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The Kama Sutra is a richly populated text, with sexual positions and ideas galore. One of its more interesting suggestions lie in its last chapter titled ‘Aphrodisiacs’.
The term aphrodisiac has been derived from Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty in Greek mythology. It’s a substance used to treat sexual dysfunction or to improve sexual behavior and satisfaction in humans and animals. Surprisingly, unlike oddly dangerous-to-acquire concoctions like cobra blood or a tiger’s penis, the aphrodisiacs mentioned in the Kama Sutra are innocuous herbs and plants, often easily found in your kitchen, waiting to fire you up.
To figure if they actually work, we experimented with six of them-—Shatavari extract (Asparagus Racemosus), Kapikacchu (Mucuna Pruriens), Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera), Gokshura (Tribulus Terrestris), Safed Musli (Chlorophytum Borivilianum) and Saffron (Crocus Sativus). These are the common ones heavily cited for fixing broken dicks and ramping up efficiency of working ones. They’re also easily procured, and even come bundled together as a tablet.
The aforementioned aphrodisiacs are so common, that when my mother chanced upon my Amazon purchases, and learnt about my mission to devour all of it, informed me that she had been mixing Ashwagandha and Saffron in my sister’s nightly tea to increase her energy (I’m still not sure if my sister was aware of that). My father was concerned when he noticed my sudden intake of sexual elixirs, but decided to help by recommending Shilajit, a combination of herbs. The spontaneity and knowledge of his response wasn’t something I am ready to analyse. My sister though, when asked, said that the nightly tea wasn’t really making her feel all that more energised.
My experience, on the other hand, was a little different.
I bought powdered versions (#authentic) of all six from Amazon for a combined amount of Rs 1,500. The dosage according to the packaging said it shouldn’t exceed 5-10 grams for each, so I mixed half a teaspoon each of Shatavari, Kapikacchu, Ashwagandha, Gokshura, Safed Musli and Saffron in a cup of milk, which itself is also considered an aphrodisiac. I cooked it on medium heat for about 15 minutes. The resulting lilac drink/stew(?) didn’t taste as krantikaari as one would assume. It was fairly smooth and actually tasted nice, which I’m attributing to the saffron.
I drank the concoction for seven days, and that’s when things got a bit funky.
Most of us startup/millennial office working folk are used to chugging endless cups of machine-made daily doses of caffeine. According to research, anything up to 400 mg of caffeine daily (5 shots of espresso or 4.7 cups of drip coffee) is safe for consumption. Caffeine is well known as an ‘upper’, but after it wears off, it leaves behind a solid jitteriness.
My consumption of herbal aphrodisiacs, along with a daily caffeine diet resulted in a see-saw wave of physical attentiveness, leaving me part-high and part-dry. I was jacked to the brim for about half an hour post my morning coffee only to find myself yawning in meetings an hour later. Worse still, without even drinking more coffee, I got random bouts of energy, high-fiving reluctant co-workers out of the blue, and falling on old uncles in the metro on the way home. I went drinking on the fifth night with friends where I nearly fell off the table at 9 PM mid-conversation after a beer, only to then find myself tearing up the dance floor at 1 AM. It was as if I had snorted a line of cocaine cut with Xanax. I imagine.
Moral of the story: Being energy dependant on too many external factors is extremely confusing.
The biggest positive, by far, of my aphrodisiac-al diet, was my poop. It felt and looked top notch. The problem was that all that Ashwagandha I was chugging is also a famed antioxidant, which in turn rapidly increases bowel movements.
My aphro-days acquired a routine: Work, Coffee, Poop, Work, Lunch, Coffee, Poop, Coffee, Work, Poop, Work, Coffee, Dinner, Aphrodisiac shake, Poop, Poop, Poop.
The poop was glorious, but it was A LOT.
Did I make myself horny?
To quote Rihanna—“This is what you came for”. After consuming an aphrodisiac shake for a week every night, I didn’t feel radically more horny. I just felt weary and fairly light-headed.
My horniness levels stayed the same: Decent morning wood, usual amounts of masturbation/week (3-5). My lady friend flat out declined to help because she thought the experiment was weird. The weariness most likely resulted from adding too many energisers every night. And none of them reacted well with the caffeine.
Seven days of herbal and ayurvedic aphrodisiac intake later, I was a stressed-out millennial.
Also leading me to believe that anything that makes you happy could well work as an aphrodisiac, maybe even a margherita cheese burst