Some popular love potions act not just by increasing libido, but rather by diminishing sexual inhibitions, and were commonly used to cure ‘frigidity’ in Victorian times. As such some common herbs were believed work on areas of the brain which are associated with sexual desire and responsiveness. The following, popular in Victorian times, are still considered workable today:

* Rose petals are used extensively in aromatherapy to help reduce inhibitions surrounding the lovemaking process. Throughout the ages the plant has been considered to benefit all patients suffering from anxiety and nerves. Apply rose oil to the bath before lovemaking or use it to massage the erogenous zones to calm nerves and increase excitement. A tea can be made from a handful of freshly crushed rose petals added to a cupful of boiling water and left to stand until properly brewed. Strain and take warm as tea or leave to cool as juice. Drink in wineglassful doses half an hour or so before lovemaking.

* Saffron, taken to excess, creates uncontrollable giggling, meaning it may also help lower inhibition and reduce frigidity. The plant is believed to make the erogenous zones more sensitive and to have a hormone-like effect. Saffron is the key ingredient in many love potions and erotic dishes. The powdered herb can be used in teas and juices or sprinkled lightly over food. Ask your herbalist to prescribe something suitable for you.

* Thyme is a common folk remedy for nerves which helps induce relaxation and lower resistance to sex. The whole plant has been used as an aphrodisiac, even by the ancients, including Culpeper who wrote: “It is under the dominion of Venus and under the sign of Aries and therefore chiefly appropriate to the head”. Like fellow early herbalists, Culpeper administered the plant as a cure for shyness and inhibitions. Add a handful of crushed seeds to a cupful of boiling water. Leave to cool and take as a soothing drink before retiring for the night.

* Valerian is used extensively as a sedative and may reduce inhibitions pertaining to sex. However a German herbal book from the 14th century suggests it may have more powerful effects, translated: “Take valerian in the mouth and kiss anybody you want. In that way you will win love.” Valerian may indeed help reduce shyness and anxiety surrounding sex, being an effective tranquilliser which was used extensively during the Blitz in England during World War II and being prescribed today as a sedative, as well as to reduce muscle spasms and help relieve melancholy. Add a handful each of valerian and ginger juice to bathwater, especially for couples who bathe together or take ready to use preparations available from herbalists and other suppliers. Make a tea from one teaspoonful of the dried root added to a cupful of boiling water. Leave to stand until properly brewed and take hot as tea or leave to cool as a juice. Tea made from valerian is particularly tasty and stimulating and can be administered half an hour or so before making love.

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