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Food for Love

Natural Food that Brings You Love . . . and that Fights Strokes, Cancers, Viruses and More.

Reviewed By Rabbi Akiva Shalom Shapiro

Humans have been searching for the perfect aphrodisiac throughout history. It does exist, says author Yosef Shapiro. “But it is not one kind of herb or food, although some foods have many aphrodisiac properties. 

   The best aphrodisiac for you may more likely be a combination of many different herbs, extracts, and foods.” It may also be a mix of food, mood, external stimuli, and setting. Everyone is different, so what works for one person may not work for another. 

   While thousands of diet and plant and vegetable products contain adaptogens, antioxidants, and aphrodisiac elements—as well as amino acids, minerals, vitamins and so on—this book has filtered and discusses the list down to only those with known aphrodisiac constituents, or that have a significant part to play in treating sexual dysfunction. For example, the “buchu” herb from South Africa is known not for treating sexual dysfunction, but rather for maintaining urinary tract health and curing urinary tract infections (UTI) . . . which, with kidney issues, can severely impact sexual function and libido.

   And Chufa Nuggets (known also as Tiger Nuts) is widely used in Africa as a great aphrodisiac. Chufa is not a nut at all, but rather a tuber of sedge grass, is one of the most powerful and well-known superfoods on the planet. (See Chufa Nuggets on the front page of the book.) It has long been used as an aphrodisiac in India and Africa, where it is believed that they fight erectile dysfunction, increase testosterone production, sperm count and motility and increase libido. Clinical and pharmacological studies support much of this, and a long history of especially positive anecdotal reports offer even more compelling evidence, consistently claiming, as they do, that these little tubers never fail to greatly enhance the overall sexual experience.

   Many have recognized oysters, and other shellfish for that matter, aphrodisiacs for years. But some people report no change in their libido after consuming oysters. But oysters are rich in zinc, so for some individuals who need zinc, they may experience a surge in sexual arousal, especially when combined with the erotic act of consuming oysters. Some people the look and feel of the oyster flesh, as they swallow it live, is itself sexually stimulating. But Chufa has zinc too.

   Doctors of medicine, both natural and conventional, have been studying various dopaminergic, adrenergic, and serotonergic agents throughout history. Many products have gone mainstream in the treatment of sexual dysfunction, while others have been used to treat many neurophysiological processes in the eternal pursuit of sexual arousal and stamina.

   We can also classify aphrodisiacs by their modus operandi, or action, into several classes. There are aphrodisiacs that increase libido; there are aphrodisiacs that enhance sexual pleasure, and there are aphrodisiacs that serve to improve sexual stamina and endurance. There are even aphrodisiacs that are reported to increase size and girth in the male genitalia. This book is also investigating information about several botanicals that have such “reputations” and report on one of them in this book.

   Various substances of animal and plant origin have been used in natural medicines of different cultures to enhance, energize, vitalize and improve sexual function, and physical performance in men and women. For example, the aphrodisiac known as ambrein is a tincture of tricyclic triterpene alcohol that comes from ambergris, a secretion from the digestive system of the sperm whale. A few producers of ambrein have added aromatic enhancers to the product, and many relate that just sniffing it provides a turn on. It has been shown to increase the concentration of several anterior pituitary hormones and serum testosterone.

   Incidentally, ambergris is not harvested from live whales. If you find a large lump of it washed up onto a beach, you could sell it and retire. However, if that beach happens to be in places where possession of ambergris is illegal, you could end up in jail.

   Several species of Bufo toads of North America and elsewhere produce a poison on their skin that is known to have psychoactive properties. Licking the toad’s back was allegedly one way of getting turned on. The poison of one species of these toads, Bufo alvarius, the Colorado River Toad, contains both 5-MeO-DMT (5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine) and bufotenin, and other bufadienolides. But 5-MeO-DMT is a psychedelic compound of tryptamine, which is found in many plant species. Also known as the Sonoran Desert toad, it lives in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. Its poison is a controlled substance both in the United States and in many countries, even China. If you lick this toad, it may be the last toad you ever lick because you will either be in jail . . . or dead.

   The toad’s poison is the active ingredient in the West Indian “love stone” and the Chinese formula known as chan su. It is highly poisonous, and there have been several deaths reported in recent years. It can cause heart failure and sudden death because the compound has the same effect on the heart as the drug Digoxin, which is used to slow down the heartbeat of someone in congestive heart failure. The most recent death of “licking love stone” occurred in New York City in 2015 and prompted officials to issue a city-wide health alert to get the black and illegal “love stone” off the streets.

   Then there is the well-known aphrodisiac called “Spanish fly.” The compound is made from cantharidin, which comes from blister beetles and used for millennia as an aphrodisiac. But Spanish fly is very dangerous and is outlawed in many countries.

   There are safer harbors for you. For example, traditional Chinese medicine containing Panax ginseng is an aphrodisiac, and it is one of the botanicals discussed in this book. It works as an antioxidant by enhancing nitric oxide (NO) synthesis. And ginsenosides extracted from ginseng also lead to transmural nerve stimulation-activated relaxation associated with increased tissue cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cAMP). This activator nutrient causes smooth muscle relaxation that leads to not only getting an erection in the first place but holding it.

   As mentioned earlier, aphrodisiacs do exist, in various shapes and forms. There may not be one super substance that is a cure for all sexually related problems. Nor is there any one substance that can provide the “romp of a lifetime.” But the right holistic approach regarding nutrition and lifestyle is the true “aphrodisiac” for which you need to look. You will be well on the road to finding your aphrodisiac . . . by reading “Food for Love.”

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Rabbi Akiva Shalom Shapiro

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