Whether you’re looking to kick-start your performance in the sheets or simply spice things up a bit, traditional Chinese medicine and Chinese folk remedies have the answer. Considering they’ve been around for thousands of years, there’s not a bedroom ailment they haven’t dealt with. All these ingredients can be easily procured from shops or restaurants throughout the city, too.
By Leanne Mirandilla
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What’s in a name? In this case of this plant, precisely what it sounds like. The story goes that a Chinese goatherd discovered the plant’s function over 2,000 years ago when he noticed that his flock was more, erm, in the mood after eating it. TCM doctors figured it must have the same effect on humans. Now, you can consume the plant yourself in tonic or pill form to beat erectile dysfunction or increase your sex drive, regardless of what you’re packing downstairs. This weed doesn’t grow on trees; however – you’ll have to get a prescription from a licensed TCM practitioner. Pay the Oriental Health Chinese Medicine Clinic in Central a visit and they’ll have you covered.
Having risen in popularity as a ‘superfruit’ with a variety of health benefits, from boosting your immune system and mood to guarding against liver damage and even cancer, it’s no surprise that the humble goji berry (aka. Chinese wolfberry) can amp up your performance in the bedroom, too. It’s said to promote sex drive and fertility through increasing sperm production and quality. The best bit? They’re easy to acquire and pretty tasty to eat, too. Simply pick up a pack from Citysuper and toss some into your breakfast cereal or smoothie.
A popular herbal ingredient that’s been used in TCM for thousands of years, ginseng possesses a wide array of properties that are beneficial to one’s health. It’s said to reduce inflammation, improve brain function, and combat fatigue, to name a few. It also has a number of functions on a more X-rated nature – boosting one’s sexual drive, stamina, physical performance and sensation, as well as fighting erectile dysfunction. Pick up some red ginseng from Cheong Kwan Jang in Sogo and stew it in water to make tea, toss it into soup, or dice it up and add it to your stir-fry. It can be consumed in tablet or oil form, too. Be advised that with ginseng you’re playing the long game – it’s a better idea to start with a low dose every day, and increase the amount over time to improve your condition, rather than popping a capsule right before getting down ’n’ dirty.
Considered a delicacy in Chinese cuisine for its rarity – subsequent premium price, and nutritional value – bird’s nest is solidified saliva created by swiftlets to build their nests. The delicacy can then be harvested and prepared for human consumption. It’s tastier than it sounds; the bird’s nest is known for its rich flavour. It’s also said to accrue a number of health benefits, including improving skin tone, digestion, cognitive functions – and libido. Although most often used in bird’s nest soup, the substance can also be incorporated into congee and rice, or even desserts such as egg tart and jelly. Pick up a jar at Eu Yan Sang.
The reasoning behind the Chinese folk belief that sea cucumber enhances sexual performance is a little on the nose; the phallus-shaped marine critter is known to stiffen and squirt water when threatened (nobody ever said folk remedies were subtle). It also apparently helps with tendinitis and arthritis. Take a stroll down Des Voeux Road West in Sheung Wan (aka. Dried Seafood Street) and you’re likely to find stacks of the dried black ingredient. Be advised, however, that cooking sea cucumber is notoriously difficult – it needs to be painstakingly cleaned, boiled, and then stewed in broth to grant it flavour. You might be better off ordering sea cucumber soup from a restaurant – Cuisine Cuisine at The Mira hotel, for instance.
Known as caterpillar fungus, this invasive species attaches itself to Tibetan silkworms in the highlands of Tibet and southwest China, killing them by overwhelming them with spores, then taking over the carcass. But don’t let its method of survival deter you. The rare ingredient has been prized in TCM for thousands of years for its restorative properties, which range from improving vitality to stamina. It’s also known to increase libido and combat erectile dysfunction and fatigue. It’s best prepared in soup or crushed into powder to make tea. Pick some up from HK JEBN or Ko Shing Street in Sheung Wan (aka. Chinese medicine street). Be warned, however, that this little creepy crawly doesn’t come cheap.