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Aphrodisiacs - The Food Of Love Wasn't Always, Well, So Appetizing!

Updated on October 17, 2016
Love in Ancient Greece
Love in Ancient Greece | Source

Food Glorious Food or Not!

Food has always been an aphrodisiac. These days we eat Oysters and drink Champagne to make our juices, well, flow.

But back in the deep dark annals of history, the food of love was slightly different. Let's just say that if we were given these tokens of love today, we would probably look at the person in astonishment. Food and romance go together. Or do they?

For example, if an ancient Greek knocked on your door with the udder of a hyena tied round his left arm you would be disgusted. But back then the guy would be confident that no girl would be able to resist him!

If this failed to warm the ardor then he could work a still more powerful love magic with a calf's brain or hair from a wolfs tail. Then he would add snake bones, or the feathers from a screech owl! I am sure the women thought he was wonderful!

Ancient Rome Women Making Potions
Ancient Rome Women Making Potions | Source

Love Potions.

Throughout the ages, both sexes have sought love by using a potion. Women of ancient Rome brewed up concoctions that were so strong they were said to be dangerous. And they were soon made illegal!

The poet, Lucretius and others, were said to be driven mad by one of these potions. And it wasn't mad with love!

Even Emperors fell foul of these dastardly women. Or maybe they really thought it would work. The Emperor Caligula was thrown into a fit by a potion made by his wife in an effort to retain his affection. Seems she went too far!

There is no record of the actual recipe for the potion, but it was clearly poisonous so its probably a good thing it wasn't documented.


The Harem
The Harem | Source

Constantinople.

Back in 400BC, in the Harems of Constantinople and Egypt, cakes were made from asses milk and honey. This is similar to the Witches or Pagans recipe of today.

In fact this is where the word Honeymoon came from. The cakes were eaten after a wedding, or jumping of the broom as they called it.

How many people today go on their honeymoon knowing that they should have eaten honey cakes? No, not many!

Back then it was Hippocrates who recommended the cakes as healthy, and a great aphrodisiac. Hippocrates was the Father of Medicine. So he may well have been onto something there.

Of course many of the old love potions and food were made from herbs and flowers and gathered on Midsummer's Eve.


The Real Mandrake Root xenolithic.blogspot.com
The Real Mandrake Root xenolithic.blogspot.com

Do You Believe In The Power Of Aphrodisiacs?

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Mandrake

The plant known as mandrake and woman-drake, was said in the Bible to have the qualities of both a fertility drug and an aphrodisiac.

In the book of Genesis, the records say that Rachel who had no children, bargained with Leah for some of her mandrake which she believed would help her get pregnant.

The mandrake is a Southern European plant that was said to have magical properties due to its shape. It has greenish yellow flowers, and a branched root. As it resembles the shape of the human body people believed that it was a healthy remedy for infertility.

In fact, the root of the Mandrake plant contains the poisonous alkaloid hyoscyamine which increases heart rate and lowers blood pressure.

Its actually used in medicine these days to help patients with peptic ulcers, colic, and some heart problems.

Too much causes hallucinations and medical problems.

www.reynoldsburgtomatofestival.org  Tomato as an aphrodisiac.
www.reynoldsburgtomatofestival.org Tomato as an aphrodisiac.

The Amorous Tomato and Phallic Bread!

The ancient Greeks used to bake their bread in phallic form! They believed that it would give them prowess in love. Grapes were also a favorite too. And the Romans also believed in the power of grapes.

Eggs were also eaten for this reason purely because of the connection between procreation and new life.

Even the good old potato had its day. When it was first brought over to Spain in 1534, it is said that the cost was £250 a pound. Purely as a love food and not for gastronomy.

The tomato has had a strange history. For centuries it was called pomme d'ore or golden apple. But this was soon changed to pomme d'amour, apple of love.

In England, tomatoes were frowned upon purely because of their connection to the more amorous side of passion. According to the Puritans, tomatoes were said to be poisonous and were banned for over 200 years!

Luckily in 1830 sense returned and the good old tomato was put back where it belonged, on the table of rich people to be eaten as plain old wholesome food.


Grapes as an aphrodisiac.
Grapes as an aphrodisiac. | Source

All Those Foods To Get You In The Mood!

Thank goodness these days it just takes a bottle of wine, a meal in a restaurant and maybe a couple of Oysters, well, perhaps not those slimy Oysters but you get the point!

Back then in the good old days we had to be careful what we ate to get us or our partners in the mood for lurve!

The one thing I can never understand is why do we need food to make us feeling amorous? I think it's a purely psychological idea that gives us the feeling of being closer to the person we are with. Maybe the routine of eating, chatting and laughing makes us relax more.

If we want an aphrodisiac its said that chocolate is probably one of the best. That will do for me! And of course a large bottle of wine will go down nicely too.

(c) copyright nell rose

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What a creative topic. I don't know how many views you'll get with this one, but from my standpoint I was elated to read about something that hasn't been covered by 1000 Hubbers. LOL Well done, Nell!

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi billy, lol! for some reason I just thought of it, maybe because I was stuffing my face with lots of chocolate! thanks as always, and I love the way you are always the first to comment, you are on the ball! lol!

