Aphrodite, the goddess of love, wore a perfumed belt to bewitch her preys. Not a desperately expensive designer gold belt, no. The one we are talking about was aphrodisiac and so powerful to seduce all males – gods and mere mortals – that horrible Hera herself borrowed it. Such amazing might gave a kick start to the libido enhancers trend, with spices ranking in the top ten. From The Bible to The Kama Sutra, and The Perfumed Garden, the concept of boosting sex appeal with plants went viral. From the Pillars of Hercules to Pount, from the Middle Eastern Ports to the beaches of Cuba or Kerala, sailors travelled the seven seas to find them.
Some spices were known for their powerful libido stimulation. Various studies today confirm that a number of them actually work, in different ways, to arouse you.
A small amount of chili, ginger, curry and a few pepper corns are enough to flavour the humblest dishes and transform them into an explosion of savours, totally turning your taste buds upside down. A fiesta of the senses, triggering unexpected reactions in your body going berserk. When the brain registers the warning signals, it tries to stop the fire started by the spices by sending an SOS to your mucous membranes, speeding up your heart beats and blood circulation, making you sweat and accelerating your endorphin production. Long after the burning sensation, endorphins leave you with an incredible feeling of well-being. Other spices stimulate the olfactory area in your brain, which triggers desire.
And, as Jean-Baptiste Grenouille said in Perfume: “He who ruled scent ruled the hearts of men.” A whiff of vanilla makes you salivate and dream of white sandy beaches, coconut trees and blue lagoons. A hint of coriander summons the animal sensuality of a handsome muscular male. A pinch of cinnamon coaxes the little grey cells.
In other words, after a lovely meal subtly flavoured with these spices, you are in a state close to Nirvana. So much so that you wonder if using them is at all legal.