10 Sexy Plants

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, author Helen Yoest looks at the sultry side of plants.
Related To:

Photo By: Image by David Spain

Photo By: Image by Carolyn Binder

Photo By: Image by David Spain

Photo By: Photo by Carolyn Binder

Photo By: Image by David Spain

Photo By: Image by Helen Yoest

Photo By: Image by Helen Yoest

Photo By: Image by Steve Asbell

Photo By: Image by Ken Gergle

Photo By: Image by Carolyn Binder


"If you were a male in the 19th century France, your prenuptial dinner included three courses of these sexy spears," author of Plants With Benefits: An Uninhibited Guide to the Aphrodisiac Herbs, Fruits, Flowers and Veggies in Your Garden Helen Yoest says. "They couldn’t have known at the time, but asparagus is rich in folic acid, which is said to boost histamine production," says Yoest, an essential ingredient in the arsenal of love.


"The avocado’s aphrodisiac reputation was so widely known (and feared) by the Aztecs that parents kept their virgin daughters indoors during the harvest of the 'fertility fruit,'" Yoest says. 


"Absente contains anise, or aniseed, which was used as both a food and aphrodisiac during Classical times," Yoest says. "Pliny the Elder and physician and botanist Dioscorides recorded its use in flavoring foods and wine. According to popular lore, you could increase desire by sucking on the seeds of this annual herb."


"In ancient times, women would rub dry basil powder on their bodies to become more sexually attractive," Yoest says. "In Italy today, sweet basil is the symbol of love and is called 'kiss me Nicholas.' Placed on the windowsill, it signals for a lover." 


"The Greeks referred to the carrot as a philtron, meaning a love potion or love charm (from philos, meaning loving)," Yoest says. "The Romans also believed in the carrot’s aphrodisiac attributes. Carrots were common in a Roman garden where the root and seed were thought to increase the libido."


"The ancient Egyptians used date palm leaves as an emblem of longevity. Hathor, the Egyptian goddess of life, joy, music, dancing, and fertility (note how they all go together) surrounded her sanctuary with a palm grove for easy access," says Yoest.


"The fig was said to be Cleopatra’s favorite food," Yoest says. "I can’t blame her, since its voluptuous shape, succulent chew, and honey-scented taste does take you away for a moment." 


Ginger, says Yoest has been called a natural fertility booster and can "even assist with impotence." 


"Hippocras, or spiced wine, includes several plants with benefits including cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, coriander, cayenne and honey," Yoest says. "During the Roman Empire, Hippocras was a well-loved drink for its aphrodisiac reputation on many levels: The scent of red wine resembles a man’s pheromones, thus exciting women."

Cocoa Beans

"It is thought that the Aztecs were the first to draw a link between the cocoa bean and sexual desire," Yoest says. "The story goes that the Aztec ruler Montezuma called it the 'divine drink' and consumed 50 goblets of cacao daily for strength. We probably don’t need to go to these heroics, but a sip with a date is a nice start (or end) to a wonderful evening." 

Shop This Look