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 3 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Very interesting hub. I love it. Thank you for writing it.

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 3 years ago

      Chocolate, red wine, a dozen oysters for sure and even pasta cooked in wine are some good aphrodisiacs, but as for me, I don't really need food to get me in an amorous mood. Lol. of course you have to be with the right person too. A very good hub. voted up interesting.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Um...eat all those goodies, pass out and say wake me when it is over!

      Fun and interesting read as always. ^

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Fascinating hub here, Nell! I am with you on the chocolate! Scientists have found that chocolate releases the same endorphins in our brains as when we fall in love. So, it's no wonder we love our chocolate!!! Oh, and the thing about the oysters is just a myth. One could eat five dozen and one poor soul would just be no better off in the love department, but for that psychological aspect, as you stated.

      Voted up +++ and sharing

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Guess those oysters didn't work for Faith. Personally I would rather go to bed with a box of chocolates. lol...

    • Nell Rose profile image
      Author

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi Jackie, LOL! I knew you would say that! me too sometimes! chocolate, and a good dvd! thanks as always, nell

    • Nell Rose profile image
      Author

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi Faith, yes I will go for the chocolate then! lol! I thought oysters were a bit yuck now I know they are worth nothing, throw them away! lol! thanks as always, nell

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Thanks again Jackie, lol! by the way have you finished the thingy I sent you yet?

    • Nell Rose profile image
      Author

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Same here Lovedoc, who needs food when you have a very fit man? lol! thanks as always, nell

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Thanks Michele, glad you liked it, nell

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 3 years ago from North-East UK

      Great hub Nell - I must admit chocolate gets me in the mood....for more chocolate :o) Very interesting!

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Lol! Thanks Jools! yep me too!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Now i know why i follow you, you write the most interesting stories EVER. It is so much more fun to read about history when it's written in a humorous style...Just give me a plate of fudge and i'm good to go..LOL

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Ruby, Haha! now your talking! a plate of fudge, sounds awesome to me! thanks as always, nell

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      Outstanding hub Nell! Totally creative and a subject anyone would want to read about. You've covered it so well and picked some great art to go with it. This is a truly well done hub and in addition, fun to read because it is so well written.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting and shared. Oh, and by the way, give me chocolate anytime, it puts me in the mood for anything you want ;)

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I mailed it back to you right away, didn't you get it, should I send it again?

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Truly amazing idea for a hub with such lovely photos, you created an interesting and funfilled hub

    • profile image

      Jackie 3 years ago

      I finished and mailed back Tues but have resent it. Let me know.

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi Jackie, no I searched everywhere but its not here on my email, can you send it again? thanks!

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi mary, lol! thanks so much, such a great comment you made my day! lol! and yes chocolate!

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi DDE, thanks so much for reading, nell

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Just resent to both of you and made sure it was sent.

    • Nell Rose profile image
      Author

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Thanks Jackie, I will go take a look, nell

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 3 years ago from Sunny Florida

      What a great topic. I've got to day I'm glad I didn't live back in the day when all a young man needed to do to entice was offer up some calf brains.

    • Nell Rose profile image
      Author

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi Koffee, great to see you, lol! yes I know what you mean! yuck! haha! thanks so much for reading, nell

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 3 years ago from south Florida

      What an interesting fun hub this is, Nell. Thank you for this treat. I knew that chocolate, tomatoes and oysters were considered aphrodisiacs, but I must confess that hyena udders and calves' brains are new to me in that regard. Ugh!

      Voted Up though!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Interesting read and love potions ruled the roost not only back then but even today when we have the likes of a Viagra here and there. Though Naturopathy and Ayurvedic medicine consider some foods as being having powers equivalent to love potions.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for another very interesting hub, Nell! It's fascinating to learn about the beliefs of people in the past, especially when these are so different from our present beliefs!

    • Elias Zanetti profile image

      Elias Zanetti 3 years ago from Athens, Greece

      A fascinating subject and an original idea for a hub, Nell! The historical background and uses of aphrodisiacs in past cultures was really informative and fun to read.

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Thanks Elias, glad you liked it, nell

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi Alicia, thanks so much, and I am glad you liked it, nell

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      HI rajan, yes that's so true, and the naturopathy is definitely the modern version of the old aphrodisiac treatment, thanks!

    • Nell Rose profile image
      Author

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      HI drbj, yes those hyena udders are a bit of a put off! haha! thanks so much for reading, nell

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      An interesting read and a great insight into aphrodisiacs of the past. Chocolate and wine is spot on. Great hub and voted up.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I will take sweets, and plenty of them.

    • Nell Rose profile image
      Author

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi Vellur, yes the chocolate and wine are the best! lol! thanks for reading, nell

      Hi Deb, lol! I am eating sweets now, just for the fun of it, oh and the added weight, well, perhaps not! thanks as always, nell

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image

      Gordon Hamilton 3 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Fabulous topic, Nell. You always astound me where you get them from!

      Certainly a few here I've never come across - though I can think of a few ladies from my past whom I would love to send an hyena's udder or calf brain! I try, however, to focus on the present.

