Valentine's Day 2012 is coming up, so prepare by learning about these five aphrodisiacs that really work.
Valentine's Day is the most romantic day of the year, but if you're looking to be sure you and your crush have a great V-Day, these five true aphrodisiacs reportedly really work, and could set the tone for a great evening of romance.
Though flowers, cards, dinner and jewelry are sure to make any Valentine happy, these five items will go a step further, and help ensure your night goes as well as you're hoping it will.
Five true aphrodisiacs that really work:
1. Chocolate: Scientists have found a proven link between two chemicals found in chocolate and increased romantic desire. Though is not a huge amount of those two compounds (tryptophan and phenylethylamine) in your average truffle, there is a direct connection between cocoa and the brain's pleasure centers, meaning that cheap box of Russell Stovers you've had laying around since last Valentine's Day could finally be worth breaking into.
2. Oysters: Shellfish of all stripes has been linked for centuries to aphrodisiac properties, but it appears that oysters have actually been proven to have a palpable effect on the libido. The root of this finding, according to scientists, is the fact that the slimy crustaceans contain a significant amount of zinc. Zinc helps the human body control progesterone levels, and a deficiency of zinc is associated with impotence in men. In other words, slurping down a couple of oyster shooters this Valentine's Day may not be the most appetizing idea, but it is a good idea if you're looking for a true aphrodisiac that really works.
3. Nuts: This may sound crazy, but a wide range of nuts have been tagged as having aphrodisiac properties, and a few of them -- particularly walnuts and pine nuts -- have been used in love potions for centuries. Cola nuts are considered aphrodisiacs by the people of Madagascar (maybe that means you should drink a Pepsi this Valentine's Day, too?), and almonds are used in beauty products because their smell has soothing and aromatic properties that are often described as aphrodisiacal. A number of varieties of nuts are also high in zinc, which as we explained in the section on oysters, means they can be good for romance, too.
But the most truely aphrodisiacal nuts, if you can find them in your local Asian food market, are gingko nuts. Used to this day in Chinese herbal medicine for a range of stimulatory purposes, they are strong antioxidants, meaning they revive the body and stimulate blood circulation, both of which are good for romance. But you may have a hard time getting your loved one to eat gingko with their box of chocolates.
4. Horny Goat Weed: This may sound like a joke, and many people say it has no effect whatsoever. But the truth is that science shows that this weed, which was first used in ancient Chinese traditional medicine after a shepherd discovered that his flock became randy after eating it, is a true aphrodisiac that really works to increase sexual desire and performance in men. The weed works, scientific research shows, by inhibiting the PDE-5 enzyme, mimicking the effects of Viagra and other impotence drugs. This drug -- or a pill sold as such -- can be found in convenience stores and liquor stores, but your best bet is to go to an herbal medicine supply store, where you actually know what they are selling you.
5. Celery: This may be the most surprising of these aphrodisiacs, though it has been believed by some cultures for many years that celery has aphrodisiac properties. But the scientific body of evidence rules in favor of the ancient belief, as research now shows that celery contains androsterone, a hormone men naturally produce that has the ability to stimulate the female libido. This may be another difficult food to get your significant other to chow down on this Valentine's Day, but if you want to kill two birds with one stone, whip up some strong bloody Marys (see bonus below), and drop a couple stalks of celery in each. Or you can just go with the old after-school favorite of ants on a log.
Bonus!! - Alcohol: If none of the above set your Valentine's heart aflutter, there is always the creepster high school standby: alcohol. We are kidding, but a few mixed drinks never hurt anyone's chances. From peach schnapps to strawberry vodka, alcohol is known to loosen inhibitions and bring out the best (or worst) in everyone, so maybe add a glass -- or bottle -- of wine to the menu for Valentine's Day 2012. And white wine is actually known for its aphrodisiac qualities, meaning this is not only a joke, but perhaps you should still take our bonus aphrodisiac suggestion with a grain of salt. Or on the rocks.