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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Love Potions - by Rebecca Veenstra

     I once heard a female comedian talking about how things change in our lives as we get older. “Sometimes in a woman’s life she might prefer a nice piece of chocolate and a book to a night of wild love-making.” A woman from the audience immediately yelled out “Heck, I’ll take a plate of broccoli and a root canal!” I can’t help but chuckle at that one.

But it’s true... even for you guys out there. Sometimes we just aren’t in the mood right?

     So, are love potions real? Is there some concoction that you can make for your sweetheart... or yourself...that would ignite the libido and send you racing to the bedroom? There are many tales through out history of conniving vixens and wicked kings ensnaring their true loves with potions and superstitions.  I read once that in the middle ages a blend of spices including coriander and cinnamon traditionally served in liquor at weddings was banned because it stimulated the libido too much. Most of what is written about love potions through out history is riddled with superstition.

     We seem to embrace superstition as a culture when it comes to love.  What girl hasn’t plucked the petals from a Daisy while singing “ He loves me, He loves me not.”  My Grandma used to say that if you put a four leaf clover in your shoe you would meet your true love. Another old wives tale claims that if you know who your true love is then you might follow him or her and place marigold blooms in their footsteps. 

     These silly notions sound bizarre and there’s no scientific proof that they work, but the idea has carried on through the ages regardless. Only in fairy tales do they really work though. In real life our true love doesn’t often show up to place marigolds in our footsteps.

      So, if your intentions lie a little short of true love and you are just looking to heat things up for the evening the medieval love concoction might be just the thing. They weren’t too big on showers back then. So, I imagine a little cinnamon would have gone a long way in the scheme of things. But seriously, cinnamon’s aphrodisiac properties have long been renowned.  Coriander also has been reported to put a bounce in your step. One way to incorporate these two spices might be a hot,steaming cup of Chai tea.  The aromatic properties of these herbs contribute largely to their effect. In fact, I read a study once where men were exposed to different scents and asked to report the smells that most aroused them. Apple pie won with a resounding hands down.

     Of course, cinnamon and coriander also increase blood flow. When our capillaries are dilated with blood it increases our skin temperature which also increases sensitivity to touch. Spicy foods like ginger and cayenne can create a similar effect. So maybe you want to put together a nice spicy meal for your some one special this Valentines day.

     Other foods that have reported aphrodisiac properties are avocado and celery. Actually if you look up foods with aphrodisiac properties you will find a wide variety of things listed from strawberries and kelp to fava beans. It makes me think of that scene in 9 1/2 weeks. Kind of like a smorgasbord. I suppose when people are looking to mix things up they will try anything.

     Back to that book and piece of chocolate though-- I won’t be signing up for the root canal and broccoli any time soon-- but there is something to the idea of relaxing and taking a little time to unwind. They say dark chocolate is a wonderful aphrodisiac. Chocolate increases the nervous system’s dopamine levels because it contains a compound that mimics the same type of hormones our bodies release during sex. There is some scientific evidence to support the strawberry thing too. So, chocolate covered strawberries should definitely be on the menu.

     The point being though that when a person gets a few minutes to unwind and enjoy a little down time-- especially with chocolate-- there’s a chance they might be find themselves in a romantic mood.

     Through the centuries there have been endless references to cannabis and it’s potential to liven things up in the bedroom. It goes with out saying that cannabis relaxes a person and puts them into a more supine state. The occasional good fit of giggles can get things started sometimes too. Many people have reported that they felt the use of cannabis enhanced their experience.

     The 1984 edition of the Journal of Sex Research published that “over two-thirds (of participants) reported increased sexual pleasure and satisfaction with marijuana use. About half of both sexes also reported increased sexual desire while using marijuana. Emotional closeness and physical enjoyment of snuggling were also enhanced.”

     When it comes right down to it though, the real aphrodisiac is happiness. No doubt that when you really think about it, the best times you have had were when you were relaxed and happy. So, if pepperoni pizza makes your special some one happy, then you are probably on to something.

     I’m not saying you shouldn’t whip up a batch of spicy tacos with avocado for dinner. Maybe you feel you need to back it up with a chai tea, or gingerbread dessert... or apple pie. You could dim down the lights and set out a little plate of chocolate covered strawberries... maybe a little cannabis infused chocolate if that’s your thing.

     Just beware though, because after all that you will both have taco breath and probably be so sleepy you won’t feel like doing anything. There’s the old person in me again... don’t laugh. Someday you will be old too.

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