Get in the Mood: Top Aphrodisiac Ingredients

Whether you're friends looking to spice things up, lovers celebrating your relationship or a couple with a romantic streak, these aphrodisiac ingredients will surely make your Valentine's Day memorable.

Chocolate, figs, and vanilla were revered throughout history for their association with passion and desire.

Check out our recipes for these ingredients and a few others that will get you in the mood.

Vanilla

Vanilla

All forms of vanilla are popular in baking, and fresh vanilla beans are one of the most sought-after ingredients. The fragrant aroma and rich flavor of vanilla add a layer of complexity to anything to which you add it. So let's say you want to go all-out and really impress your significant other this holiday. Try making one of these rich vanilla cakes.

Buddy's Vanilla Cake

Clinton Street Baking Company's Black & White Cake

Kewl Blended Orange Vanilla Bean Creamsicles

Top Aphrodisiac Ingredients

Figs

Figs have long been associated with religious and cultural tradition, so much so that several species of the tree are specified as sacred. Buddha is said to have found enlightenment while meditating under a fig tree.

Not only does the fruit of this tree carry religious significance, it is also delicious. When putting together your Valentine's Day dinner consider revisiting a an old-time favorite, Fig Newtons. This updated recipe pairs a sweet cookie crust with a savory fig jam.

Fig Newtons

Dijon Pork With Red Fruit Compote and Blueberry Accents, and All-American Potatoes

Rachael Ray's Love Birds (Chicken in Pastry)

Garlic

Garlic

Greeks and Egyptians understood and appreciated the sexual appeal of garlic. It was embraced and used in many festive dishes, but it wasn't until recently that its association with health was understood. According to Dr. Joerg Gruenwald of Berlin University, "A lot of men with heart disease will have impotence but not realize 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."

Whether you're eating it for medical reasons or just because it tastes good, here are some garlic-rich recipes that are sure to please.

Turkey Bolognese Sauce

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Simple Sautéed Escarole with Garlic and Crushed Red Pepper

Top Aphrodisiac Ingredients

Ginger

Ginger

Ginger is not just a delicious, aromatic root vegetable. It also offers substantial health benefits. The Whole Foods website says, "Ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects."

So feel great this Valentine's Day with these ginger-filled recipes:

Classic Dry-Fried Pepper and Salt Shrimp

Gingersnaps

Apple Brown Betty

Honey

Honey

Sweeten your Valentine's Day with a spoonful of honey. The history and mythology surrounding honey is almost as rich as its taste. Cupid was known for dipping his arrows in honey before shooting them at unsuspecting lovers. Mead, an alcoholic drink made with honey, became popular in the Golden Age of Greece.

Here are a few recipes rich in your favorite honey flavor:

Honey Bun Cake

Yummy Caramel Corn

Warm Cinnamon Mattés

Top Aphrodisiac Ingredients

Lavender

Lavender

The smell of lavender has a tremendous effect on blood flow, increasing it up to 40 percent, according to howstuffworks.com. This effect is thought to increase sexual abilities, making just the smell of it a powerful aphrodisiac.

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