin in women. An
increase in prolactin is associated with reduced libido. Licorice
Root Licorice is famous for creating balance and
synergy in herbal formulas. It also acts on the glands, especially
the adrenals to optimize hormone levels. The adrenals produce
sex hormones and are directly involved with a healthy sex
drive. Lowered adrenal function can lead to loss of libido,
less energy and poorer sexual response.
Any of these herbs can cause physical or
psychological imbalances if taken incorrectly and should be
recommended by a certified Ayurvedic practitioner.
Ward, L.Ac. is cofounder of The Prana Center,
Santa Barbara's exclusive healing center for Ayurveda
and Chinese Medicine,
offering authentic Ayurvedic bodywork, marma therapy, consultations,
nutrition, acupuncture and Pancha Karma cleanses. She is a
Licensed Acupuncturist, Diplomate
of Acupuncture, Diplomate of Chinese Herbology and an Ayurvedic