culinary aphrodisiacs, damiana, elixir, gifts, heart, herbal aphrodisiacs, herbal medicine, infused honey, kiva rose, love, lovers, recipes, relationship, rose, rosemary gladstar, valentine, valentine's day
I thought I’d share some of the more delicious material from my Love Potions class last night at Small Terrain. It was an intimate group of old comrades and new friends, gathered together to smell and taste a whole chest of aphrodisiacs… as well as chocolates, elixirs, flower essences and the ambiance of a most exquisite night. It was such a delightful way to start my Valentine’s celebrations! (as was the rest of my evening… when I got home I poured myself a glass of whiskey and watched How Stella Got her Groove Back. Doesn’t it feel amazing to dote on oneself after a “hard” days work?)
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I hope you are surrounded by passion, love, and simply divine creativity!
What are Herbal Aphrodisiacs? Strictly speaking, herbal aphrodisiacs are any plant material (flower, seed, root or leaf) that excites, nourishes, sustains, or elevates sexual or sensual desire. But the story runs much deeper than that…
How do Aphrodisiacs Work? Like sexual desire itself, aphrodisiacs work mysteriously, often in a myriad of complicated ways. Some herbs are known for their ability to excite sexual arousal by directly increasing blood flow to your sweet spots, by toning and tightening genital tissue, or by enhancing general bodily juiciness. Many of our most commonly known aphrodisiac herbs are tonics, affecting the imbiber over a longer period of time to increase health, stamina and an overall hearty willingness to get it on. In addition, some herbs help simply by relieving anxiety and quieting the mind, helping your body to cast aside stress and ease freely into intimacy.
Aphrodisiac Are Known To….
increase blood flow / relax as well as stimulate the nervous system / strengthen and tone the reproductive tract and other tissues / restore vitality and stamina / nourish the liver / balance hormones / support the endocrine system / calm anxiety/ stabilize mood / increase energy / nourish the heart / excite olfactory senses / increase sperm count and female fertility / calm digestion … the list goes on…
Where has all the Libido gone?
Common culprits: stress, depression, anxiety, pharmaceutical side effects, emotional disinterest, feelings of guilt or shame, lack of foreplay or compassionate communication, medical conditions and hormonal imbalance (for women, this often means decreased estrogen, which occurs naturally in the latter half of their menstrual cycle or during menopause)
How Do I Choose the Right Aphrodisiac For Me? Taste them, smell them, try them. Take a single herb by itself for a few weeks and see if you notice a difference. Why do you want to try herbal aphrodisiacs? There might be a specific type of aphrodisiac that your body and its spirit are calling out for. Is your sex life lacking luster because of overwork? Maybe you just need a good old-fashioned nervine. Are you simply looking for a bit more…ahem…enhancement? Check out some yummy stimulants. Are you feeling flagged, tired, or general unease? You should look into a nourishing daily tonic. Maybe your heart simply isn’t in it. Explore some comforting heart healers and flower essences. If you have any health issues or illness make sure you do your reading to rule out any contraindications. Above all, go with your intuition. We have a “gut” instinct for a reason….
Herbal Aphrodisiacs by Category
This method is ideal for fresh herbs or if you are in a hurry.
2. Pour your honey into a double boiler. (If you don’t have a double boiler you can easily create one by placing the ring part of the lid of a mason jar in a large pan. Fill with water until the ring is covered. Then, balance a smaller pot on top of the ring. The goal is to have the bottom of that smaller pot submerged in water, but not touching the very hot bottom of the pot containing the water).
3. Put your burner to medium/low heat. Once your honey is warm, add herbs and stir to distribute.
4. Let your honey sit for 1-6 hours. The longer it sits, the stronger it will be.
If you are leaving your honey for several hours, make sure to keep the smaller pot sitting in water. Add more water to your larger pot from time-to-time and don’t forget to stir! You want your honey to stay warm enough that you could comfortably put it on your skin.
5. When it tastes scrumptious, you are done. (Word of Warning: because the honey will be very warm, all the flavors won’t immediately jump out at you. Once it cools the taste will manifest 3-fold. If it’s still not strong enough for your tastes, try adding a fresh batch of herbs and reheating).
6. Strain your herb from the honey while it is still hot (once it cools down you ain’t ever gettin those herbs out). Use a piece of cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer and strain over a large bowl or directly into jars.
This method is lovely for any dried or delicate herbs
2. Put your herbs in the jar first and then pour honey over them. (It gets a lot messier the other way around)
3. Place your jar in a sunny window for one to two weeks…. or longer! If you’re feeling ambitious, turn the jar over each day to re-distribute the herbs.
