Turns out an apple a day can help keep the passion awake. Surprisingly, the numerous fruits we consume daily can help improve our libido and potentially improve sexual health and activity. Shocked? Poor or no sex drive is not a good sign for our health or relationships. But, as always, Ayurveda has got your back.
Ayurveda, the science of life, may date back thousands of years but has remedies and tips to deal with every situation related to our health, including sexual health and wellness. The Charaka Samhita considers a balanced diet, good sleep, and healthy sex and marital life - the three main pillars of a healthy life1.
Therefore, we must explore natural and Ayurvedic remedies, ingredients, and products that can stimulate sexual desires and improve performance naturally. So, let us not keep this aphrodisiac talk hush; instead, rush to the nearest fruit seller!
What are Aphrodisiacs? Why do we need them?
Sexual activity and desires are part of human instincts, essential for our survival, and nothing to be embarrassed about. Historically, it has been observed that humans' sexual drive and activity are likely to change. Recently, a study2 highlighted that around 43% of women and 31% of men suffer from sexual dysfunctions, including no or low sex drive, no pleasure, and other related problems. This lack of drive or sexual dysfunction is attributed to stress, lifestyle habits, medical conditions, etc.
So, what now? Luckily, some fruits, herbs, drinks, etc., can help improve libido and increase sexual desire, arousal, pleasure, and performance. These products are called Aphrodisiacs, and they work by offering anti-inflammatory, stimulating, relaxing, and strengthening effects and increasing circulation. The word Aphrodisiacs is derived from the word "ëAphroditaeí," the Greek Goddess of love3.
Ayurveda and Aphrodisiacs? Really?
“The man who seeks pleasure should resort to Vajikaran, i.e., vilification therapy regularly. The Vajikaran bestows contentment, nourishment, continuity of progeny, and great happiness. The medicines or therapy by which the man becomes capable of sexual intercourse with the woman with great strength like a horse, which endears him to women and which nourishes the body of the person is known as Vajikaran. It is the best promoter of strength and vigor.”4
Vajikarana,or Vrishya chikitsa, is a part of Ayurveda that talks about aphrodisiacs, virility, sexual excitement, managing the health of sexual/reproductive organs, improving the health of children, etc. Interestingly, Vaji in Sanskrit means horse, a symbol of potency5 and performance.
Ayurvedic texts suggest that a man looking for pleasure should recourse to Vajikaran. It demands the individual to live in strict adherence to the principles mentioned in Ayurveda. It is believed to bring nourishment, contentment, progeny, pleasure, and promote strength and vigor. By resorting to Vajikaran, and the remedies mentioned in it, a man can have the strength of a horse and be able to please their partners, which would nourish their body.
It includes various processes of body cleansing (shodhan) based on the individual's dosha, consuming herbs, minerals, etc. Other components of Vajikaran chikitsa involve massages with medicated oils and herbal baths, applying fragrant pastes, wearing fragrant garlands, indulging in music, etc
Charak Samhita mentions that by using traditional formulations and remedies, a person can become endowed with a good physique, strength, and potency. Several other Ayurvedic scripts cite how certain natural aphrodisiac foods, practices, and lifestyle changes can enhance sensuality and libido. Further, Ayurveda also mentions that since each individual's body is different and has different requirements, the effect of aphrodisiacs differs for each individual.
5 Ayurveda-approved aphrodisiacs fruits to add to your fruit baskets:
Apple: Apples or Sev are not just a fruit of temptation; there are many historical links between apples and love in Indian, Greek, and Biblical mythology. Apples are nourishing and are suitable for both men and women to improve their sex life. Apples contain high amounts of antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, and polyphenols that can boost blood flow to the genitalia and help with arousal6.
Recent research published in the Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics observed that eating one apple a day can enhance the sex lives of women. The researchers highlighted that phloridzin, a compound found in apples, has similar effects as the female sex hormone estradiol, which plays a significant role in sexual arousal. Ayurveda recommends eating an apple with honey, warm milk, cardamom, and saffron after dinner to reinforce sexual energy and help deal with premature ejaculation.
