As Valentine’s Day approaches, there are those who feel the pressure of buying expensive gifts to show their love, those who shy away from it altogether and those who dread it because they aren’t in a relationship. We are also at a pivotal time in our country where love is being questioned on all fronts, our hearts are heavy with the state of the world, and the idea of self-care and heart nourishment is of utmost importance. Rather than hate on the day, why not reclaim it to be something we want it to be?
There’s plenty of hate in the world so why not make Valentine’s Day an opportunity to spread love, whether with one Valentine or a whole community of people dear to your heart?
Whoever you choose to share this particular day with, let’s remember that strong, open hearts and the ability to be kind are the most important during these trying times.
One of our favorite ways to weave in the magic of plant medicine at this time of year is through the use of aphrodisiacs. Aphrodisiac plants, named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty, and sensuality, are plants that are almost always in our medicine cabinets, as they are some of the most widely used.
Aphrodisiacs are herbs and foods that support calm in the body and awaken our senses. They quiet mind chatter, support the nerves and soothe tension in the body.
They nourish our nervous system and reproductive organs and replenish vitality.
Some of the best aphrodisiacs are also our best nervines.
Whether you are getting cozy with a loved one or not, aphrodisiacs open up our hearts and allow the tension to melt away, leaving us in a comfortable place to engage in loving conversation, be a little gentler with our actions or explore our sexuality.
While it’s fun to explore what herbs offer a gentle awakening of our senses, it’s important to mention that the greatest sexual enhancer is a healthy body.
Balanced, healthy lifestyles and vibrant, joyous spirits are sexy. What’s not sexy is exhaustion, mental turmoil, and a body so stressed it couldn’t maintain its vital energy; much less share that with another.
kava & rose
High stress and burnout have almost become normal with our way of life, so it’s no wonder many of us wish we could find some way to soothe the stress. We long for the euphoric excitement that love can contain as it revitalizes our spirits. The good news is, there are ways to support ourselves in building our resources and our ability to be calm, warm and tuned in to our senses, making rituals of self-care and romantic evenings all that more meaningful.
In Chinese medicine, the kidneys govern sexual vitality and are depleted through overuse of stimulants like coffee, alcohol and saturated fats. Health and sexual vitality are built and replenished through good food and supportive herbal allies such as adaptogens and nervines.
Aphrodisiacs play a crucial role in stimulating our senses, but they can only go so far if we aren’t taking care of ourselves on a deeper level. We can’t continue to take large doses of aphrodisiac herbs hoping for instant gratification.
Damiana is an herb that is slightly sweet, floral and spicy with a hint of bitterness. Damiana is well known for its ability to warm the senses while easing the mind, allowing you to let go and enjoy the present moment.
Maca is used for its ability to support healthy sexual function and improve performance. It is valued by herbalists for its nutritive power and its ability to support resilience in the face of occasional physical and emotional stressors.
Ashwagandha is one of our best adaptogens. Ashwagandha supports resilience and balance. It is nutritionally fortifying and maintains a healthy nervous system, improving your ability to stay strong, steady and grounded.
Cacao's pleasing, heavenly taste lends to its ability to support healthy libido. Cacao’s rich, deep flavor is the perfect sensual gateway to pleasure and indulgence. It also supports blood flow to erogenous zones, increasing our sensation.
Passionflower supports the nervous system in unwinding when it’s feeling wound up from occasional anxiety or nervousness. It soothes away those jagged frayed edges allowing us to be calm in the present moment.
Energetically, Rose works on opening the heart and also acts as heart-settling nervine. It brings peace and strength to the body and spirit, and can help to soothe occasional anxiety and brighten our mood. Herbalists love the aromatic rose to support the heart, since it offers gentle cardiovascular support but also encourages a balanced emotional response to life’s ups and downs.
A special one we pull out of the cupboards at this time of the year is Kava. It is used during romantic evenings, conversations of conflict, and welcome ceremonies as it is excellent at soothing tension and calming the mind. It also supports a healthy stress response. As a relatively fast acting herb, Kava has a way of washing over us with a sense of calm and warm-hearted openness – leaving us fully present in the best of ways for our partners, friends, and family. It has often been said, “Where there is Kava, there is love in the heart.”
It has a lovely tongue numbing quality to it due to the lactones in the plant, which is what leaves us with a joyous feel. It pairs lovely with rose, honey, and cacao – making the perfect valentine’s treat!
If you are unfamiliar with this herb, start with a smaller amount to see how you react.
vanilla bean, powdered kava & rose
As the day of love approaches, let’s remember that love comes in many forms and is shown in many different ways. While receiving flowers, jewelry and cards have become the norm, it’s nice to do something a little out of the ordinary and get away from the mainstream saturation of bad chocolate, teddy bears, and jewelry. They have nothing on homemade herbal treats and special unique gifts made with love, whether for your valentine or not.
One thing we could all benefit from is the practice of seeing love and the ways it shows up. If we can take away the expectations for grand gestures which to us equal true love, it makes room for the small acts that are done out of love everyday.
So, here’s to love in all forms and living fearlessly from our hearts!
1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over gently simmering water. When melted, remove from heat and stir until the chocolate is fully melted.
2. Stir in the nut butter, maple syrup and, tinctures and vanilla bean. Add the nuts, kava powder and the rest of the spices.
3. Line a tray with waxed paper.
4. Drop tablespoon sized portions of the mixture onto the tray, shape slightly.
5. Sprinkle the chocolates with the coconut, rose petals and sea salt.
6. Let cool until firm
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