Cards, roses, jewelry, hearts, candy, secret admirers—yes, love is in the air again thanks to St. Valentine. So, in honor of this time, I thought it would be fun to explore in more detail the oils that are considered to have aphrodisiac properties. After all, we want to be “in the mood for love” on February 14th!

To understand how an aphrodisiac works, it is important to know about the “limbic system”:http://www.suzannebovenizer.com/aromatherapy-essential-oils/the-limbic-system, which plays an intricate part in the sexual response. The limbic system (also known as the mammalian brain) is found surrounding the brain stem. It is responsible for emotions such as love, compassion, feelings of pleasure, joy, loyalty as well as a need to “nest” in a home. Negative emotions such as jealousy, rage, fear and panic are also limbic responses because these feelings are equally governed by our animal instincts, and also found in this primal portion of the brain. The limbic system is stimulated by our senses; touch, sight, taste and particularly smell. The nose directly links into the limbic system, and therefore anything we smell can trigger instinctual feelings, flood us with memories and raise emotions.

One of my more limbic moments was the first time I opened a bottle of lavender essential oil. It’s aroma carried me back to my childhood; I flashed to a memory of visiting my dear, beloved grandmother and opening her dresser drawers which she had filled with little sachets of fresh lavender buds. As an adult, just by just sniffing the lavender oil, I was 5 years old again and could tell you exactly what my grandmother’s house looked like and what she wore because her clothes always smelled of fresh lavender. Smelling lavender always makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside!

So, we know how powerful scent is and how connected it is to memory. Likewise, aromas stimulate hormones thanks to the limbic system. Certain odors provoke strong desires by increasing sex hormones within us. Aromas can also calm the nervous system, thus reducing stress and tension and releasing more energy for enjoyable pursuits such as sex. Below are listed of some of the better known aphrodisiac essential oils that can be burned in an aroma lamp for atmosphere, or put in a bath for the ultimate of luxury. Massaging your partner with these oils (in a carrier oil) is also an incredibly sensual way of creating a loving space (guaranteed results!)-

There is also a separate article on the spices in “pumpkin pie”:http://www.suzannebovenizer.com/aromatherapy-essential-oils/that-pumpkin-pie-effect that are considered aphrodisiacs.

Neroli is distilled from the fragrant orange blossoms. The essential oil is calming, soothing and balancing. Its aroma stimulates the pleasure response and heightens intuitive knowing and deeper heart understanding, which opens the path for more intimate play.

Jasmine flower oil is heady and intense in smell. But, oh, what joys and romance it can bring! A true “feel good” oil with therapeutic effects on both the emotional and physical planes. Relax, let go of inhibitions and enjoy life.

Rose is one of the most expensive and prized essential oils. It opens the heart chakra and heightens the sense of inner peace and beauty. Rose releases grief and sorrow, and uplifts the spirits. A truly romantic, sensual oil for an atmosphere of love.

Ylang-Ylang – So good they named it twice! This heavenly oil is deliciously sensual and exotic. Think sultry nights on a far away beach, the ocean crashing in, heightening the sense of excitement and eroticism. Imagine the soft petals of the flower caressing your skin. Let go and allow pleasure in.

Sandalwood is more of a masculine scent, used in ritual and meditation, but also has a place on the “feel good” line up. This oil brings you into a deeper understanding of self and a deeper trust of your feelings and responses. Grounding and self-actualization encourage intimacy and sharing with this spicy oil.

Patchouli – ah, the 60’s and flower power, free love and no inhibitions. Patchouli has that kind of freeing quality about it and is probably one of the most narcotic oils available. This oil stimulates hormone reaction and can create a fantasy world were sexual pleasure is intense and all the senses are acutely turned on. Because of the limbic response, people either love this oil or can’t stand the smell; no one is ambivalent with patchouli.