Add a little spice to your love life by adding some aphrodisiacs to your next recipe or as an accompaniment to your next dinner. Aphrodisiacs are ingredients which can help in boosting libido in men and women by affecting the mind of the physical body.

1. Chili peppers

To help heat up the atmosphere at your next dinner together, add some hot chili peppers to your recipe! Capsaicin, the molecule that gives the chili peppers the spiciness you taste, stimulates nerve endings on the tongue to send pain signals to your brain. Your brain responds by releasing epinephrine, which you may know as adrenaline, and “feel-good” chemicals called endorphins, which are natural opiates. Epinephrine helps increase blood flow and gets your heart rate up, which also help to reduce fatigue and give you a boost of energy. It also makes you look more attractive by dilating your blood vessels, to bring more color to your skin and making you sweat, to give you a glow. Endorphins help relieve the pain you may have (headaches, stomach cramps) and puts you in a good mood.
Recipe ideas: stuffed habanero peppers, tacos with spicy chipotle salsa, pizza with jalapeno toppings

2. Ginseng

Forget the wine pairing. For your dinner, tonight, try some ginseng tea. True Panax Ginseng helps boosts physical stamina. It has also been shown to help with controlling blood pressure and aiding in blood flow. In both men and women, ginseng also helps promote the production of corticotrophins, which stimulate the release of corticosteroids – a hormone that helps with increased brain activity in response to stimuli, in particular, the hippocampus, amygdala, and frontal lobes, regions responsible for emotional responses.
Recipe ideas: ginseng chicken soup, ginseng ginger tea

3. Maca Root

The maca root, like ginseng, also helps boost physical stamina. It also has been proven to help improve libido in women who are post-menopausal and men with low testosterone levels. In women going through menopause, their symptoms of headaches, hot flashes, and anxiety were decreased, while their sex drives increased. Although results were inconclusive for this claim, many people believe that maca can greatly increase fertility in men by boosting sperm counts. The maca root can easily be found in many health food stores or ordered online in its powdered form.
Recipe ideas: hot chocolate with maca powder, maca cake

4. Ginkgo

This herb helps increase production of endorphins in the brain, in particular dopamine – which is associated with feelings of motivation, sexual arousal, gratification and satisfaction, and reward. In addition, it also helps promote the amount of epinephrine normally released in a reaction. Like the chili pepper, this will help increase blood flow and increase your heart rate, giving you an extra kick of energy. The ginkgo is also prescribed in some ayurvedic medicine for erectile dysfunction due to its aide in helping with blood flow and increasing dopamine levels. The ginkgo nut has a nutty, soft, waxlike texture when boiled.
Recipe ideas: Ginkgo nut soup, fried rice with ginkgo nuts, ginkgo nut rice pudding

5. Puncture Vine

The puncture vine, also known as the Tribulus, is another herb that has been shown to be an aphrodisiac. The Tribulus contains a compound called protodioscin, which is what gives its all its medicinal properties. This herb has been used since ancient times to help boost libido in men with low testosterone. It has been shown to decrease the effects of erectile dysfunction in men by helping with blood flow and heart rates. In addition, many bodybuilders and athletes use this herb because it provides them with an extra boost of energy and may promote muscle growth and recovery.
The puncture vine is a supplement and usually sold in its extract form. It is not used in recipes for cooking, usually, but maybe you can find a way to incorporate it into your meal.

The next time you make your recipe for two, make sure you try to incorporate some of these ingredients or herbs. However, keep this in mind: aphrodisiacs are not a magical ingredient that can immediately solve your sexual problems and turn you into a machine. They help enhance what you already have and give you an extra kick. People respond differently to each ingredient, so what works for you may not work for your significant other, vice versa, so take some time to find out what you like or dislike and what helps you. Happy cooking!

All images from pixabay