Note from Carolyn:
If you don't like pumpkin, you can grab Bomba
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The smell of pumpkin may produce sexual arousal in men, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation of Chicago.
"Throw away the perfume and go get some pumpkin pie," said foundation director Alan Hirsch.
Researchers had 31 men between the ages of 18 and 64 breathe through various masks, which either exposed them to odorless or fragrant air. The researchers tested 24 different fragrances while measuring the men's sexual arousal-related blood flow with a device called a plethysmograph.
The researchers found that pumpkin and lavender was the most stimulating fragrance combination, producing an arousal response in 40 percent of men. Pumpkin mixed with donuts produced a response in 20 percent of men. The smell of vanilla was also popular, as was the smell of cinnamon buns. Strawberry was especially effective at producing arousal in men who self-reported having a satisfying sex life.
"If you have trouble raising an erection, you may want to try scenting your bedroom with pumpkin or cinnamon potpourri or candles [instead of with drugs]," writes James A. Duke in his book "The Green Pharmacy Anti-Aging Prescriptions."
Every smell tested produced some degree of physical arousal. Even cranberry, one of the poorest performers, led to a 2 percent increase in penile blood flow.
"Nothing turns a man - off," Hirsch said.
The researchers were unable to explain why smells seem to have such a strong effect on male arousal. The olfactory bulb of the brain might directly trigger pleasure centers, or the effect may be more psychological.
"The odors could induce a Pavlovian conditioned response reminding partners of sexual partners or their favorite foods," the researchers suggested.
Squashes such as pumpkin have also been linked to the promotion of prostate health and may even alleviate urination problems caused by an inflamed prostate gland. Pumpkin seeds are also high in zinc, which may promote higher testosterone levels.
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