Dell H. Grecia
A tribute to the late Dell H Grecia, veteran journalist
Why bother with aphrodisiacs and Viagra when your vegetable garden might yield rich, bountiful - and, yes, cheap - sources of the vitamins that boost sexual vitality?
As you work in your backyard garden, get to know the plants or veggies you grow, especially the benefits your body can reap from including these in your diet.
Dita, Alstonia scholaris, tallest tree at the UST Botanical Garden
A newly published book, Philippine Herbs to Increase Your Sexual Vitality, authored by three known biologists- Drs. A. V. Rotor, D. C. Ontengco, and R. M. del Rosario- discusses how vitamins are needed to enhance our sex life.
What we eat greatly affects our energy and drive, according to these three biologists. There is a big difference between people who take food enriched with vitamins and minerals and those who don’t watch what they eat. Doctors observe, for instance that those who meet the requirements of a balanced diet are less inclined to indulge in smoking, drinking, and unhealthy eating habits.
What happens to the body that is properly nourished, specifically with foods that contain the all-important minerals and vitamins? A healthy body pre-disposes one to a zestful sex life?
What are these vitamins and what specific roles do they play in enhancing one’s sex life?
Vitamin A is the secret to smooth skin and a healthy glow. Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, broccoli and other crucifers, yellow fruits and green leafy veggies. Deficiency in vitamin A leads to poor production of sex hormones and predisposes tissues to inflammation and infection.
Vitamin B can be derived from unpolished rice and other cereals, nuts and seeds.
Among the sources of niacin or vitamin B3 are asparagus, mongo sprouts, lean meat and fish. This vitamin improves memory and, together with Vitamin A and minerals, is responsible for that healthy flush and glow. A deficiency may result in skin eruptions and pellagra.
There is also pyrodizine, which is vital to the functioning of our brain and nerves. A deficiency is manifested by a general feeling of weakness, neuritis and insomnia, which may all lead to loss of libido and failure to experience orgasm.
Choline, which is related to vitamin B, enhances sexual arousal and performance. It is an ingredient of lecithin, a rejuvenator. Lecithin also contains Inositol.
Dr. Jensen believes that Inositol, panthothenic acid, and para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) constitutes what he calls the “youth vitamin.” Sources of this vitamin other than those already mentioned are eggs, crucifers, liver, legumes, whole grain nuts, and seeds like sesame. These also provide another vitamin B member, biotin, the lack of which in our body could lead to depression.
Mango, avocado, citrus, tomato, guava, and strawberry are among rich sources of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), When we lack vitamin C, we suffer from bleeding of the gums, poor digestion, slow healing of wounds, susceptibility to cold and infections, shortness of breath- the early symptoms. Poor sex life is also attributed to a deficiency. Prolonged lack of this vitamin may lead to scurvy. It plays a role as well in the absorption of iron.
Iron, meanwhile, aids in oxygenation of the blood. A well oxygenated blood is efficient in carrying oxygen, hormones, and nutrients to the organs and tissues of the body.
Although there is no known direct effect on sex., the lack of vitamin D, which is actually a hormone complex known as sterols, adversely affects calcium-phosphorus balance and metabolism. Bone deformity in children and osteoporosis are the chief manifestation of a deficiency.
Regular sunlight exposure and calcium-phosphorus-rich food protect us from the symptoms of a deficiency in this vitamin. In later years, calcium supplements, mainly from milk, may be necessary.
Vitamin E, besides slowing down the aging process, adds zest to one’s sex life. It prevents the oxidation of fatty acids, which are important in the production of sex hormones. Vitamin E is found in most of the vitamin-rich food, but some people may still need supplements often marked tocopherols (for childbirth).
Vitamin F is very badly needed by the thyroid, adrenal, and prostate glands. It promotes calcium absorption, buffers cholesterol, and helps keep our hair and skin looking healthy. Most of the vitamin-rich foods provide us with adequate vitamin F.
Vitamin B12 was discovered in papait, derived from the chyme of ruminant animals. The chyme is filtered and pasteurized (heated below boiling for a few minutes and filtered). It is mixed with medium rare meat of goat or beef. This is the effective against tuberculosis and anemia.
