Garlic as an Aphrodisiac

The Food of Love?

A mouthful of fresh garlic might not sound like the best start to a romantic evening, but garlic has long had a reputation as an aphrodisiac. This is connected with its classification as a "hot" herb.


The attitude to this reputation of garlic has varied considerably between different societies. Some groups and peoples forbade the eating of garlic or entering of sacred places after eating it. Others, such as the Greeks and Egyptians, embraced garlic's alleged aphrodisiac properties.

Tibetan monks were forbidden from entering the monastries if they had eaten garlic. This is presumably because of its reputation for inflaming the passions.

Ezra Hasofer decreed that garlic be eaten on a Friday night as an aid to love-making on the grounds that it "promotes love and arouses desire". The Talmud instructs the eating of garlic on the Sabbath.

Modern Research

Modern science has confirmed that - for some men - garlic might indeed be an aid to sexual performance.

Recent research suggests that garlic's ability to improve blood circulation might also improve sexual performance in some men. Dr Joerg Gruenwald of Berlin University said:

"A lot of men with heart disease will have impotence but not realise poor circulation and narrowing of the arteries in the groin is to blame. Garlic can help. A good flow of blood to the groin means a man should not have a problem with sex."
Not quite an aphrodisiac but possibly enough to account for the stinking rose's unlikely romantic reputation?

Unfortunately Gruenwald went on to say that normal levels of garlic consumption would be insufficient to show any significant improvement. Instead he suggests that people might consider garlic supplements.