4. I would recommending heating the honey just slightly in order to strain the herbs. (see above)
Elixirs are basically a fancy name for an alcohol and honey infusion. There are several different ways to make an elixir and, as for combinations, the sky is the limit. Check out One Willow’s Amorous Hours Elixir for inspiration…
Method 1: Separate but Equal
1. Make your infused honey (see process above)
2. Combine different tinctures (or just use a simple) to get the alcohol base.
3. Mix together your honey and tincture formula until it tastes just right. Fini!
Not sure how to make a tincture? Here is the fabulously easy folk method way of making alcohol extracts
1. Purchase the highest quality alcohol you can find (lots of people like using 190 proof vodka. If you prefer a milder extraction, try brandy or whiskey. If you plan on making a lot of tinctures I highly recommended buying pharmaceutical grade organic alcohol online. Alchemical solutions is a wonderful company!
3. Pour enough alcohol into the jar to cover the herbs. Cap, label and store in a dark place for at least 6 weeks. Visit your tincture from time to time to give it a little shake and a good snuggle.
3. If you are using dry herb fill you jar only ½ to ¾ with herb (only ¼ to 1/3 if its roots). Pour alcohol over the herbs to fill the jar (You want about a 1:4 ratio of herb to liquid. If you want to get real fancy, have 60% of that liquid be alcohol and the remaining 40% water. Since dry herb lacks water, it will expand and take up some of that extra fluid.)
Method 2: All Together Now
1. Fill a jar with your herb material. It doesn’t have to be completely packed, but it should be full enough that there isn’t much airspace (fresh or dry is fine).
3. Once the herb is coated, pour your alcohol in to fill the remainder of the jar.
4. Cap your mixture and put in a cool dark place for 3-6 weeks. (You can use plastic wrap underneath the jar lid to make sure no extra air is sitting at the top and to avoid that metallic taste)
5. Strain, or don’t strain. It’s all up to you. If you do decide to strain and want to heat the honey, just be aware that some of the alcohol content will evaporate off.
//Recipes for Culinary Lovemaking//
Damiana Spice Tea
1 part damiana leaf
1 part rose petals
1/2 part spearmint leaf
¼ each: cinnamon chips, licorice root, ginger root, whole cloves
<general tea ratio: 1 tsp-1 tbs dried herb per 1 cup water>
Sweet Heart Blend
1 part rose petals
1 part tulsi
½ part rose hips
½ part hawthorn berries
¼ each: ginger root, cinnamon & vanilla bean
Divine Love Honey Spice of Life Honey
1 part cinnamon 1 part cinnamon
1 part star anise 1 part ginger
1 part coriander ½ cardamom pods (if powder try ¼ ratio)
½ orange peel ¼ cayenne
¼ vanilla bean
1. Soak the damiana leaves in the vodka or brandy for 5 days. Strain. Reserve the liquid in a bottle
2. Soak the alcohol-drenched leaves in the spring-water for 3 days. Stain and reserve the liquid
3. Over low heat, gently warm the water extract and dissolve honey in it. Remove the pan from the heat, then add the alcohol extract and stir well. Pour into a clean bottle and add a dash of vanilla and a touch of rose water for flavor. Let it mellow for 1 month or longer; it gets smoother with age
4. To each cup of damiana liqueur, add ½ cup of chocolate syrup, 2 or 3 drops of almond extract, and a touch more of rose water
Recipe from Rosemary Gladstar’s book: Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health
Rose Petal Elixir
1 pint Mason jar
Fresh wild or domestic rose petals to fill your jar (make sure they have not been sprayed!)
A little less than 1 pint of good quality brandy (or vodka. if using higher proof booze dilute with 50% water)
Approximately 1/3 pint of raw honey
1. Fill your jar with fresh rose petals. They don’t have to be packed down, but they should fill the jar so that there isn’t a lot of empty space.
2. If you don’t have enough rose petals to fill the jar, you could add some bee balm petals, chopped fresh ginger, zest of orange, lime, or lemon, etc.
3. Next, add honey to coat the rose petals and fill about 1/3 of the jar. Add brandy or other alcohol to the top of the jar. Place plastic wrap over the top and then screw on your metal lid. (if you don’t your mixture might start tasting metallic. Alcohol and roses are particularly adept at taking on those flavors) Allow to sit in a cool, dark place for 3-6 weeks before using.
Check out Kiva’s other recipes and writing on her incredible blog: http://bearmedicineherbals.com/