Do Aphrodisiacs Really Work? Here’s the Lowdown on Foods That Claim to Boost Your Sex Drive

From vitamin-rich fruits to ancient herbs, you’d be surprised by how many natural foods are good for your sex drive—something that has been shown to boost both your physical and mental health.

By Adarsh Soni
18 Dec 2021

Throughout history, there have been countless mentions of edible substances described as “love potions”. Hidden away in fancy little vials, these exotic herbal concoctions were known to enhance your libido—ultimately improving the quality of your physical and mental health. Our understandings of the phenomena are derived from folklore, mythology and superstitions. But what if we told you that these love potions actually do exist? Yes, we’re talking about food items that are generally classified as aphrodisiacs—a nod to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.

But don’t be afraid, we won’t be talking about the rare and bizarre ingredients that are usually advertised as an aphrodisiac. Instead, we’re focusing on commonly available food items that are scientifically proven to be good for your health and are recommended by experts throughout the world. Let’s have a look at some of the aphrodisiacs that you can easily incorporate into your everyday diet.



Saffron’s history as an aphrodisiac dates back to the Egyptian queen Cleopatra, who reportedly bathed in saffron milk for its aphrodisiac qualities. Recent studies have shown that saffron also helps increase sperm motility and can decrease some of the sexual side effects from taking certain antidepressants. A study by Dr Amirhossein Modabbernia, Psychiatric Research Center, Roozbeh Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran, observed that a group of men who took 30 mg of saffron per day for 4 weeks experienced greater improvements in erectile function than men given a placebo. While another study by Dr Ladan Kashani, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran found that a group of women that regularly consumed saffron experienced higher levels of arousal than the group that didn’t.


How to consume: Take a cue from your grandmother and prepare a delicious saffron milk concoction.



This juicy, heart shaped fruit was once popular for being a symbol of Venus, the Roman goddess of love, but what do the experts say? A study conducted by Dr Christina Bermeitinger, University of Hildesheim, Germany, aimed to evaluate the effects of common aphrodisiac fruits on a group of volunteers. They found that the participants who were informed that strawberries have an aphrodisiacal effect gave higher arousal ratings than participants who were informed that strawberries have an anti-aphrodisiacal effect. This might sound like a placebo effect at first, but surprisingly, these results could not be replicated with other fruits.


How to consume: Eat them on their own or drizzle them with some organic honey to tone down the sourness.


Related Story: These Foods Can Help You Get Brighter, Stronger Teeth



This peppery tasting leafy green might have gained mainstream popularity in recent years, but ancient Roman authors have been writing about its aphrodisiac qualities since the dawn of time—and science seems to agree. According to a study at Al-Nahrain University Baghdad, Iraq, in addition to boosting male fertility, arugula can help block out environmental contaminants that wreak havoc on our libidos.


How to consume: Prepare a delicious salad with some fresh Arugula leaves, apples and nutsor blend them into your favourite smoothie.



It’s a well known fact that Ginseng is a natural alternative treatment for low sexual desire and erectile dysfunction. But recently, the popular herb has been gaining popularity in the west. According to research by Dr Elizabeth West, Department of ObGyn University of California, USA, ginseng—is commonly used to treat a variety of ailments in men and women, including low libido and sexual function. While another study by Dr Kyung-Jin Oh, Department of Urology, Chonnam National University Medical School, Sexual Medicine Research Center, Korea, found that red ginseng may improve sexual arousal in menopausal women.


How to consume: Ginseng root can be steeped into a hot tea while commonly available powder can be added to soups and smoothies.


Related Story: Seven Adaptogen-Rich Foods You Should Add to Your Diet



Commonly known as Methi, fenugreek has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine as an aphrodisiac. According to a study by Dr S Sreeja, Cancer Endocrinology Laboratory, Rajiv Gandhi Center for Biotechnology, India, fenugreek appears to contain compounds that the body can use to make sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone. It is also known to boost sex drive in men experiencing low libido.


How to consume: Methi is a mainstay in Indian cuisine so you are probably already consuming it on a daily basis. But if you want to try something new, sprout them and toss them into fresh salads.



On Valentines Day, chocolates reign supreme—seriously, they are practically everywhere. But chocolate’s popularity extends way beyond the Hallmark aisle. According to research by Dr Astrid Nehlig, Faculty of Medicine, INSERM, Strasbourg, France, dark chocolate contains large amounts of antioxidant molecules, mainly flavonoids, most abundantly found in the form of a substance named epicatechin. These substances display several beneficial actions on the brain. And also help release dopamine—the feel-good chemical. Since low sex drive is often attributed to stress, consuming dark chocolate can significantly boost that by reducing stress level.


How to consume: Enjoy dark chocolate on its own or even better—prepare a delicious hot chocolate drink this winter.



Rumored to be Cleopatra’s favorite fruit, the erotically shaped fig has been associated with sexuality in almost every culture. When it comes to their nutrition content, these fruits are filled with antioxidants, flavonoids, fibre and potassium, making them an ideal mood stabiliser. In her book, Healthy Sex Drive, Healthy You: What Your Libido Reveals About Your Life, Dr Diana Hoppe, MD, says that figs are also thought to be a sexual stimulant, as they’re high in amino acids, which boost sexual stamina and increase libido.


How to consume: The best way to enjoy figs is raw, with the skin and seeds intact. But you can also caramelise them and eat with vanilla ice cream for a quick dessert.


Related Story: What Your Urologist Wants You to Know



Follow Us On Instagram