The culmination of more than 30 years of cultural, anthropological, and scientific research, this encyclopedia examines the botany, pharmacology, history, preparation, dosage, and practical use of more than 400 erotically stimulating substances from antiquity to the present day. From plants and animals that enhance fertility and virility, like celery, snails, or oysters, to substances that induce arousal, like ephedra, opium, or cannabis, the encyclopedia is richly illustrated with more than 800 color photographs--many of which are from the authors' extensive fieldwork around the world. Exploring individual, medicinal, and ritual use through historic and contemporary artwork, personal accounts, and literature as well as ayurvedic, tantric, shamanic, and European folklore practices and recent pharmacological research, the authors look at the revolving cycle of acceptance and condemnation of aphrodisiacs, the qualities that incur the label of aphrodisiac, the role of mind and setting, and the different ways aphrodisiacs stimulate desire--either physically, through the senses and vital organs, or mentally, through heightened awareness and altered consciousness. This comprehensive guide reveals these remedies of the love goddess as holy remedies whose proper use can help reestablish harmony with oneself, one's partner, and the universe.
Christian Ratsch, Ph.D., is a world-renowned anthropologist and ethnopharmacologist who specializes in the shamanic uses of plants. He is the author of Marijuana Medicine and The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants and coauthor of Plants of the Gods. Claudia Muller-Ebeling, Ph.D., is an art historian and anthropologist and coauthor, with Christian Ratsch, of Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalayas, Witchcraft Medicine, and Pagan Christmas. Both authors live in Hamburg, Germany.