Book Notes: Plants with Benefits

Plants with benefits


Amp Up Your Valentine’s Day with Some Sexy Plants

By Teresa Woodard

Planning a romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day? Well, seek out garden writer Helen Yoest’s intriguing book, Plants with Benefits for some helpful advice and titillating recipes.

From arugula to watermelon, she compiles an uninhibited guide to 45 aphrodisiac plants and cleverly uses this sexy topic and a good dose of humor to share the history and science lessons behind each plant.

After reading her account on lavender, I’ll definitely be planting more of this intoxicating perennial to my landscape. Lav ang. Hidcote Marys garden cropFrom historic days, women like the Queen of Sheba and Cleopatra knew the power of this alluring scent as they doused themselves with this love potion. More recently, Yoest says a food aroma study proved the scent’s seductive power among men. In fact, the fragrance of lavender increased participants’ blood flow by 40 percent compared to pizza (5 percent) or popcorn (9 percent).

While the book’s lavender cookie recipe might make a good addition to a Valentine’s Day menu, I’m thinking I’ll start with a basil pesto spread. Yoest says the herb was used as a love token thousands of years ago in Malaysia, Iran and Egypt, and its aroma still “drives us wild” today.PPA Bowood Farms 2 7-22-09 resize

For the entry, I’ll serve up my husband’s favorite tenderloin steak with a flirtatious side dish of asparagus and morels. Yoest praises asparagus for its suggestive qualities and hormone-boosting power. Morels, once named Phallus exculentus by father of taxonomy Carl Linnaeus, is praised for its warming effects much like cayenne and its power-packed nutrients.

And of course, for dessert, chocolate may be the classic choice, but I think I’ll have more luck with a honey treat, like Honey Apple Crisp. Yoest writes how Cupid, the trickster, dipped his arrows in honey before aiming at lovers.

Check out Plants with Benefits for planning your own Valentine’s Day menu and planting a love-filled garden.

“A plant that helps us to love is a plant worth having,” says Yoest.


One response to “Book Notes: Plants with Benefits

  1. Pingback: Plants, Gardens Becoming Trendy — Again | heartlandgardening

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