The traditional Ukrainian folk medicine does not contain that many recipes for aphrodisiacs or 'privorotnoye zelje' (best translated as "love potion"). Ukrainian men are supposed to possess great natural sexual powers and Ukrainian women are, in the same way, supposed always to be interested and willing.
Thus, the major purpose of the Ukrainian love potions is not to increase the sexual capacity but to direct the desires towards a particular individual. Largely, the love potions ar used by women who want to attract the attention of specific members of the opposite sex. Another purpose of the love potions could be to increase fertility. Furthermore, there is a small group of recipes aimed at curing impotency and mainly intended for older people.
Hemp, in Latin Cannabis sativa, is a plant that is very popular in Ukraine and has many medical applications. As an aphrodisiac, the most powerful preparation according to popular believes are the roasted and salted hemp seeds. However, they should only be used by men. Earlier, it was customary to feed the bridegroom roasted hemp seeds during the wedding dinner. The seeds could be served as a part of a special wedding bread or as an ingredient of a wedding night drink.
An oil prepared from the flowers of Vinca major is believed to increase the sexual capacity of man. It can either be consumed or applied externally.
A more traditional periwinkle recipe to increase sexual desire (to be used by men only!) is as follows:
Cover 20 grammes of the fresh, blossoming plant with 250 ml of vodka or whisky and let the mixture simmer, covered, for at least 0.5 hour. Take 8 drops of the filtered potion twice a day for four days, then make a two-day-break after which you can continue taking the potion for another four days.
The roots of Rhodiola rosea L. have been known as a powerful stimulant for centuries and were a favoured ingredient in many folk love potions. The legendary Ukrainian prince Danila Galitsky (XIII century) who had a considerable reputation for remarkable amorous feats used to say that he took strength from the 'golden root of Karpaty' (it grows in the Karpatian mountains). The major use of the golden root is in the form of an alcoholic drink called "nastojka". Fresh roots are mixed with 40% alcohol (e.g. vodka) and are kept in dark place for at least one week (if you are not in a hurry it is better to let the extraction continue for a few weeks). Use equal parts (by weight) of roots and alcohol solution.
A teaspoon of the resulting "nastojka" after breakfast, lunch and dinner for 2-3 weeks will produce remarkable effects both in men and women.
Golden root has recently been approved as an official Ukrainian medicinal drug. Its use and applications are similar to those of ginseng. One of Mrs. Zubar's acquaintances reported that he once drank a bottle of golden root 'nastojka' (150 gr.) and 'had wonderful sex all night long'. But three days later he had strong headaches and 'no desire at all'.
Ruta, in Latin Ruta graveolens L., is the most popular 'female' aphrodisiac. There are numerous folk rhymes and songs about its ability to charm men. A must of love potions. Women drank a decoction of ruta, "ruta-nastojka" to become loved and wanted.
According to a folk legend witches used to bring teenage boys to fields where the ruta was blossoming. The strong scent made the boys became 'possesed by witch desires', whereupon they lost their virginity.
Even today experienced women meet their lovers near blossoming ruta fields because of the effect of the scent. "I have ruta in my garden and I experienced its effect myself" says Mrs. Zubar.
Carrot and Celery
There is an old Ukrainian belief that carrot will increase the sexual capacity of a man. There is old Ukrainian saying: 'If your husband is old and weak you must have him to drink juice from two big carrots and one celery'. Celery is a very popular folk aphrodisiac in Poland and the Czech Republic, possibly due to the "doctrine of similarities".
Levisticum officinale, in Ukranian "lubistok" was and is still believed to be useful for attracting lovers. It is used in a similar way all over Europe, however in Ukraine dried as well as fresh roots instead of the leaves. A bath containing leaves is recommended as relaxing treatment of when being tense and nervous.
A decoction or "nastojka" made from the root is still used to cure impotency and increase the sexual power, however only for men. "I cannot vote for it," says Mrs. Zubar, "but a herbalist I know personally makes special portion based on Lubistok root extract and claims it cures impotency. I only know for sure it sells well."
In an opinion-poll made among the readers of the magazine "Kopilka" the most popular aphrodisiac turned out to be a mixture of sour cream and beer (1:1). The idea that this mixture stimulates sexual activity first appeared in the mid 1970s and still lives on.