Other food sources of this vitamin are fish, poultry, and seaweed like gamet, arusip, and gulaman. Chlorella and spirulina are rich in vitamin B12. Its lack is manifested by fatigue, irritability, paleness, muscle jerking, and mild mental problems- all of which can adversely affect one’s sex life.
To maximize the vitamins present in the food we eat, we must remember that heat destroys vitamins. Thus, vegetables must not be overcooked.
Alcohol and coffee prevent the absorption of nutrients, principally vitamins and minerals. It is also good to remember that even if we get the proper kind and amount of food, we must complement it with regular exercise and enough rest. A positive disposition won’t hurt either.
Why not try working in your garden? It’s a good workout for your body, which will also benefit from fresh air and sunshine.
Lastly, we advise you to grab a copy of the book, Philippine Herbs to Increase Your Sexual Vitality, and discover the many wonders that vegetables grown in your garden can give you, most specifically to increase your sex vitality.
The book Philippine Herbs to Increase Sexual Vitality- authored by Dr. Abe V. Rotor and companions Drs. Delia de Castro-Ontengco and Romualdo M. del Rosario- has caught my undivided attention. Through this column, I wish to share more invaluable tips from the book.
Viagra became a byword when the United States’ Food and Drug Administration approved this first oral drug for “treating erectile dysfunction” in March 1998. It is not an aphrodisiac nor a miracle pill that endows all men with the capacity to have vigorous sex, however. It only works for men who are impotent, its manufacturer clarified. Besides, the drug is so expensive that only the rich can afford it.
Being a new drug, Viagra must be used with caution because of its possible side effects. Thus, my friend Abe and his co-authors decided to write about “Philippine plants known to contribute to sexual vitality other than having common uses as food and as local health remedies. These herbs, among others, could bring about improvements in one’s sex life and general health as well.”
Since the passage of Republic Act No. 8423, known as the Alternative Medicine Law, the effectiveness of herbal medicines has already been accepted by many. There are now herbal pills manufactured from lagundi, sambong, ampalaya, etc. which can be produced from big drugstores.
According to the three authors, the aphrodisiacs mentioned in their book are those known in the Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th edition, as “ant food, drink or drug which stimulates sexual desire and power. It is derived from the Greek word aprodisiakos (aphrodisiacs), after Aphrodite, who inspired both men and women with great passion. She was regarded as the ideal of woman beauty and is represented in great works of art.”
Herbs such as avocado, amargoso, garlic, carrots, durian, cashew, kawayan-tinik (spiny bamboo), etc. can be easily grown in the backyard.
Avocado is popular as a dessert. Its pulp or flesh has aphrodisiac properties. Avocado fruits resemble the shape of a man’s testicles.
Dr. Paracelcius of the 16th century, author of the Doctrine of Signatures, said that “a plant or plant parts shaped like the sexual organs of a man or woman would make the best aphrodisiacs.”
As an agronomist, I know avocado is propagated either by seeds (sexually) or asexually (grafted or budded). Some of its phytochemicals are ascorbic acid, beta carotene, calcium, iron, fiber, fat, lecithin, phosphorus, protein, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin D.
Banana comes in varieties as lakatan, latundan, saba or señorita. Its fruits are an aphrodisiac. It is eaten raw as a dessert.
The variety saba is made into banana chips and, sometimes, flour. The lakatan is usually processed into banana cake.
Banana is a perennial herb with rhizome used as planting material. The Bureau of Plant Industry’s lab services process it into wine. Countryside folks usually cook the saba variety (either ripe or unripe) as their breakfast or merienda. It is rich in ash, calcium, crude fiber, glucose, iron, moisture, phophorus, potassium, starch, and vitamin A, B and C.
The leaves of carrots or remolacha in the form of a decoction from India are used as a stimulant. Its aromatic seeds, also in decoction, are an aphrodisiac. It is a refrigerant and an antiseptic and blood cleanser, capable of dissolving kidney stones and curing jaundice or yellowing of the skin as well.
Carrots possess numerous phytochemicals. Some of these includes ascorbic acid, ash, carotene, camphor, bromine, boron, carbohydrates, chlorophyll, fiber galactose, and several betas and gammas.
This root crop propagated by seeds, is ideal to grow in the backyard, especially if planted in plots. In pots, one or two plants may afford you big roots.
