Though we're suckers for the pomp and circumstance of St. Valentine's Day (read a little history on the holiday here), we tend to be a bit old fashioned when it comes to love. One day could never do the most powerful of human emotions justice. Instead, let's think of the holiday as pressing reset on romance and finding ways to spark desires and passions for another year. To get the spark going, we've laid out some tools to keep love alive year-round – all-natural aphrodisiacs and not so common implements for amour.
This spicy aromatic essential oil is distilled by hand in copper from the papery bark of the Boswellia Sacra trees in the Sultanate of Oman. Frankincense essential oil has been used in rituals, cosmetics and perfumes for thousands of years and is known to be an aphrodisiac because it helps to balance hormone levels and reduce mood killing anxiety and fatigue.
Lauded for its calming, soothing properties, as well as its deep association with matters of the heart, Pink Tourmalin stimulates feelings of love, joy, and happiness, and is thought to increase vitality and strengthen both the mind and the body. Its crystals are found here on Lepidolite, a lavender-hued, lithium-rich mica known for its soothing properties. Lepidolite promotes peaceful wellbeing and encourages emotional steadiness during periods of transition. It is believed to aid in overcoming dependency, both physical and emotional, and to curb impulsiveness.
There is a reason Cleopatra bathed in rose water and covered her bed in their soft, pungent petals. Rose has been used since ancient times for love potions, sensual elixirs, and sexual tonics. Rose contains phenylethylamine, the same chemical produced by the brain when you're falling in love, and can reduce stress and anxiety, calming pesky emotions that get in the way of arousal.
Also known as winter cherry or poison gooseberry, Ashwagandha in Sanskrit translates to "the smell of a horse" because the root smells like horse urine (you gettin' hot yet?). It is said that the consumption of the herb will give you the strength and stamina of a horse and that it can help to increase male fertility.
Jasper is a dense, earthy opaque quartz which comes in a variety of colors, but is most often found in brown or dark red due to the presence of iron within the stone. Red jasper is believed to be the most powerful of the color varieties, and is used to promote stability, balance, energy, vitality, and determination. Jasper is a warm, nourishing, grounding stone, and because it is associated with tranquility and harmony, it is believed to contribute to balanced, healthy partnerships. It is associated with honesty, trust, and faithfulness in romantic relationships.
Throughout history cinnamon has been valued for its medicinal benefits. Anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, the delicate but complex spice can also aid the body as a natural aphrodisiac, with subtle warming effects and as a natural source of manganese, a nutrient essential to sexual health and the overall wellness of skin, bones, metabolism, sight, hearing, and the nervous system. Cinnamon bark oil is also believed to stimulate libido and increase circulation.
A stone of unconditional love, rose quartz can range in color from pale pink to deep blushing pink and owes its rosy hue to the presence of manganese, iron and titanium within the stone. One of the most popular crystals in healing, rose quartz is often referred to as the "heart stone," known for its power to attract love and intimacy, as well as its capacity to ease heartbreak and heal emotional wounds. It is thought to facilitate connection, encourage compassion and tenderness, and enhance sensuality. It has been used as a token of love for centuries.
Hot peppers have been known as aids to the amorous for centuries. The amount of the compound capsaicin found in a pepper is responsible for its heat and when you consume a very spicy pepper chock-full of capsaicin, the body naturally releases endorphins to block the heat and respond to the pain. A rush of endorphins can feel like a temporary high that improves your mood and decreases stress levels. The heat of the pepper is also thought to increase blood flow throughout the body kicking sensitivity up a notch. Then there are the physical effects noticeable to a potential partner - the flushed face, plumped lips, racing heart, and small beads of sweat caused by a fiery pepper look much like the signs of lust. Even the ancient Kama Sutra mentions peppers, recommending that a man "anoint" himself with a mixture of the powders of white thorn apple and certain peppers to make a sexual partner "subject to his will" (though the Kama Sutra also says to throw a particular concoction of herbs mixed with monkey excrement on your crush and she won't be given in marriage to anyone else, so some of their recipes can be hard to find at Whole Foods).
The name of this lustrous, red-orange stone comes from the Latin word meaning "flesh." Carnelian agate derives its rich color from the impurities of iron oxide found within the stone. Associated with energy, warmth, joy and stimulation, it has been used for thousands of years as an adornment acclaimed for its invigorating properties. With its sensual hues and glistening surfaces, carnelian is also believed to intensify love, passion, and desire.