Creating a romantic space.
Botanical Romance: Love Potions
Through history, and across almost all cultures, people have turned toward the world of plants to increase feelings of love, passion, and romance. Many of these plants can still be used to create modern “love potions” to share with the object of your affections. Love potions work best when both parties happily consent to enjoying the potion together as an affirmation of their love. It’s generally frowned upon, (and the plot of countless movies), to use love potions on unsuspecting subjects as the magic that you generate can easily backfire. Rekindling the spark in a relationship has health benefits for both mind and body and enjoying a love potion together is a perfect way to spend time together and turn your focus to your relationship.
What is a potion? Generally speaking, a potion is a blend of herbal infusions (teas), usually stabilized with honey and some kind of alcohol. A potion can last up to six months in the fridge if your proportions are correct, or you can make a potion to be enjoyed immediately. We’ll offer a few recipe suggestions at the end of this article, but all the herbs listed here can be used safely both internally and externally, so creativity and personal choice should influence your ingredient choices.
The herbs mentioned here have properties that soothe anxiety, promote relaxation, improve circulation and digestion, and warm the body. These botanical allies help to gently support the body to be open to romance, both in mind and body. Also chosen for their flavors, they are commonly used as tea herbs. Many can be easily grown in your own garden or will be familiar culinary herbs. All are generally considered safe, so be creative and have fun!
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) – This well-beloved herb has been used for centuries as one of the safest, most delicious soothing and healing herbs. With a delicious flavor and scent, it’s been used as a strewing herb, a bath herb, incense, and flavoring for as long as we know. Chamomile has often been associated with the Sun and is used at midsummer to represent the sun god and his virility. Not only does it soothe the nerves, but it centers the body’s energy and grounds the spirit when it’s feeling disrupted. It’s been shown to reduce inflammation, soothe headaches, relieve stress, and clear toxins.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata) - It has been associated with love, wisdom, and compassion. Internally, spearmint tends to have a similar affect, as it soothes our digestive tracts, improves digestion, and alleviates stress and anxiety. As a tea herb, spearmint is delicious, and it’s easy to grow in the garden.
Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium or Hedeoma pulegioides) - can relax spasmodic pain and ease anxiety in some people. However, its main use is as an emmenagogue to stimulate the menstrual process and to strengthen uterine contractions. Taken strategically it helps stimulate the stripping process of the uterine wall for menstruation.
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) – Meadowsweet is sacred to the Virgin Mary, and to many of the goddesses that pre-date her. It’s an herb that hints at the women’s mysteries, and it invokes the blessings of Mother Nature. Meadowsweet was one of the three sacred herbs to the Druids, (with vervain and mint). Lore tells us that a bride carrying meadowsweet in her bouquet will have joy and blessings, and the early herbals of John Girard report that “the smell therof makes the heart merry and joyful and delighteth the senses”. The scent of meadowsweet is also believed to make a woman more attractive. As a tea, meadowsweet has a delightful and unique flavor, with a hint of sweetness. It is one of the plants that contains salicylic acid, the precursor in aspirin, so it functions as an anti- inflammatory and to reduce pain.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) – The lemony scent of lemon balm is reported to sharpen the mind while soothing the senses. Lemon balm is the sacred herb of Diana, goddess of the Hunt, and using lemon balm in love potions is believed to open the heart and make you more attractive. Drinking a cup of lemon balm tea is like being hugged by the universe. As a tea, lemon balm is both delicious and beneficial. It soothes the nerves while awakening the mind, aids digestion, and invites a feeling of calm and contentment.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum aromaticum)- Spicy, warming cinnamon represents passion and strength, and is often used as an aphrodisiac as it increases blood flow, warms the body, and raises testosterone levels. The scent of cinnamon is soothing to many people as it evokes feeling of tranquility and comfort. It’s believed that cinnamon raises vibrations of protection, lust, and love.
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp)- Hawthorn has long been associated with fertility, happiness, and abundance, and the traditional May Pole was made of Hawthorn. Historically, it was incorporated into weddings to encourage fertility and insure faithfulness. Sacred to the fairies, it should only be gathered and used with reverence for the spirits that it houses. When properly and respectfully gathered it protects the home, and the ancient Romans hung the hawthorn on cradles to protect babies. In a love potion, hawthorn is a tonic to the heart, increases circulation, dilates blood vessels, and calms the spirit. Teas and potions can be made of leaf, flower, or berry.
Ginger (Zingiber officinalis) – Not only is ginger one of the most warming herbs, but it lends strength to both medicinal and magical “potions”. Ginger heats up the body, improves circulation, and moves the energy to strengthen the action of the formula. Ginger is another herb that also helps to soothe the digestive system, especially in cases of motion sickness or nausea. For the purpose of a love potion, it adds warming, spicy notes to increase passion.
