The Aphrodisiac That Really Works


Rate this Article: 

Average: 2.7 (7 votes)
Christine Schultz
Cupid Love

Since the beginning of time, it seems, people have gone above and beyond to try the latest love potion. Do any of these so-called aphrodisiacs have any real effect? Read on and you’ll be surprised…

The more exotic, the more erotic

History is full of stories of ordinary people using bizare stimulants for their love live: powder from the horns of rhinos, bat blood mixed with whiskey, crocodile dung … you get the idea.


People have hoped for sexual euphoria since ancient times. In fact, the very word, aphrodisiac, comes from the Greek goddess of love Aphrodite, who has inspired cultures throughout the ages to achieve her legendary heights of delight. For example:

  • Pliny the Elder recommended hippopotamus snout and hyena eyes.
  • Horace touted dried marrow and liver.
  • In Elizabethan times, prunes were so highly regarded as aphrodisiacs that they were served for free in brothels.

The Science of Infatuation

The possibility of death, presence of danger, and even secrecy can spark erotic urgency. But so can the brain chemical called phenylethylamine (PEA). This is a stimulant (related to amphetamine) that the brain releases in the early stages of infatuation. It’s the revver-upper that allows us to stay awake all night and lose our appetites.

PEA races through the system of the thrill seeker, allowing the adventurer to feel alert, self-assured and ready for whatever challenge awaits. For those men who need more help, we offer some tips from the great romantics of the past: 

  • Casanova championed oysters.
  • Napoleon treasured truffles.
  • Popeye performed manly feats on a can or two of spinach.
  • The Mharajah of Bikaner ingested crushed diamonds.
  • If all else fails, go forth and make yourself rich, or powerful, or the caretaker of a baby, for there are women who say these traits are most alluring.


Do love potions work?

In 1989, The US Food and Drug Administration banned advertisers from promoting pills or potions because testing had shown that none worked no matter what the contents—whether fennel or dried beetle bodies.

Any that appeared to work did so only because the user believed they would—the stimulant lay only in the users’ mind. In other words, it’s the imagination that creates its own exciting possibilities and the body that leaps forward to fulfill the fantasies.

Is Chocolate an Aphrodisasic?

Chocolate contains PEA as well as another chemical that’s related to sexual arousal, so you can see where the idea came from. However, the amounts are so small that scientists have been unable to link chocolate with sexual arousal. Once again, it’s all in the mind … or, we just haven’t proven the link. You decide.


The Last Stimulant You’ll Ever Need

Love is the most magnificent of aphrodisiacs. Although it is certainly no more easier to get a hold of than some of these potions, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper and more environmentally-friendly.

Before you spend money on the goods, spend the time on your partner. Otherwise nothing will work. In the words of Prince Charles, who was recently offered an arousing cup of camel’s milk: “Fat lot of use it’s going to be to me now!”


Adapted from an article in the 1996 Old Farmer's Almanac

More From The Almanac


Add new comment



Love makes time pass, Time

Love makes time pass,
Time makes love pass.

Find a little love in your hearts

True love grows stronger with time. If one defines true love, of course, it must include respect, consideration, loyalty, and gratitude for the other. I hope you all find this one day.

Free Almanac Newsletters

Almanac Weekly Companion 

The General Store

Almanac Recipe Box