M-Aprodisiacs-art - 3/18/12
"Medieval Aphrodisiacs" by Baroness Anastasia Alexandrovna Andreeva, OL
This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.
While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.
Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous
stefan at florilegium.org
by Baroness Anastasia Alexandrovna Andreeva, OL
An aphrodisiac is an agent which causes the arousal of sexual desire. The name comes from the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite.
Some aphrodisiacs appear to gain their reputation from the principles of association, e.g. oysters, due to their shape; as well as the phallic-looking rhinoceros horn. Other animal-based aphrodisiacs gain their reputation from the apparent virility or aggressiveness of the animal source, such as tiger penis. The use of rhino horn and tiger penis to enhance male sexuality is popular among the Chinese, although no scientific basis has been established. Turtle eggs eaten raw with salt and lime juice are also said to be an aphrodisiac.
Aniseed is a very popular aphrodisiac. It has been used as such since the Greeks and the Romans who believed aniseed had special powers. Sucking on the seeds is said to increase your sexual desire.
Asparagus given its phallic shape, is frequently enjoyed as an aphrodisiac food.
Almond has been a symbol of fertility. The aroma is thought to induce passion in a female.
Arugula or "rocket" seed has been documented as an aphrodisiac since the first century A.D. This ingredient was added to grated orchid bulbs and parsnips and also combined with pine nuts and pistachios.
The Aztecs called the Avocado tree "Ahuacuatl," which translated means "testicle tree." The Aztecs thought the fruit hanging in pairs on the tree resembled the male's testicles.
Banana has a marvelous phallic shape and is partially responsible for its popularity as an aphrodisiac food. From a more practical standpoint, bananas are rich in potassium and B vitamins which are necessary for sex hormone production.
Basil (sweet basil) is said to stimulate the sex drive and boost fertility. It is also said to produce a general sense of well being for body and mind.
Garlic The 'heat' in garlic is said to stir sexual desires. Make sure you and your partner share it together. Garlic has been used for centuries to cure everything from the common cold to heart ailments.
Honey Many medicines in Egyptian times were based on honey including cures for sterility and impotence. Medieval seducers plied their partners with Mead, a fermented drink made from honey.
Liquorice (licorice) The Chinese have used licorice for medicinal purposes since ancient times. The essence of the Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) plant, glycrrhizin, is 50 times sweeter than sugar. Chewing on bits of licorice root is said to enhance love and lust. It is particularly stimulating to woman.
Mustard: Believed to stimulate the sexual glands and increase desire
Truffles The Greeks and the Romans considered the rare Truffle to be an aphrodisiac. The musky scent is said to stimulate and sensitize the skin to touch.
One of the earliest plants to be celebrated in Europe for its sexual benefits was a wild orchid called satyrion. This Greek pleasure plant was dried and powdered to produce a very potent nectar which when added to wine drove one wild with passion. The philosopher Theophrastus reported that it allowed a man to perform 70 consecutive acts of sexual intercourse. Unfortunately the result was that satyrion became extremely popular, the seeds were all consumed rather than some being sown, and the plant was in effect eaten to extinction.
The Romans were also enthusiastic about reported aphrodisiacs and used them to make numerous love potions, with many passing into wide usage. Apuleius, a Roman writer of the second century AD, created a potion of his own and gave it to a wealthy widow, who was won over and married him. However, relatives who had hoped to inherit- from her sued Apuleius for leading her astray with his diabolical magic potion and subverting her true wishes. He defended himself with the argument that her energy had been much restored by the potion and she was noticeably happier now. The court ruled in his favor.
Arano, Luisa Cogliati, The Medieval Health Handbook -- Tacuinum Sanitatis George Braziller Inc, 1992
Culpepper, Nicholas. Culpeper's Herbal. Arcturus, 2009
Dioscorides Pedanius of Anazarbos. The Greek Herbal of Dioscorides De Materia Medica Translated by Goodyer, John 1592-1664 and Gunther, R. T 1869-1940
Freeman, Margaret B. Herbs for the Mediaeval Household. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, U.S. A, 1979
Fuchs, Leonhard, The Great herbal of Leonhart Fuchs, de historia stirpium commentaii Fuchs. Basle, 1543
Gerard, John. The Herbal or General History of Plants Enlarged and revised by Thomas Johnson. Dover Publications 1975
Nostrodamus, The Elixirs of Nostrodamus: Nostrodamus' Original Recipes for Elixirs, Scented Water, Beauty Potions and Sweetmeats. Moyer Bell Ltd., 1996
Piemontese, Alessio (G. Ruscelli) The secrets containing many excellent remedies against divers diseases, wounds, and other accidents. With the maner to make distillations, parfumes, confitures, Dyings, colours, fusions, and meltings. William Stansby for Richard Meighen and Thomas Iones, 1615
Copyright 2011 by Marilee Humason <stasiwa at yahoo.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited. Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.
If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.