Chinese Aphrodisiacs

There’s nothing like a nice, big dinner to make your date loosen their belt. Getting their pants entirely off – well, that too can be left to the meal. Foods have paraded through centuries as aphrodisiacs. From Casanova’s alleged lustful oyster addiction to the purported Viagra-like properties of nutmeg, there’s an edible mood enhancer for every occasion (and we find a nice bottle of wine often does the trick too). With the most commercially romantic day of the year just behind us, Saveur has a great slideshow of the top international aphrodisiacs, but read on to find out what the Chinese use to get their mojo going.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) connects the sexual organs to kidney function, which doesn’t bode well for most of this city’s dipsomaniac expat population. Luckily there’s a ton of veggies, herbs and tonics that get your chi flowing through your kidney channels. Gentleman, start your libidos.

Chinese Yam

Known as 山药 or shanyao, Chinese yam is most often used as a tonic for the reproductive system. A holistic medicine for premature ejaculation and leukorrhagia (if you don’t know what that is… maybe don’t google it. And definitely do not google image it).

Caterpillar Fungus

The reverence for this powerful aphrodisiac (冬虫夏草 or dongchongxiacao) stretches back over a millennia in China. The fungi enhance kidney yang and kidney yin, a double whammy for sexual function.

Chinese Ginseng

Already famous in the west for its ability to perk up sleepy office workers, this herb also stimulates below the belt. Known as 人参 or rénshen, Chinese Ginseng consumption affects the body in the same way that sex and adrenal hormones. But don’t pop this one pre-coitus, it’s a long-term cure.

Ginkgo Biloba

Yín xìng (银杏), also known as the Maidenhair Tree, is native to China, but was thought to be extinct until recently. The tree is supposed to have a plethora of health properties, including increased circulation to all body parts, if you get my drift.

Animal Penis


China’s obsession with penis became a Internet meme in 2006 after the BBC posted an article about Beijing’s Penis Emporium. Tiger penis (虎阴茎 huyinjing) is the most prized of the animal kingdom’s appendages, but it’s hard to come by because, well, tigers are endangered. Ox and goat penis (牛阴茎 niú yinjing and 山羊阴茎 shanyáng yinjing, respectively) are environmentally sound substitutes. Not for ladies.

Deer Antlers

These horny appendages (鹿茸 or lùróng) are best when taken right as the stags enter mating season (more testosterone). Good for both boys and girls who suffer from ailments in their private parts.

Reishi Mushrooms

Known as Magic Kidney Mushrooms, these fungi (灵芝 or língzhi) are good for kidney function, which results in healthy sexual organs. Expect increased libido and fertility!

LGBT Kiss-In, China Style
8km Race in Shanghai Jinqiao

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