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Sometimes - not often, but sometimes - and especially later on when the Spirit is as strong as ever but the flesh has become a tad weak, it may be that one could use a little boost in the more delicate matters of love. Here then are a few herbal potions which have been handed down through the ages by the keepers of the flame of Life and Love
Herbal Love Potions:
Damiana has a long reputation in folk medicine as a woman's aphrodisiac, and some of my favorite herbalists recommend it for enhancing desire. The best way to take it is in a tincture. Dissolve 1 teaspoon in some warm water, and drink about an hour in advance of your romantic encounter. You can also make a tea from dried damiana leaves -- 1 teaspoon to 1 cup boiling water. Steep, covered, for 10 minutes.
Cordyceps is a mushroom that has been shown to improve arterial blood supply, suggesting that it also promotes blood flow to the sex organs. Other studies show it has effects similar to the steroidal sex hormones. It comes in capsules, and my favorite brand, Golden Lily, is available at traditional Chinese herb shops. It's good for both of you, and is also excellent if you're recuperating from illness or just plain burned-out. Take 3 capsules (250 mg) three times a day. You can also try a single dose of 4 capsules an hour before your tryst.
Herbalist Aviva Jill Romm recommends a romance tea for enlivening your love life. The herbs in this spicy brew stimulate blood circulation, which can enhance arousal.
1 tablespoon grated gingerroot
2-3 cinnamon sticks
4-5 black peppercorns
Gently simmer these herbs in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes. Strain and add a little milk and honey, and if you like, 1/4 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Share this tea with your lover after a romantic meal (spicy, to get the blood flowing) and see what happens!
The Sex Herb
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a vigorous palm that's native to the southeastern U.S. Colonial planters noticed that cows and pigs that reached beyond their corrals to eat the berries grew unusually healthy and fat. They resisted illness, had richer coats and readily put on flesh. In time, doctors started to use it to increase the strength and weight of patients who needed to put on pounds after an illness.
Doctors now use saw palmetto to normalize sex hormones; they found that it increases sex drive in women and revitalizes their reproductive organs. The herb has been called "old man's friend" because it slims down an overgrown prostate. It's used in younger men to increase sex drive and remedy atrophied testicles. Oddly, it's prescribed both for those who crave sex too much and for those with no sexual appetite at all. I rely on saw palmetto in my clinical practice. I find that my patients turn up looking sleek and well and feeling, shall we say, fully operational.
Male Sex Hormone Helper: Shifting hormone levels in men can lead to a swollen prostate and declining libido. A string of convincing human clinical trials suggests that saw palmetto relieves conditions caused by changing hormone levels, most notably symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and poor sex drive.
Good Medicine For Muscles and Joints: As we age, our joints are prone to painful inflammation. One study revealed that saw palmetto contains compounds that directly inhibit inflammation. Aging muscles also tend to lose suppleness and vigor. When saw palmetto is used regularly, muscles plump up. I find that saw palmetto makes an ideal supplement for those whose moving parts are not moving so well.
Lose the Fur: The female body produces male and female hormones. Some women overproduce male hormones (androgens); this can lead to hirsutism, or excessive hair growth. As estrogen levels drop off at menopause, the condition can worsen. Saw palmetto has been shown to block the effects of androgen and may be a solution for women experiencing excessive hair growth.
Fountain of Essential Fatty Acids: If the Fountain of Youth really existed, I'd bet that it would flow with essential fatty acids (EFAs). These oils are critical for skin, hair, nail and organ health. The body requires EFAs to build new cells. Replacing old, worn-out cells efficiently is the key to youthfulness -- and the good news is that research reveals that saw palmetto berries are rich in EFAs.
Using Saw Palmetto
Take the herb twice a day.
Dried berry -- two 500-mg tablets
Tincture 1:1 -- 20 drops
Tincture 1:5 -- 1 teaspoon (5 ml)
Capsule -- 160 mg standardized to 8:1 liposterolic extract
Stay Strong and Vibrant
Angelica (Angelica sinensis) is used by Chinese women to keep them strong and vibrant from puberty on. Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believe that angelica makes periods less painful, enables conception, eases childbirth and helps ensure an easier menopause. Though the herb is used specifically to maintain healthy, young-looking skin, hair and nails after menopause, research and clinical experience reveal that angelica's activity is more than skin deep.
Digestive Stimulant: Digestive difficulties can arise as we age, with the culprit often being insufficient digestive enzyme production. Angelica turns on the digestive juice glands, from the mouth to the stomach.
Sex Hormone Booster: For some women, menopause is more than just hot flashes and mood swings. Skin may become less supple, muscles less resilient and joints less forgiving. Angelica is used to treat symptoms of diminishing estrogen levels. In clinical practice, women have reported reduced hot flashes, increased sex drive and improved skin quality. In studies done on animals, researchers have noted that angelica activates estrogen-dependent cells, which suggests that this herb may have an estrogenlike action.
Immune System Stimulant: Immune function lessens with age. With fewer immune cells patrolling the body for foreign invaders (bacteria and viruses) and cancer cells, we become more vulnerable to infection and cancer. Researchers have found that angelica stimulates the production and activity of immune cells.
Free Radical Soaker-Upper: It isn't free - but it soaks up free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals produced by some foods - mostly fried stuff - which can accelerate the aging process by damaging the body inside and out. Angelica compounds have been shown to bind to circulating free radicals, thereby rendering them harmless.
Women should consider taking angelica at menopause, then continuing for life. Take it three times a day.
Dried root -- two 500-mg tablets/capsules
Tincture 1:1 -- 20 drops (1 ml)
Tincture 1:5 -- 1 teaspoon (5 ml)
Caution: Angelica thins the blood. Do not use this herb if you have bleeding disorders and/or take medication that thins the blood.
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