Style Sex & Relationships

Thursday 8 December 2016

A HISTORY OF APHRODISIACS

Katie Gunn

Published 13/12/2011 | 06:00

Nick Munier and Denise O'Brien in Pichet restaurant, Pix Ronan Lang/Feature File

Chocolate

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Legend says that the Mayan civilisation worshipped chocolate, believing it was "food for the Gods". The Aztec ruler Montezuma was said to have drunk 50 goblets of chocolate each day to enhance his sexual abilities. Scientists have since found that chocolate releases serotonin and phenylethylamine, chemicals which make people feel blissful.

Oysters

Because of their shape, oysters have thought to have been aphrodisiacs for thousands of years. They are known to be high in zinc, which has been associated with improving sexual potency in men. Romans documented oysters as aphrodisiacs in the second century AD. Recently, mussels, clams and oysters have been found to contain D-aspartic acid and NMDA compounds which may be effective in releasing sex hormones like testosterone and oestrogen. However, scientists have not determined whether there are enough of those compounds in the shellfish to make any difference.

Honey

Honey is often seen as a symbol of procreation. The word "honeymoon" got its name from mead, an alcoholic beverage made from honey, which was given to the happy couple on their wedding day.

Alcohol

Used throughout the ages, alcohol can set the mood for both men and women. Studies published from the 1994 British scientific journal Nature have claimed that the intake of alcohol can increase levels of libido in women. Alcohol is said to relieve shyness and unwanted inhibitions.

Bananas

And no, it's not just the shape. Rich in potassium and vitamin B, bananas are a feel-good food. They also increase blood-sugar immediately.

Chillis

Eating chilli peppers generates physiological responses in our bodies (eg sweating, increased heart rate and circulation) that are similar to those experienced when having sex. So they can be said to leave you hot under the collar in more ways than one.

Garlic

Said to increase blood circulation and hence libido. Although make sure both of you are eating it or it could have the opposite effect!

Strawberries

In recent years strawberries, often paired with Champagne and chocolate, have become a favoured aphrodisiac. Although no scientific proof exists as to their success in this department, the feeding of these luscious fruits to your lover possibly dates back to 1986 when the movie 9 1/2 Weeks was released.

Irish Independent

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