Ampalaya is bitter gourd or bitter melon in English. Its leaves, flowers and fruits are used as an ingredient in aphrodisiac preparations. Man greatly benefits from these preparations. A one-half-cup leaf decoction, preferably with honey, is suggested once or twice daily.
Its other properties are anti-diabetic, anti-tumor, astringent, anti-leukemia, antibiotic, laxative, purgative and refrigerant.
In China, Ghana and Mexico, bitter gourd is considered an aphrodisiac. It is propagated by seeds and is planted from July to August.
The shoots of spiny bamboo, locally called kawayan-tinik, are made into popular lumpiang sariwa, pickles or achara, or used as an ingredient for dinengdeng. Harvested ten days after emergence, the shoots contain protein, fat, ash, carbohydrates, crude fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamine and ascorbic acid.
It is used as anti-asthma and anti spasmodic agents, and as stimulant, astringent, tonic and cooling brews. Reproduction is mainly by tillers or shoots- and cuttings, too.
The rhizomes of ginger or luya in Filipino are boiled into a hot beverage called salabat. Powdered rhizome makes an instant salabat.
Sliced fresh ginger root is added to stews, sauces, and other Oriental dishes. When ground, it is used in making gingerbread, cakes, biscuits, others. It is also used in wine, liqueurs, and cordials.
In Asian medicine, it is a digestive aid, stimulant and diuretic. I t is also recommended for rheumatism, asthma, colds and cough, diarrhea, colic or sharp, sudden abdominal pain and indigestion. For reproduction, the rhizomes are used.
Okra is called lady’s finger in English. Both young tender fruits and seeds are mucilaginous or watery-sticky substances. They are used to thicken soups, stews, and sauces. Seeds may be used as coffee substitute.
Sampaguita, Jasminium sambac, the country's national flower
It is the mucilage that has an aphrodisiac effect. It is a stimulant, tonic, diuretic, carminative, and anti- spasmodiac.
Okra contains ash, calcium, fat, linoleic acid, magnesium oxide, mucilage, nitrogen, pectin, starch, vitamin C, and, of course, water. It is propagated by seeds and is recommended in the backyard for it fruits prolifically.
Onion, commonly called sibuyas bombay, is used as an article of food and condiments. Its juice, when mixed with honey, ginger juice and ghee, is an aphrodisiac. Its other properties are as stimulant, diuretic, colic, anti-dysentery, spleenic, anticholesterollemic and antimicrobial. It cures sore throat, jaundice (yellowing of the skin), boils, anthrax and hemorrhage.
Onions have carbohydrates, essential oil, fructans, inulin, protein, vitamin C, and others. Seeds are used for reproduction.
Garlic or bawang, as it is locally called, is a flavoring agent rather than a veggie. I use fresh garlic cloves to maintain my good blood pressure. Others buy garlic capsules for the same purpose.
The pungent-smelling volatile oil cleanses the blood, tones the organs generally, and builds up stamina and strength, doubtlessly contributing to its aphrodisiac property. Among the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Japanese, Swedish, and Germans, garlic is widespread among them as an aphrodisiac.
The east German pharmaceutical journal Du Pharmazie says that “garlic is especially suited for men and women of climacteric age because it contains compounds related to sex hormones.”
B. Other Herbs for Sexual Vitality
For lack of space, we merely enumerate here other herbs to boost sexual vitality. These are anis, balanoi, balete, batau, bunga, clove, cocoa, dilau, durian, hasmin, ikmo, kapok, cashew, kintsay, langka, linga, makahiya, paminta, pandan mabango, pitogo, sabila, saffron, sarsa, parillang-Chine, takip kuhol, talong-puti, and watercress.
Symbol of the former UST Pharmaceutical Garden
Symbol of the former UST Pharmaceutical Garden
Drs. Rotor, Ongtengco, and del Rosario explain: “While immediate effects may be produced in our bodies by purified drugs such as Viagra, herbal treatments may take some time before one sees positive results. The latter’s advantage is that the body’s systems are reached more deeply by the vital components of these herbs, resulting in the development of more lasting health. One must develop a liking for these herbs and be patient in using them. Their proven effects have been cited in researchers and books, locally and abroad.”
Former EcoSanctuary of St Paul University QC