Aphrodisiacs are a rare type of curiosity. The urge to try them strikes some when they need them and others just because they want a boost. In any case, their long, trusted ability to enhance arousal has persisted throughout history.
If you find yourself perusing options, you might hesitate to instantly opt for a synthetic, pharmaceutical solution that comes with a set of unsavory side effects, and depending on your situation might be overkill.
Its understatement to state it is worth taking the time to look into time-tested natural alternatives.
There are few better places to start or finish than peering into the history of Chinese medicine. The culture has a millennia-long tradition of looking at nature and finding the best ingredients to boost libido and help better perform in bed.
In this guide, we will take you through some of the most effective aphrodisiacs that have been in use in the Middle Kingdom for centuries and that you can still easily find on the market.
While a few Chinese aphrodisiacs’ benefits are only attributed to them by folklore, many of them have been proven to have positive effects on libido, and general well-being and, in some form, are approved and trusted as supplements even in western markets.
So without further ado, here are our top picks of Chinese herbs and delicacies that will help you get your mojo on.
1. Horny Goat Weed (淫羊藿)
Horny Goat Weed is an herb with a self-explanatory name and a rich history behind it. According to Chinese folklore, it was discovered by a farmer 2,000 years ago, who noticed that his goats tended to be more willing to copulate after he’d fed them this herb. Ever since then, it’s been a staple Chinese aphrodisiac.
It is known for increasing blood flow and being able to help alleviate erectile dysfunction as well as offering an increase in sexual desire. It is also allegedly useful against memory loss and fatigue and is said to reduce bone loss in postmenopausal women.
You can find this herb in both tonic and pill forms, and more authentic Chinese markets may have unprepared, dried variations as well.
2. Ginseng (人参)
Ginseng is one of the most widely known and well-trusted herbs that have been popularized by the Chinese. It has been known in the country for its beneficial effects for over 5,000 years, and to this day, Chinese ginseng roots are considered superior to any other variations you might be able to find.
The root contains a naturally occurring ingredient called ‘ginsenosides’ that is able to stimulate bodily functions in both men and women, resulting in increased stamina, stronger feelings of pleasure, and better physical performance.
You can find ginseng extract in pill and liquid forms, but if you want to achieve the best results, you may want to consider buying actual roots and preparing them yourself. Luckily, there are several ways to do this.
3. Cordyceps Sinensis (冬虫夏草)
Cordyceps Sinensis, also known as ‘Caterpillar fungus’ is one of the more oblique, but more powerful ways of enhancing performance with the reliance of Chinese medicine. As the name suggests, this product might understandably never achieve a popular appeal: it is literally a dead caterpillar filled with fungi. But even though this may not sound appealing at all, Cordyceps Sinensis is regarded as a superfood by many experts.
Health benefits include a boost in your physical performance and anti-aging properties. It has also been claimed that it could help fight against tumors or irregular heartbeats, although the science on those is not confirmed yet.
What is, without a doubt, though, is that this fungus-covered insect is especially useful for enhancing sexual performance. Although it is a bit hard to find in its raw form, if you need an extra-potent natural supplement, Cordyceps Sinensis is one of the most powerful options.
Various extracts are widely available, and we would suggest you try those before investing time and money into preparing this product on your own.
4. Deer antler velvet (鹿茸)
Vegans beware! The next aphrodisiac on this list might have crude origins, but its health benefits and the boost it gives to your libido are certainly versatile.
It is made of antlers of immature deers that may still have hair on them quite similar to velvet – hence the name. The antler is ground up and used as a supplement. It is uncommon in western countries to consume deer antlers, but this practice has a long tradition in Asia. One of the oldest mentions of deer antler velvets is on a nearly 3,000 years old silk scroll listing 52 different illnesses that it can cure.
The end product is rich in testosterone, androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosterone, making it an incredibly potent aphrodisiac. It is so potent, in fact, that we highly recommend you to check with your doctor before opting to use it. Products that are so high in hormones may end-up having adverse side effects depending on your physiology.
Once a medical expert has given you the green light, experimenting with this supplement is likely to do wonders for your sex life.
5. Birds nest
Birds nests are among the most treasured, most expensive items of Chinese medicine you can acquire, but their positive effects on everything from lung health through temper, to most importantly libido, are well-documented. Birds nests are sometimes even prescribed by doctors to alleviate all sorts of pains, which is the highest recommendation a supplement can get.
Dried nests get their aiding attributes from the saliva of birds that are high in nutrients – they also contain carbohydrates, ash, and lipid that stimulate cell division and regeneration.
These items are pretty hard to harvest and prepare, which means they can cost as much as $4,500 per pound. If you can get your hands on them, you can prepare the nests both as food or as a drink that will serve as first-class tickets on the train to pound town.
Last but not least, no article on Chinese aphrodisiacs could be complete without a mention of the millennia-long hype in China around-consuming animals’ penises as aphrodisiacs. The two variations that are the most famed are the tiger’s penises and bull’s penises – even though they are hard to get in western countries, it would be a great mistake to not dwell on the potential benefits of consuming them.
Needless to say, tiger penises are very much illegal to sell and consume, but bull penises still have a venerable market, and they are widely available both as medicine in Chinese pharmacies and as delicacies in restaurants.
Ox’s members are said to make you ‘strong like bull,’ and while there is no solid medical evidence for its positive effects, it is a cultural staple that is widely believed to help with libido and erectile dysfunction.