On the subject of fragrant love making the world go round, let us remember the contributions of the ‘Indian Cupid’ Kama, or Kamdev, the God of Desire. Accompanied by his wife Rati, the Apsaras, and Vasanta, the Spring Goddess, he would roam the forests, and strike unsuspecting victims using arrows tipped with Jasmine and Mango flowers, or white and blue Lotuses. The Kama Sutra prescribes the use of attars, or perfumed oils, and Vedic texts like the Gandhayukti and Brihat Samhita describe recipes for scented soaps, incense, mouth fresheners, and talcs. Aromatherapy is also central to Vajikarna Tantra, the branch of Ayurveda dealing with aphrodisiacal therapy.
Pheromones are chemical substances, which when released by the body, influence other beings physiologically. The word pheromone comes from the Greek words, pherein, ( ‘to bear, or carry’), and hormon, (‘to excite’). Human pheromones increase feelings of positivity, comfort, and sexual attraction, all regulated through the primal seat of emotional regulation in the human brain – the limbic system. Aromas, memories, and emotions interact within this network of 34 structural components and 53 pathways, which is why we tend to associate colours and pictures from memory and experience to describe different scents.
APHRODISIACAL ESSENTIAL OILS
Pheromones may represent your inherent biological scent, or your ‘scent signature’, but there is no reason why you cannot use aromatherapy to revel in your distinct, creative aroma-aura. Essential oils with aphrodisiac properties include:
• Black Pepper
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to the femininity, or masculinity of essential oils. Aromatherapy is extremely personal, and everyone has their own individual interpretation of what a fragrance means for them, based on their private emotional triggers and associated memories.
Aromatherapy rituals to create a magical Valentines Day
• Prepare your private spaces with aromatic candles, incense sticks, and diffuser oils, using a singular essential oil, or essential oil blend, of your choice.
• Scenting bed linen and hosiery/lingerie with essential oils entails using linen sprays, dried potpourris, or even dried stalks and stems of flowers like roses, or lavender. They perfume fabrics in a subtle, non-intrusive, and intriguing way, which adds sensual detailing to the overall effort of creating a ‘Valentine’s Special’ environment.
• Him and Her Baths/Showers: Essential oil-infused bath salts are easily available, as are scented soaps, and body washes/shower gels. Else, the easiest way to include aromatherapy in bathing rituals, is to add a few drops of essential oil to the bath water. You will be surprised at how long the scent can linger on in your bathroom, or shower cubicle!
• Him and Her Body Massages:Try a gently decadent Rose Oil massage, the ultimate Valentine exercise to celebrate new love; and to revel in, or revive a long-standing relationship. You may be aware of how personal a mode of non-verbal communication the sense of touch is. But, you may have forgotten how to tie them in with your repository of memories as a couple, owing to the daily stresses of your combined, and individual lives. This is a beautifully therapeutic way to reminisce, and re-ignite.
Do not be despondent if your partner is going to be physically away from you on Valentine’s Day. You can gift them grooming essentials which incorporate their favourite aromas in some way. Or, small bottles of pure essential oils are easy to nestle away in their suitcase, before they leave. Some of the aphrodisiacal oils mentioned above are also very de-stressing, like Lavender, Frankincense, Rose, Jasmine, Patchouli, and Ylang-Ylang. Not only will your partner be able to soothe their preoccupied mind and tired body; but they will be able to liven up their mood, because the oils will remind them of you when you’re away from each other.