Damiana (Turnera aphrodesiaca). Damiana has been used since the days of the Maya and Aztec empires to stimulate sexuality by invigorating the brain and nerves. It promotes endurance, nourishes yang energy, and reduces stress related to sexuality. Damiana is reported to increase arousal, enhance pleasure, and open the chakras. It can lift the spirits, and relax the nervous system, and relieve an overactive mind.
Rose (Rosa spp) – No other plant brings to mind love and romance as quickly as the rose. From traditional folklore to modern practice, the rose is the quintessential symbol of love. Called “The Queen of Flowers” by Sappho, the rose is sacred to Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty, and was known by the Romans as the herb of pleasure. History tells us that Cleopatra scattered rose petals on the floor to seduce Mark Antony: a practice still in use in today. Medicinally, rose helps to reduce anger, stress, and anxiety. It’s reported to regulate the menstrual cycle and aid in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. The hips of the rose are rich in flavonoids, which strength the capillary walls and improve circulation. Both the hips and the petals are delicious in teas, potions, or baths.
Lavender (Lavendula officinalis) – The familiar scent of lavender has long been associated with love and sex. In fact, during the Renaissance, “Ladies of the Night” would wear lavender scent to attract business. The scent still inspires amorous affections today but is now associated with purity and devotion. As a tea or potion, lavender can become quickly over-floral and even somewhat “soapy”, so it’s recommended to show restraint when using in an edible way. An excellent herb to use in the bath, there’s no need to be judicious – use as much as you want as it’s healthy for the skin, reduces stress and anxiety, and awakens romance.
Love Potion #1 – Love Tea
1 Tbsp spearmint
1 Tbsp lemon balm
1 Tbsp chamomile
1 tsp hawthorn leaf and flower
1 tsp meadowsweet
1 tsp rose hips
2 Fancy Teacups
Sugar or honey (optional)
In a small bowl, blend all the dried herbs together with your right hand. As you mix the blend, focus your energy on your intention of bringing love and romance to your experience.
Using a large, basket style tea infuser in your teapot, cover the herbs with boiling water. Cover the teapot as it infuses.
Allow the herbs to steep for 10 minutes and remove the infuser. Be sure to compost the herbs, do not throw them in the garbage.
Serve the tea with honey or sugar to sweeten if desired.
Love Potion #2 – Warming Passion Wine
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 Tbsp damiana
1 Tbsp orange peel
1 tsp cinnamon chips
2 whole cloves
1 bottle either white or red wine.
Uncork the wine and decant it into a crystal bowl. Add the herbs directly to the wine and allow them to steep for approximately 3 hours.
Pour the wine through a cheesecloth lined mesh sieve into a glass Pyrex measuring pitcher.
Return the wine to the bottle or use another special serving piece or bottle.
Serve that day or the next. Garnish the wine with a small slice of orange.
Share the wine with your partner over a romantic dinner, complete with candles, and enjoy its warming and relaxing effects.
Love Potion #3 – Traditional Potion with Honey and Brandy
¼ cup spearmint
¼ cup lemon balm
¼ cup rose
¼ cup damiana
1 tsp meadowsweet
2 cups boiling water
½ cup brandy
½ cup honey
¼ cup rose water (optional)
In a heat-safe bowl, mix all dried herbs. Stir 22 to times to the right, visualizing the spirit of love rising from the blend.
Pour the boiling water over the herbs. Steep 22 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a small saucepan.
Place over low heat, and add the honey, stirring gently to the right until the honey is fully incorporated. Remove from heat and add the brandy. You can use white wine, or even mead. (If you do use mead, reduce the amount of honey by half).
Wait 22 minutes for liquid to cool.
Gently stir in the rose water.
Pour liquid into a nice, fancy bottle, and label.
This recipe should last up to six months if stored in the refrigerator.
Love Potion #4 - Romantic Bath Tea:
½ cup dried rose petals
½ cup dried lavender blossom
½ cup dried jasmine
¼ cup dried chamomile
10 drops lavender essential oil (optional)
Mix all herbs together in a large mixing bowl. Using a piece of double layered linen or cheesecloth, tie the herbs into a bag. Be sure to leave the bags somewhat large so that the herbs can infuse and are not too tightly packed together. Drop a few drops of essential oil on the exterior of the bag, and drop into the bath, essentially creating a bathtub of bath tea.
This is an excellent bath to enjoy before a romantic night, or to share with the one you love. Make it even more special with candles, music, and 13 floating rose petals.
Disclaimer: The information given herein is intended for entertainment purposes only and we make no claims of the efficacy or potency of any of the herbs described. If you are on any pharmaceutical medications, you should consult with your physician before taking any herbs or supplements as they may interfere with your medication.
Beyerl, Paul. (1998). A Compendium of Herbal Magick. Phoenix Publishing, Inc. Custer, Washington.
Cunningham, Scott. (1990). Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, Minnesota
Mars, Brigitte. AHG. (2010). The Sexual Herbal. Healing Arts Press. Rochester, Vermont