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Aromatics as Aphrodisiacs: Healing Through Intimacy

Some of our oldest cultures have used herbs and essential oils to experience a heightened sense of intimacy for centuries. The Asians used opium. The ancient Egyptians used aromatic plants topically and in bathing rituals. The Polynesians drank kava kava to enhance their experience. Using plants was a colorful and rich way to transcend the boundaries of everyday life for intimacy’s sake.


In some of these cultures, the connection that came with sexual ecstasy was also one of a spiritual nature. The plants enhanced people’s relationships not only with each other, but also with the Spirits and Gods. The energy created was thought to be healing and enlightening.


So how does this translate to what Americans need for intimacy? How can aphrodisiacs improve our lives? If we look closely at nature’s aphrodisiacs, we see a direct connection between stress, impotency and frigidity. While there are many reasons people have problems connecting sexually and intimately, what stresses us is a good place to begin.Read more…


Aromatics as Aphrodisiacs

One can be quite successful in using plants internally for stress and as aphrodisiacs. But in my experience, essential oils are more effective. Scent changes mood, and pushes a person to let go of stress immediately. It facilitates intimacy more quickly too. How? The olfactory lobe of the brain is part of the limbic system; this area controls sexual desire. Messages are sent hormonally from the brain to corresponding organ systems in less than a second. The spine releases, allowing a euphoric state of relaxation to occur.


The Essential Oils

While there are many oils that increase sexual desire, the following are some of my favorites. But I encourage you to explore others as well.


Citrus oils are light and uplifting. They make us happy, and each fruit does so in its individual way. By themselves, they are not considered aphrodisiacal oils, but in combination with oils that are, they find powerful placement in helping us mentally and emotionally let go, and go up. They also balance and lighten the scent of the formula.


Examples are orange and sweet mandarin – joyful scents that calm and lighten the spirit. They inspire us to let go of worry. Orange soothes, and helps take our minds off the events of the day. Sweet mandarin is sedative, and quiets the chatty mind. Sweet mandarin is also specifically indicated for anxiety.


Spices are absolute must haves in aphrodisiacal formulas. They are stimulating to the senses, and increase physical sensation. I also think of them as blockbusters. If there is an emotional, physical or spiritual block that won’t open, the fire of the spice pushes right through. By doing so they make way for the other oils to go in and do their work. And while many aphrodisiacal oils are calming and sedative, the spices counterbalance that and stimulate circulation and the nervous system. Using a spice helps keep the mind alert, and the body stimulated while relaxation is felt in the appropriate places.


My favorite spices for aphrodisiac formulas are cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. Cinnamon is sweet, ginger spicy, and cardamom pungent. These spices stimulate the heart to open. They increase lung circulation, which is something that the Mayans noticed about impotency and frigidity; asthma and lung weakness are considered to be a spiritual illness associated with sexual dysfunction.


Patchouli is not my favorite oil on its own, but I have a fondness for it in a formula. It is powerful oil spiritually. I sense that it inspires feelings of oneness. Patchouli is uplifting, and often used in anti-depressant formulas. It sedates the nervous system, instills a euphoric feeling and is a potent aphrodisiac. The scent is strong and musky.


Sandalwood, though endangered, when found ethically distilled is a very important healing agent. It has a sweetness of scent that helps us remember life itself is sweet. Sandalwood is a wonderful aphrodisiac. It also helps us process grief, while still being capable of connecting intimately with others. It reminds us that intimacy is not just about our sexual relationships. It is about our emotional connection to living things. It helps us move past our fear of loss, and reminds us that emotional connection is safe.


Clary sage is not often thought of as an aphrodisiac. We mostly hear of its calming and sedative effects. It is a tonic to the nervous system, and eases the effects of stress on the body over time. Some believe that sclareol, one of its chemical constituents, has estrogenic effects. I would agree. This is why it is contraindicated for pregnancy until close to due date. It is also contraindicated in epilepsy. The scent is intoxicating, comforting and euphoric. Combine with rose to make a great blend for sex after childbirth, or when there has been sexual trauma. It helps women move through the fear that came as a result of the trauma or stress. Clary sage helps a person deal with the fear associated with trauma, while rose helps with the anger. It has been used successfully to treat frigidity, is calming, sedative and specifically indicated for anxiety. Rose is a scent that motivates us to seek the desires of our hearts. It gives us confidence to heal, and move beyond our stress.


