Have things not been as hot as you’d like in the bedroom lately? Perhaps you find yourself saying “not tonight honey more often than you’d like. Stress, exhaustion, hormonal fluctuations and less than optimal health can all leave you feeling less than your sexiest and just a little blah, which can adversely affect your sex life.

Since a healthy sex life is a stress buster, joy inducer, and is really good way to connect in your relationship, sex isn’t something you want to let go by the wayside. The yogis will say not to overdo sex too much, but finding a good balance is the key. So if you’ve been turning your partner down a little more in the bedroom that you’d like, perhaps it’s time to turn to some natural spices to turn the heat up.

1. Saffron

These little yellow threads add flavor and color to the traditional rice dish paella. While saffron is expensive, a tiny bit goes a long way. Large amounts can result in overdose (so don’t take it as a supplement), but just a thread or two can increase sex drive, according to a 2011 University of Guelph study presented in the journal Food and Research International. Saffron also has antioxidant qualities and supplies selenium, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. Try making some saffron brown rice.

2. Fenugreek

The seeds of this plant are commonly found in curries, and other Indian cuisine. The spice itself has a warm, intriguing flavor. A Centre for Integrative Clinical and Molecular Medicine study conducted in 2011 showed that taking fenugreek increased the sex drive in low-libido men. Fenugreek may also help lower blood sugar levels in diabetics, and lactating women have used the spice for decades to increase milk production. Fenugreek seeds are also one of the easiest seeds to sprout, and one of my personal faves.

3. Fennel

This licorice-flavored herb looks a little like celery with lacy fronds at the top. You can chop fennel stalks and add them to foods much like you would celery, or use the fronds to flavor foods. You can also grind the seeds as a spice. The ancient Egyptians used fennel to boost women’s libido, and it turns out there is a good reason it worked. Fennel contains chemicals that may increase sex drive. Fennel is also used to aid digestion, assist with lactation, and to loosen phlegm in bronchial passages. Okay, I admit I personally think licorice is just nasty, but if you like it it will be great for you to use for your benefit!

4. Cloves

This warming, slightly sweet spice increases blood flow and body temperature. Cloves also increase energy and ingesting them leaves you sweetly scented. All of these serve to create a powerful sexual attractant. Cloves are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, and vitamin K, and they contain eugenol, which serves as an antiseptic and mild anesthetic.

5. Garlic

It always makes me chuckle when I include garlic on a list of sex-enhancing foods. After all, people on dates often avoid garlic because they don’t want to kill the mood with smelly breath when the evening turns to romance. Still, regardless of how it makes your breath smell, the high levels of allicin in garlic improves blood flow to your sexual organs, and that’s a turn on. So what’s more important??? There’s always parsley for your breath. Garlic is also great for your heart, and it has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. For the perfect dish for your next date night, try out my quinoa stuffed peppers.

6. Ginger

How much do I love ginger? This warming herb comes from the root of the ginger plant, and it imparts a spicy, slightly sweet flavor and scent. Like garlic, ginger increases blood flow, especially to the sexual organs. It also warms you up, and it smells a lot better than garlic. Many cultures have used ginger as an aphrodisiac, and Dr. Mehmet Oz confirmed it on a recent show, when he listed ginger as one of his top 4 libido boosters. Ginger is also high in potassium, magnesium, and copper. It is a great anti-nausea substance, and has anti-inflammatory effects.

7. Cardamom

The ancient healing art of Ayurveda recommends cardamom for low libido. This spice contains high levels of cineole, which increases blood flow to the male and female sexual regions. That may increase desire. Cardamom also balances doshas (Ayurvedic body energies), and has detoxifying properties. I use cardamom in my home-made chai teas.

8. Nutmeg

Another sweetly scented spice, nutmeg has long been used in Indian culture as a very popular libido booster. In Africa, many people refer to nutmeg as “Viagra for women.” Researchers at the Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, India tested nutmeg as an aphrodisiac using animal studies and found that it did, indeed, increase sexual behaviors. It is great sprinkled on top of sweet potatoes.

9. Cayenne

It only make sense that hot peppers will cause a little sizzle in the bedroom. Cayenne and similar hot peppers not only heat up the body, but they also speed metabolism and increase blood flow to sensitive areas. Eating cayenne also gives you an attractive, flushed appearance, which may help heat things up for your partner, as well. Cayenne may also be beneficial to heart health, and could help you lose weight by firing up your metabolism.

10. Basil

This sweet herb has a pleasant taste and stimulating scent that is known to increase sex drive. In fact, Italians call Basil “Kiss me Nicholas,” and ancient Greeks served basil to horses to before they bred them. Many attribute basil’s sweet scent with its sex-boosting properties, so take a heady whiff and see if it doesn’t get you in the mood!

New York Times Bestseller and Nutritionist