Banana: Banana or Kadali is not only a delicious fruit enjoyed by all; it is also a great source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, making them excellent aphrodisiacs. The Vajikarna property of bananas makes them an excellent fruit that increases vigor. According to Ayurveda, bananas can play a vital role in improving sperm count and semen quality, keeping the mind active, and maintaining enthusiasm.
According to experts, banana is rich in an enzyme called Bromelain7, which can help increase sex drive in males. The high potassium, vitamin B2, and riboflavin concentration can help increase and maintain energy levels. Ayurveda recommends that a person have 1-2 bananas daily to maintain good sexual health. Interestingly, the stem of the banana is a vital ingredient in the preparation of Madana Kameswari Lehyam, an Ayurvedic medicine used in aphrodisiac treatment.
Fig: Figs, also known as Anjeer, are rich in flavonoids, amino acids, antioxidants, fiber, etc. Fig has been associated with sexuality in many cultures. Its high seed count is associated with fertility. Interestingly, dietary fiber is excellent for maintaining good physic and healthy weight, thus helping a person feel sexy. A study published in 2015 highlighted that figs might aid in treating erectile dysfunction8. For females, figs are known to offer nutritional benefits that can help support overall sexual health. Fig is rich in folate, which is vital for fertility. Additionally, fresh figs contain traces of manganese and potassium9, which helps balance estrogen and progesterone level in the body. Having dried fig or drizzling a fresh fig with honey can be an excellent addition to increasing your libido.
Pomegranate: Due to its many seeds and presence of vitamin C, iron, and many other micronutrients, Pomegranate or Anar is associated with abundance and fertility. A study10 conducted in 2011 highlighted that consuming Pomegranate juice can improve testosterone levels in males and females, which can help increase sexual desires and enhance mood. According to Ayurveda, the Shukrala property of Pomegranate makes it a natural aphrodisiac and helps improve sperm count and semen quality. Some Ayurvedic records suggest that Pomegranate can help deal with erectile dysfunction. The latest research supports this claim of Ayurveda and attributes it to the high zinc levels in Pomegranate. Erectile dysfunction is often linked with zinc deficiency; Pomegranate, a rich source of Zinc, can help boost sexual health, improve blood circulation, balance healthy testosterone levels11, and reduce the chances of erectile dysfunction.
Watermelon: Watermelon, a summer favorite, is known to hold rich amounts of citrulline, a phytonutrient that can help reduce fatigue and increase the amount of nitric acid. Thus, Watermelon can help improve genital blood flow, sexual arousal and maintain sexual energy. Research suggests that high potassium concentration in watermelon can also help relax blood vessels and reduce the chances of erectile dysfunction12. Another research suggests that hydration levels can boost libido; therefore, watermelon, with its excellent hydration potential, can help improve your sex life. A glass of fresh watermelon juice or a slice of watermelon with a pinch of cardamom can offer excellent results.
Grapes: According to Ayurvedic texts, Grapes or Draksha are considered helpful for nearly everything and are famed as Drakshaa Phalottamma, which translates to "of all the fruits, grapes are the best." As far as grapes as an aphrodisiac is concerned, Ayurveda highlights that grapes have Vrushya properties, making them a natural aphrodisiac, that can help improve vigor. The latest research13 suggests that grapes can help stimulate sex hormones, estrogen, testosterone, and resveratrol present in grapes can help improve sperm health. They are a symbol of fertility and virility. To improve libido, a person can combine one cup of grape juice with one pinch of long pepper and drink it daily.
Considering the concept of Vajikaran, as mentioned in Ayurvedic texts, can help minimize sexual dysfunction and ensure a healthy progeny. Be it loss of libido, sexual desires, premature ejaculation, or erectile dysfunction14, and these conditions can greatly impact a person's mental, physical, and social being. While several over-the-counter medications claim to offer great relief, not all of them are effective and may cause more harm to the body. Therefore, to enhance our sexual life, we must return to Ayurveda and use natural bounties like fruits to improve our sex life and sexual health.
Acharya Vaidya Yadavji Trikamji., editor. Agnivesha, Charaka Samhita, with Ayurveda-Dipika Commentary of Chakrapanidatta. 5th ed. Varanasi: Chaukhamba Sanskrit Samsthan; 2001.