Throught the years, men and women have searched for the perfect aphrodisiac.
Listed below, are the oldest aphrodisiacs in use throughout the centuries.
Ever wondered where the term "honeymoon" came from? In ancient Persia, newly hitched couples would drink honey and water every day for 30 days to ensure their marriage began fruitfully. There’s some wisdom in the folklore: honey is full of sugar, which provides sustained energy for those horizontal activities.
And if you’ve overdone the bubbly, eat a spoonful of honey before attempting bedroom gymnastics. "It’s believed that honey can help to sober drunken people up," says nutritionist Amanda Ursell. "The fructose speeds up the oxidation of alcohol in the liver, thereby cleansing the system more rapidly." Try this: take a vitamin E tablet along with wholemeal toast spread generously with honey. It’ll help you stay frisky, Sting and Trudie-style, for up to 4 hours.
Communities in the Himalayas are crazy about pine nuts. They also (allegedly) have high birth rates - could there be a connection? Possibly. As small as they are, pine nuts are power houses of protein, which is responsible for boosting hormone levels. Try this: dry-fry a handful of pine nuts over a low heat, shaking the pan regularly until they’re evenly browned. Cool. In a bowl, mix 250g wild rocket, 199g crumbled Stilton and one ripe pear, cut into cubes. Sprinkle the pine nuts over and add balsamic vinegar and cracked pepper to taste.
In France, feeding three courses of asparagus to the bridegroom at the prenuptial dinner was once an integral part of the wedding. No wonder these long, slender - and, yes, phallic - stalks are known as the food of love. They contain potassium, which is needed for maintaining good water balance in the body, but best of all, it’s a mild detoxifier, so if you’re accompanying your adult activities with plenty of wine you’re less likely to wake up next to your beloved the next morning looking like Walter Matthau if you incorporate this in your meal.
Try this: Natalie Savona, nutritionist and author of Kitchen Shrink (Duncan Baird), recommends serving scrambled eggs with asparagus for a sexy brunch. Trim ten asparagus spears and steam until tender. Place in bundles on a plate and add scrambled eggs on top. Shave Parmesan over, plus a twist of black pepper. Serve with buttered rye toast.
"Our psychological reaction to food is based on smell, taste and appearance," says Cassandra Lorius, author of Tantric Secrets (Thorsons). "So anything remotely phallic is enough to get your imagination and pulse racing." We are confident that ginger can be filed under "remotely phallic" and its spicy scent increases blood circulation to the extremities, too, making it an ideal stimulant to add to your dinner à deux. Best of all, ginger has anti-bloating properties so you’ll avoid post-prandial belly - never a good seduction look.
Try this: serve crystallised ginger after dinner to gear up for the rest of the evening’s activities. Prepare your own with this easy recipe. Line a large tin with greased baking paper. Boil 450g sugar in 175ml of water in a heavy based saucepan. Boil until the sugar begins to caramelise around the edges. Stir in 110g of root ginger. Immediately pour onto the paper and leave to cool. Cut into small cubes.
The Aztecs called it "nourishment of the gods"; those Aztec gods must have been a happy bunch. Chocolate contains ingredients that cause the brain to release serotonin, the hormone responsible for feelings of relaxation and pleasure, similar to our response to falling in love - or lust. Chocolate with a high level of cocoa is supposedly more effective, so pick dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids) over the lighter options.
Try this: as well as bolstering your loved-up frame of mind, chocolate is also high in magnesium (good for muscles and nerves) and boasts more antioxidants than red wine. So share a guilt-free bottle of shiraz and a box of soft centres with the significant other in your life.
A whiff of vanilla is said to put men in a warm, fuzzy mood when the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that controls memory and emotion) recognises the scent, most often associated with feelings of nurturing and security from early life. Not the most obvious sexual stimulant, but who can deny the advantages of getting your man in a pliant mood? A spritz of vanilla scent plus a sprinkling of vanilla seeds in your after-dinner crème brûlée and he’ll be putty in your hands.
Try this: for a sexy, summery start to the day, put one mango, 125g punnet raspberries, 450ml ice-cold semi-skinned milk, the seeds of 1 vanilla pod and 1tbsp manuka honey into a blender and blitz until smooth. Serve in a tall glass with two straws and some strawberries.