All-Natural Aphrodisiac Herbs: Blue Lotus & Damiana
There are several pharmaceutical drugs aimed at boosting one’s libido, but if you’re interested in a more natural alternative, you might want to consider blue lotus flower or damiana. The good news is that these two all-natural herbs go well beyond just boosting your sex drive, as many people also use them for their anxiety-relieving and health-boosting qualities.
What is Blue Lotus?
Blue lotus, or Nymphaea caerulea, is a water lily with strong ties to Ancient Egyptian civilization. The plant has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years as a natural aphrodisiac, sleep aid, and anxiety reliever. This plant is also known as blue Egyptian lotus, blue water lily or sacred blue lily — not to be confused with Nelumbo nucifera, which also goes by the name blue lotus.
Blue lotus flower contains antioxidants like flavonoids (help regulate cellular activity and fight off free radicals), quercetin (tied to improved exercise performance and reduced inflammation), kaempferol (may reduce risk of chronic disease), and myricetin. A diet high in antioxidants is tied to a reduced risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and some types of cancer.
According to Healthline, “Consuming blue lotus flower may make you feel “high” and result in a gentle euphoria. Some people have drawn comparisons to the high you experience after consuming cannabis, though this can be largely individual.”
History & Mythology of the Blue Lotus
Historians believe it was once used as a traditional medicine to treat an array of conditions and disorders. In ancient times, blue lotus likely grew along the Nile and other parts of East Africa and spread throughout the Indian subcontinent and Thailand. The flowers have blue, bluish-white or mauve petals which fade to a pale yellow in the flower’s center.
The plant played a significant role in Ancient Egyptian culture and mythology, as it was often depicted in Egyptian papyri and art, including in stone paintings and carvings — for example, on the walls of the temple of Karnak. The plant is frequently seen in ancient art depicting “party scenes” such as dancing or magical rites into the afterlife. King Tut’s mummy was covered with blue lotus flowers.
The plant was seen as a symbol of the sun, as the flowers close at night and open in sunlight. In Egyptian mythology, the Egyptian deity Nefertem was believed to be a lotus flower who had risen from the primordial waters. Nefertem represents the first sunlight as well as the scent of the Egyptian blue lotus flower. In fact, the flower’s delightful scent has long been used in perfumes and aromatherapy.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “It has been speculated that the flower was used in ancient Egyptian culture as part of healing and shamanistic rituals dating back to the fourteenth century B.C. Today, blue lotus flower is used as a sleep aid and anxiety reliever, but has also been described as a mild stimulant.”
A version of the Book of the Dead says “Rise like Nefertem from the blue water lily, to the nostrils of Ra (the creator and sungod), and come forth upon the horizon each day.”
Blue Lotus Properties
N. caerulea is considered an entheogenic substance, which is said to alter one’s consciousness in a spiritual or religious manner. The two main compounds responsible for the flower’s medicinal effects are called apomorphine and nuciferine. The buds and flowers are the psychoactive components of the plant.
- Apomorphine is a compound that acts as a dopamine agonist, meaning it can give a happy or euphoric feeling. There is evidence that this compound may also help those with muscle control issues such as patients with Parkinson’s disease and erectile dysfunction.
- Nuciferine is a compound believed to act as an antipsychotic substance that can induce feelings of calmness. It has also been shown to help with erectile dysfunction.
It is speculated that blue lotus had traditionally been made into a tea or soaked in wine and/ or rolled into a cigarette made of the dried plant material. According to Entheology.org, “Details are speculative and difficult to come by, but a noted, ancient method to extract the psychoactive properties from the blue lotus is to boil six buds or flowers that have already opened and closed again in water. The flowers should be squeezed in a linen cloth so that their greenish brown juice runs into the water.”
According to the site, there is historical evidence to suggest that blue lotus was effectively used to relieve pain, increase memory and circulation, boost sexual desire and induce a feeling of euphoria without the use of narcotics. In Ancient Egypt, blue lotus was used as a tonic similar to ginseng.
What is Damiana?
Damiana (Turnera diffusa) hails from a small, woody shrub in the passifloraceae family that produces small, aromatic flowers. Damiana is commonly used to enhance sexual health and decrease anxiety. It is also popularly used in Mexico to make a liqueur which is then used as a substitute for Curaçao triple sec, is a type of strong, sweet and colorless orange-flavored liqueur. In 2013, we had the pleasure of visiting plantations to study the cultivation & reverance of this plant.
Damiana is commonly used to enhance sexual health and decrease anxiety. The herb has been used to treat headaches, depression, nervous stomach, and constipation and to boost mental and physical stamina. Damiana has also traditionally been used as a treatment for bladder and urinary problems.
According to a study of damiana, “Pharmacological evaluation of Bioactive Principle of Turnera aphrodisiaca,” the author writes the following:
“The leaves of T. aphrodisiaca have been used traditionally as a stimulant, aphrodisiac, tonic, diuretic, nerve tonic, laxative and in kidney, menstrual and pregnancy disorders. The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia lists specific indications for damiana as anxiety neurosis associated with impotency, and includes other indications such as depression, nervous dyspepsia, atonic constipation and coital inadequacy.”
“The leaf infusion of damiana has been used as a traditional remedy in the diseases related to the gastrointestinal and respiratory system, reproductive organs, and for the treatment of gonorrhoea in Latin American societies. Mother tincture (85% ethanol extract) of damiana is an important homoeopathic medicine for the treatment of sexual debility, and nervous prostration.”