Aphrodisiacs are certain foods believed to enhance passion and romance. They derive their name from ‘Aphrodite’, the Greek goddess of love; which makes their application kind of obvious.
Using foods and drinks to ignite desire is nothing new. People have been consuming a variety of foods over the centuries, believing that it will help them perform better or will make the experience more intense.
But, do they really work?
1. Not always sweet: The humble chocolate made from cacao beans has been touted as a magical sexual elixir for centuries. According to legend, Montezuma, an Aztec leader, drank nearly 50 cups of chocolate in a day. He believed all that chocolate will enhance his promiscuity (he probably only increased his insulin levels). However, it is not all hearsay, chocolate does have some scientific basis. Chocolate boosts serotonin and has phenylethylamine (a mood-lifting compound) and this connects them to stimulation and arousal.
The catch in this is that you would have to consume a sickening amount of chocolate if you wanted the total benefit. You would get an upset tummy before the chocolate starts working.
2. Alcohol is not your friend, not really: Alcohol has persisted as a mystic love potion for years. This is mostly due to the fact that ancient Persians who believed that if newlyweds drank mead (a fermented concoction of spices, berries, water and honey) for a month after their marriage, it promoted desire and fertility. The word ‘honeymoon’ originated from this practice and the belief that alcohol boosts sexual abilities started from here as well. There is actually no scientific basis backing this claim up.
While a glass of alcohol may help in the night getting started, too much of it actually has an anaphrodisiac effect. It can, as a matter of fact, decrease your libido.
3. Mythical oysters: The original playboy of Italy, Casanova swore by oysters and so do people now. But the effect of oysters is generally mythical, as no one is actually sure how it helps and how much of it will help. Casanova apparently ate 50 oysters a day, which will only make you feel really full and uncomfortable in reality (it could even warrant multiple trips to the bathroom).
However, oysters do contain zinc, which has been linked to increase the production of testosterone. As mentioned above, it still requires research as to how oysters really affect libido.