Ylang-ylang is sweet and fun. Its scent is similar to jasmine, but without the huge price tag! It is a very effective aphrodisiac. It creates feelings of euphoria, calms nerves, and is specific for anxiety. It regulates cardiac rhythm and breathing when slow and rapid. It softens the spirit and the heart.


Choosing Your Oils and Making Your Potion

Essential oils create an alternate reality through scent. Scent encompasses and transports you. The experience begins in the formulation process: when you choose your oils and put them together one drop at a time, your energy begins to shift.


For the most part, it is wise to choose oils for your formula that you like the smell of and you believe are specific to your needs. But I always remind people that if you don’t like the smell of something alone, you may like it in a formula with other oils. I also find it interesting that we sometimes have an aversion to that which we need. Adding one drop of that oil into our formula shifts something in our energy field in a positive way.


You can concoct your own formulas, but here are a few sample combinations to get you started. Remember that essential oils need to be diluted in a carrier oil before application (grape seed oil, jojoba oil, almond oil etc.). Sometimes it is good to practice making formulas with small amounts of carrier oils; 1 ounce is a good starter amount. A good dilution is about 2%, that is 12 total drops of essential oil in 1 ounce of carrier oil. I recommend smaller amounts of spices, as these can be skin irritants when used in higher quantity. For one ounce, about 3-4 drops should do it. Rose and patchouli are especially powerful scents. It only takes about 2 drops in 1 ounce of oil; otherwise they will take over the formula.


– Orange, sandalwood, cinnamon, rose

– Ylang ylang, sweet mandarin, ginger, patchouli

– Cardamom, rose, clary sage

– Orange, cinnamon, ginger, patchouli, sandalwood


How to Use Your Formula

Creating a formula for application is a great way to incorporate touch into a relationship. Touch is something that is lacking for most people in our society and in many of our relationships. When simple touch is brought back, it does wonders for the libido.


Making bath formulas is also a nice way to de-stress. It is soothing, calming, and warming. Be sure to apply the essential oil formula to your body before stepping into the tub. It is more therapeutic, as the oils absorb into your skin instead of floating on the water.


An essential oil formula for diffusion is another option if you have a diffuser. But if not, I’ve found that topical applications and bath formulas are actually better for use as aphrodisiacs. You still smell them, as the heat from your body will cause the scent to rise.


Drugs: Not for the Long Term

Drugs for impotency or frigidity come with both a high price tag financially and with contraindications. Aromatic plants, or herbs when used under the supervision of a trained herbalist, can be as effective. And unless you are dealing with Yohimbe, a commonly used male potency herb that has the same side effects as Viagra, the side effects and contraindications are minimal to none.


Drugs and plants won’t solve the root of the problem. If intimacy is an ongoing problem in your life, perhaps just touching someone isn’t the best answer. Building or strengthening a relationship is often an emotional gateway to where you really want to be. Finding yourself more fully in your body is often an important step: find an enjoyable way to move your body, such as yoga or walking. Get bodywork, or go to the chiropractor to get physically balanced. Visit an herbalist or acupuncturist to rebalance organ systems. Go out on a limb and see someone reputable who practices spiritual healing. You never know what might be affecting you in your energy field. Make a deal with yourself to do something about your level of stress or distress, so the stress stops interfering with who you are.

As we’ve found by the most effective essential oils, and mirrored in the belief systems of many ancient cultures, deep relief is found in our emotional, physical and spiritual bodies. Intimacy is a powerful path to healing, and sex is just one piece of that. The plants show us the multidimensional and many layered process of healing. Our problem may seem straightforward and simple, but when we look deeper, there is often much more to the story. We can, however, incorporate some simple tools to make our journey kinder on our spirits and to facilitate the healing. Aromatherapy is just one of those tools.

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