Aphrodisiacs have over centuries held great fascination for mankind for its purported ability in stimulating sexual desire. Even though there are some substances which may actually heighten the effect of sex hormones in the body, most generally work in a more mundane fashion – by helping the body to heal from disorders which may be interfering with sexual pleasure or by creating the right mood for love. Chamomile is one such plant which has a long history of medicinal and aphrodisiacal uses.
This is a plant of the Asteraceae family and is a relative of the ordinary daisy. Most of the scientific research on the beneficial properties of chamomile has focused on German chamomile whose botanical name is Matricaria recutita. This species is widely available in North America and Europe, except in England where another species known as the Roman chamomile or Chamaemelum nobile is more popular. The Chamomile herb exudes a scent and taste like apples which is why it probably gets its name - from the Greek word ‘kamai’ meaning melon or ground apple.
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How chamomile is used as an aphrodisiac
The key to chamomile’s use as an aphrodisiac may lie in its ability to ease stress and anxiety. When the mind is subject to nervous tension, it cannot take pleasure in anything, including sex. For the person to enjoy sex, both the body and mind need to be free from stressful conditions. Studies into the bio-chemical makeup of chamomile have revealed that the herb contains compounds which may have a relaxing effect on the central nervous system. As a result, use of chamomile may help in the treatment of nervous disorders, insomnia and even depression. This relaxant property of chamomile may help men suffering from performance anxiety in a sexual situation. In this way, by alleviating stress and inducing the right mood for love, chamomile may aid the course of love.
German chamomile is a fragrant herb, much favored for its apple-like taste and a soothing aroma. As a result, dried chamomile flowers and chamomile essential oil find much use in evoking pleasing fragrances. It is this property of chamomile which may appeal to the erotic senses and thus act as an aphrodisiac.
Chamomile contains a compound known as coumarin which has proven anti-coagulant or blood-thinning properties. This makes the herb a useful tool in dissolving blood clots and other impediments to blood circulation. This is good news for men since an effective circulatory system means proper blood supply to the sex organs which is in turn crucial for prompt and longer lasting erections. In this way, chamomile can be considered to aid the male libido and act as an aphrodisiac.
Chamomile is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This makes the herb a useful tool in the treatment of digestive disorders. In Europe chamomile tea has been used for ages to help in cases of colic, nausea, peptic ulcers, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis. For its ability to heal inflammations, chamomile has also found use in the treatment of skin conditions like eczema, canker sores, eye irritations and conjunctivitis as well as in the case of gingivitis. Certain compounds in chamomile help to reduce inflammations and soothe irritations, both externally as even inside the body. Some sources also claim that chamomile acts as a potent anti-spasmodic which is why it figured in folk medicine as a remedy for menstrual cramps as well as spasms in the digestive tract. While these medicinal uses of chamomile are not directly related to the stimulation of sexual desire, the fact that chamomile is useful for general well being of the mind and body means that it has an indirect but positive role in promoting a healthy sex life too.
Traditionally chamomile has been used in the form of tea to benefit from its wide variety of medicinal properties. Adults may consume one to four cups of chamomile tea every day. Other than this, chamomile extracts are available as capsules or in the liquid form. There are tinctures as well as essential oils made from chamomile. For skin conditions, topical creams containing chamomile are also available. For adults, the recommended dosage of chamomile capsules is 400 to 1600 mg daily in divided doses while that of liquid extract is 1 to 4 ml three times daily. In the form of tinctures, adults may use 15 ml of it, three to four times daily. Since correct dosage would vary according to the gender and body weight of the individual as well as the nature and severity of the medical condition, it is best to be guided by the product instructions or follow the advice of a healthcare provider.
Possible adverse effects of using chamomile
People who are allergic to species of the Asteraceae plant family – which also includes ragweed and chrysanthemum – should avoid using chamomile, either internally or topically since chamomile belongs to the same family of plants. If used in large quantities chamomile may also lead to vomiting and indigestion.
Pregnant women should also refrain from using chamomile since it may act as a uterine stimulant and even lead to abortion. Moreover the effects of chamomile in special conditions like pregnancy and lactation have not been adequately studied to be reassured of its safety.
Chamomile may negatively interact with some other drugs or supplements and therefore one must seek medical advice before using the herb. People who are suffering from bleeding disorders should also avoid use of chamomile because of the herb’s anticoagulant effect. It may interact with blood thinning medications like Warfarin and for the same reason is also contraindicated for two weeks before and after surgery. Some other interactive effects of chamomile include increased drowsiness when combined with benzodiazepines, barbiturates, narcotics, certain ant-depressants and even alcohol as well as risky if combined with medications affecting blood sugar or blood pressure.
More research is needed before one can have a clear idea of all the risks associated with chamomile but till then it is better to use the herb under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner.