9 Surprising Aphrodisiacs

When you think of aphrodisiacs, you probably think of oysters or chocolate. But these foods aren’t the only ones that might help you get in the mood. There are many other excellent foods, herbs, and natural remedies that help spark some romance. And with Valentine’s Day being the day of love (and incidentally, the day my husband and I married 20 years ago!), couldn’t we all use a little romance in our lives?

9 Surprising Aphrodisiacs

1 & 2. Beets and Beet Greens

Both beets and beet greens are good sources of the mineral zinc, which are needed for healthy male sexual function. According to research published in the Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences researchers found that moderate doses of zinc enhanced male sexual health, reduced the likelihood of premature ejaculation, increased ability to maintain sexual activity for longer periods of time, and improved testosterone levels which help a man to get in the mood. Additionally, beets and beet greens are excellent sources of potassium. A deficiency in this mineral has been linked to erectile dysfunction. Firm tofu and hemp seeds are also good vegan sources of zinc.

3. Cherries

A powerhouse of nutrients, cherries, as well as most other red-colored fruits like berries, contain plentiful amounts of flavonoids. These naturally-occurring compounds have been found in research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition to reduce the incidence of erectile dysfunction.

4. Cordyceps (cordyceps militaris)

A prized mushroom for its many health functions, cordyceps is also known as caterpillar fungus and has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine as a lung and kidney tonic and for loss of stamina, fatigue, shallow breathing, wheezing, and as an aphrodisiac. According to mycologist, herbalist, and author of The Fungal Pharmacy, Robert Rogers, “(the mushroom) has a spicy, cinnamon fragrance that lends itself to soups and broths.”  If using cordyceps in capsule or supplement form, 600 mg/day is a common therapeutic dose. Be sure to choose a supplement that is a 5:1 extract to ensure a high potency product.  Select one that is confirmed organic cordyceps sourced from a clean location. And always check with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.

5. Lentils

You’re probably wondering how it is possible that these tiny legumes could offer any aphrodisiac benefits. Since lentils are among the best sources of potassium, which can help address any potassium deficiency underlying erectile dysfunction, they may be helpful. One cup of cooked lentils contain 731 milligrams of potassium.

6. Pine Bark Extract

Research in the medical journal Rejuvenation Research found that pine bark extract, in combination with the amino acid l-arginine, was effective at treating erectile dysfunction. Follow package directions for the supplement you select.

7. Rose Essential Oil

Aromatherapists have been recommending rose essential oil for its alleged aphrodisiac properties for many years. But until recently there has been little research done on the oil to determine if the recommendations were warranted. In a study on sexual dysfunction in women suffering from depression, published in the journal Pharmacopsychiatry, researchers found that rose was effective at improving sexual desire, orgasms, and satisfaction in women. The authors of the study cited a previous study that yielded similar effects in men. Instead of just waiting for roses this Valentine’s Day, you might want to plug in your aromatherapy diffuser and add some rose essential oil to transform the mood.

8. Sweet Potatoes

According to research published in the medical journal Vascular Pharmacology, potassium deficiency has been linked to erectile dysfunction. Most adults need 4700 mg of potassium, which is fairly easy to get in a healthy, well-rounded diet, yet the average man gets only 3200 mg and the average woman gets only 2400 mg daily. One medium baked sweet potato with skin on contains about 694 milligrams of potassium.

9. Watermelon

According to researchers at Texas A& M University, watermelon may stimulate more than your taste buds. The scientists found that watermelon contains a variety of ingredients that collectively stimulate blood vessels and may increase libido in men. Watermelon contains a nutrient known as citrulline, which in its conversion to the amino acid arginine, helps to prevent fat accumulation in the cells including those in the blood vessels. During this conversion to arginine, the body’s stores of nitric oxide increase, helping to improve penile blood flow.

Related at Care2

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM shares her food growing, cooking, and other food self-sufficiency adventures at FoodHouseProject.com. She is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, founder of Scentsational Wellness, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: The Cultured Cook: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight & Extend Your Life. Follow her work.



heather g
heather g5 months ago

No Cordyceps for me, thanks. I'll stick to lentils, beets, cherries and sweet potatoes.

Richard E Cooley
Richard E Cooley5 months ago

Thank you.

Angela K
Angela K5 months ago


Barbara S
Barbara S5 months ago


Elinor Dorrian
Elinor D5 months ago

Interesting about the lentils.

Linda W
Linda Wallace5 months ago

Thank you. I did not know that we needed that much potassium.

Marija M
Marija M5 months ago

tks very much

Danuta W
Danuta Watola5 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Mia B
Past Member 5 months ago

Thank you for sharing

Angeles Madrazo
Angeles M5 months ago

Thank you