A taste in Ayurveda represents the elements
from which it is formed. There are six such
tastes: sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and
astringent. Aphrodisiacs are almost exclusively
the domains of the sweet taste, which is formed
from the water and earth elements. Some examples of aphrodisiac foods include cane sugar,
clarified butter, pure, unprocessed milk, almonds, cashews, raisins, and the pungent exceptions such as garlic and onions. Other substances such as dates and saffron, when mixed
with warmed milk or almond milk, can give immediate rejuvenating effects both prior to and
after the act of making love. In fact, replenishing the body after sex is highly emphasized and
includes at the very least, a glass of cool water
(never cold in Ayurveda).
In terms of herbs, the most effective ones are
those which fall under more than one category of aphrodisiac. Among these are the well-known ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and
shatavari (Asparagus racemosus). What may
not be as well known is that both are good for
both sexes. Knowing which to take and when
can be tricky as is unique to each individual. For
they not only act as virility and fertility increasing herbs (both rasayana and vrishya) but also,
in proper preparation, can have an immediate
action, the vajikarana effect.
Perhaps even more powerful is Sariva or Indian
Sarsaparilla, also known as Anantamula, or “that
which is the root cause of bliss.” Other popular
Ayurvedic medicinal herbs would include vidari
(Pueraria tuberosa), vacha (Acorus calamus)
and gokshura (Tribulus terrestris). Additional
and very powerful in their own right are kitchen
herbs like licorice, nutmeg, ginger and saffron.
There are, in fact, many more herbs, showing
the diversity in the need for aphrodisiacs. So
much so that there is a whole limb of Ayurveda
devoted to them. Often it is in the compounding of these herbs that the perfect formula lies.
Ayurveda is very much about creating personalized medicines. It is understood that what may
work brilliantly for one, may not work at all for
another. In general, of course, you can rely on
tried and true formulas such as Banyan Botanical’s Men’s Support and Women’s Support.
Other factors that require consideration include
the prerequisite of cleansing the body and its
channels for maximum results. Some causes
of debility are old age, apprehension, disease,
excessive strain, fright, sorrow, malnutrition,
dislike, and overindulgence. Addressing these
causes, rather than trying to force an aphrodisiac into an overly loaded system, will ensure
greater pleasure in the long run.
Arun Deva is a Ayurvedic practitioner, yoga teacher and therapist
based in LA. Yogarasayana.com