Lavender – An Aphrodisiac for Men

In popular imagination, aphrodisiacs are often seen as exotic substances which have the ability to send a person into raptures of sexual ecstasy. However most work on a more mundane level - either by physically nourishing the body so that it can have healthy sex or by preparing it psychologically to enjoy sex. Scents and fragrances like lavender work in the second manner, easing away stress, stimulating the senses and creating a pleasant atmosphere conducive to making love.

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About lavender

Lavender incorporates around 36 species of flowering plants of the genus Lavandula which belongs  to the mint family of plants, the Lamiaceae. Lavender is native to Mediterranean regions, south to tropical Africa and the southeastern part of India. Among the best known species of lavender are the Lavandula angustifolia or English lavender, Lavandula stoechas or Spanish lavender, Lavandula dentata or French lavender and Lavandula multifada or Egyptian lavender. The most commonly used part of lavender plants are the fragrant pale purple flowers and flower-buds which contain the essential oil, so highly valued in perfumery and aromatherapy.

How lavender works as an aphrodisiac

The key to lavender’s reputation as a love aid may lie in the sensual appeal of its fragrance. The flowers, buds and even leaves of lavender have been used for ages in recipes enhancing love and health. In recent times there have been several studies examining the impact of fragrances in sexual arousal of men and women. One such study conducted by the Smell and Taste Treatment Research Foundation based in Chicago exposed several human subjects to a variety of food aromas and then graded the level of their sexual arousal by measuring the blood flow to the genital regions of the participants. Interestingly the aroma which ranked as most arousing among men was that of pumpkin pie when combined with lavender. While the smell of pumpkin pie may have to do with subconscious memories of comfort food, the fragrance of lavender actually appears to be stimulating to men and thus an invaluable aid to creating the right mood for love.

Yet another way in which lavender can set lovers in motions is by its unique taste. Besides being a lusciously aromatic herb, lavender also makes for an extremely suggestive flavoring when used in the fresh, dried or infused state. A pinch of dried lavender boiled with equal parts of water and sugar and seasoned with a dash of lemon juice makes for a highly evocative love tonic which can go down brilliantly with an added shot of tequila. On the other hand, fresh sprigs of lavender added to a chicken or green salad makes not only for a healthier option but one that is remarkably aromatic as well.

In aromatherapy, the essential oil of lavender is reputed for its soothing effect and has been long used to treat stress, nervous tension, insomnia and even some types of psychological disorders. The remarkable thing about lavender is that it can induce a soothing sensations without impairing mental alertness or causing a hangover as most chemicals do. Stress and anxiety can be a dampener to the healthiest of libidos while impotence and low sex drive are usually traced back to tensions and negative emotions. By easing away performance-related anxiety or stress in a sexual situation, lavender can help to bring about a feeling of emotional upliftment and create the right mood for love.  

Ever since the ancient Greeks discovered the medicinal properties of lavender, the herb has figured prominently in traditional cures for pains and aches. It is believed to cure tension headaches and act as a pain reliever when applied in cases of minor burns, insect stings and bites. Lavender oil can be used as an ingredient in massage oils for relief from joint and muscle pain and even added to a vaporizer to aid the treatment of coughs and respiratory infections. By relieving the mind of stress and the body of several types of physical discomfort, lavender may induce a unique kind of pleasure in the body, thus acting as an aphrodisiacal both physically and psychologically.

Using lavender

As a herbal remedy, the buds, flowers and leaves of lavender are used either in the fresh or dried state. Dried lavender flowers and leaves can be made into herbal teas, infusions, tonics while the fresh parts can be used to season dishes like soups and salads.

An important product derived from the flower spikes of lavender is its essential oil which has a wide range of medicinal uses. For the treatment of skin conditions like sunburns or eczema, usually 10 drops of lavender oil are diluted with 25 ml of carrier oil and applied to affected areas. To bring relief in asthmatic or bronchial spasm, 1 ml of lavender oil and 5 drops of chamomile oil are mixed with 10 ml of carrier oil and rubbed onto the chest. To make an anti-lice rinse, 5-10 drops of the oil can be added to water while a few undiluted drops can be applied on a fine comb to eliminate nits.

Possible side effects of using lavender

Even though lavender is a soothing herb, excessive use in the form of oral supplements or essential oil may lead to certain adverse effects. Lavender oil should never be applied undiluted on the skin but always mixed with a carrier oil. In some individuals, topical applications of lavender oil may be toxic to the cells or lead to heightened sensitivity to light. Again use of the essential oil should be avoided in girls and boys below eighteen years of age because of the herb’s impact on sex hormones. For the same reason pregnant and breastfeeding women are best advised not to use the herb or its essential oil.

The remarkable aspect about lavender is that while its fragrance is loaded with a strong sensual appeal, it has a soothing effect on the mind and body. Again while the aroma relaxes and de-stresses the mind, it induces a pleasing physical sensation without making the body lethargic or sluggish. These unique properties of lavender make it can incredibly uplifting and at the same time mellow aphrodisiacal herb.