Wave a wand, cast a spell, bewitch a lover with aromatic essences and sweet-smelling balms! Since the beginning of time scent has been used to charm the object of one’s affection. Can scent really act as an aphrodisiac, awaken libido, arouse passion? Yes, say today’s researchers, who reveal that our olfactory glands are directly linked to the brain’s limbic system -- our "house" of pleasure, sex drive, memory and mood. Odors powerfully affect our brain-wave activity, heart rate, blood pressure, even muscle tension. Aphrodisiac scents stimulate those endorphins that make us feel relaxed, sensuous, euphoric.
When fragrance is worn as an elixir for love, it sends a subtle, yet potent message. Along with your own voice, your eyes and other unique features, your body possesses its own scent blueprint made up of pheromones, or sexual glandular secretions. Since human pheromones have even been found in incense plants, you might want to try mingling powdered sandalwood, cinnamon, cardamom and myrrh on a bit of burning incense charcoal.
The following essential oils and resins are said to be erotically stimulating: jasmine, clary sage, frankincense, ylang-ylang, black pepper, myrrh, rose, cinnamon, vetiver, neroli (orange blossom), cardamom, cedarwood, jonquil, ginger, sandalwood, violet leaf, nutmeg, vanilla, hyacinth, palmarosa, benzoin, mimosa, cumin and lemon verbena.
These plants (in tea or capsule form) can also be effective love aids: ginseng, Chinese angelica (dong quai), damiana, yohimbe, anise, fennel, fenugreek and ginger. As for foods, try honey, royal jelly, chocolate, vanilla, dates, figs, pomegranates and oysters to woo your sweetie.
To create a sensuous body potion, try making your own using violets, jasmine, honeysuckle or orange flowers; or use one of these recipes for your own private pleasure scent.
Attar of Aphrodite
Fill a small glass jar with fragrant plant material -- fresh or dried flowers, herbs, spices (see above). Try combining rose petals, cardamom seeds, cinnamon stick and lemon peel; or combine fresh ginger, dried patchouli and sandalwood chips. Pour vegetable oil (or almond, grape seed, hazelnut oil) over them to cover. Steep three to four days, then strain. If desired, repeat the process using a new batch of plant material.
Vamp Your Romeo
Fill a small bottle with one ounce (two tablespoons) of vegetable oil and 12 to 15 drops essential oil (try ylang-ylang with orange). Experiment by adding small amounts of honey, wine, rose water, vanilla, henna flower jellies. This velvety ambrosia can be lovingly massaged onto your partner’s skin for a romantic -- and fragrant -- evening.
Make more romantic magic by creating a fragrant love charm: Place five drops of a sultry essential oil (try jasmine or neroli) onto a tiny cotton ball. Then tuck the cotton ball under a hair barrette, behind a piece of jewelry or inside a camisole or bra.
Necklaces of natural seeds or wooden beads can be perfumed with a few drops of essential oil.
Tiny, smoky chunks of frankincense and myrrh, or spicy seeds of cardamom and allspice can be gathered into a hankie or sachet to tickle the fancy of your honey as you court and spark.