      The oysters one - I have read many times - is based on alleged scientific fact and is related to the high levels of zinc in seafood and shellfish in particular. The good news is, if it were true and given the amount of seafood and shellfish I eat, I would be the modern day equivalent of Casanova, Eros and Romeo all rolled in to one. The bad news is, it's clearly not true...

      Chocolate I've read is something to do with the way the cacao bean stimulates enzymes in the brain, or something like that. Pity I don't like chocolate...

      One you may not have heard of is carrots. I'm sure I've got a photo on my PC to explain that remark. I'll search tomorrow (have taken a note) and if I can find it, I'll send you it on.

      Great read! :)

    • Nell Rose profile image
      Author

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi Gordon, lol! Casanova! at least with the carrots you will see your partner in the dark! Hahaha! Thanks for the laugh!

    • marion langley profile image

      marion langley 3 years ago from The Study

      Interesting....and the tough man in dreads with the grapes...made me laugh. I've never been swept away by a particular food source but I know I feel loved when my husband brings home food and he feels it when I go to extra efforts to make his favorite meals....or is it the short skirt and heels in the kitchen? Oh well. *wink* Thanks for writing.

    • profile image

      leann2800 3 years ago

      Wow, I had no idea what the origin of the word Honeymoon was...asses milk and honey? Hmmmmm...

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 3 years ago from South Africa

      Yes, because of all the food and delicatessen, not to mention chocolate, Champagne and red wine, I am now 10 pounds heavier than 15 months ago when I met my BF. This is one of the bad things that happens in a closed relationship: gaining weight due to eating and drinking. I just don’t eat that much when I am alone. Anyway.... I’ve heard that this and that are aphrodisiacs, but really, I agree with you, Nell, the simple fact that we relax while having a romantic or even an ordinary pleasant dinner together, focusing on each other – looking at each other, talking, listening – is the real/true aphrodisiac. And alcohol, of course, is an instant relaxer and also destroyer of inhibitions.

      Oysters? I guess I must first try it before saying something about it.

      In Afrikaans our word for honeymoon is ‘wittebrood’ (white bread). Now I am curious to know where this came from. Perhaps the couple had to eat white bread (instead of brown bread) at the wedding ceremony? I am putting this on my list ‘research to be done’.

      Very interesting hub, Nell.

      Oh, I’ve heard that the flower of the Periwinkle has one or the other magical power, but I haven’t tried it... yet. Lol!

    • Nell Rose profile image
      Author

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi Martie, lol! the Periwinkle? the white bread may be a similar thing back in history maybe from a different country, each country on their wedding day ate various things, I will have a look too, and yes I totally understand the weight thing! lol! thanks as always, nell

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi leanne, yes amazing isn't it? thanks so much for reading, nell

    • Nell Rose profile image
      Author

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi marion, lol! yes I just couldn't resist the photo! and I would think that the heels and skirt probably do do it! haha! thanks for reading, nell

    • beckieland profile image

      Rebecca Mayglothling 3 years ago from Binghamton NY

      This article was fun! It's peppered with facts and fun ancedotes. I will disagree with you though - I would certainly eat honeycakes any time of the year! But only if the ingredients were flour, honey and milk... I also love the pictures in this article. You've done a really great job splitting up the article and you've inspired me to make my articles better. Now please excuse me while I go grab a regular old tomato.

    • Nell Rose profile image
      Author

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi beckie, lol! glad you liked it, and thanks!

    • beckieland profile image

      Rebecca Mayglothling 3 years ago from Binghamton NY

      You're from England? Watch out for those Puritan poison tomatoes!!!! :)

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi beckie, LOL! I will!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 3 years ago from Orange County, CA

      It would be more useful to me to learn about foods to get me OUT of the mood, LOL. Maybe it's all those tomatoes that I love eating. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • Nell Rose profile image
      Author

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi alocsin, LOL! yes its those tomatoes! haha! thanks for the laugh, nell

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Wow, in fantasy novels Mandrake had other powers, and it is now used as aphrodisiac!! Fascinating!

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 3 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Great hub Nell! Voted up, interesting and shared.

    • Nell Rose profile image
      Author

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi michelle, lol! yes that's true! thanks for reading, nell

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi Sue, thanks so much for reading, nell

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      So interesting what foods were/are considered aphrodisiacs over the years. I had to laugh about the tomatoes because they don't always sit too well in my stomach so I don't think I would add them to my list of aphrodisiacs. I say just give me chocolate like in your poll.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Voted Up! This is so interesting. Thanks for this historical visit to the good old days of food and romance. Love was certainly proven, back then.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

      I'm always curious about the curiosity of ancient people. Thanks for this well researched hub.

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      HI Vinaya, thanks so much for reading, nell

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi MsDora, yes it was wasn't it? oh for the romance again! lol! thanks as always, nell

    • Nell Rose profile image
      Author

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi Glimmer, lol! yes lets just stick to chocolate! thanks as always, nell

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 3 years ago from UK

      What a great hub Nell, informative, entertaining and thoroughly cheeky! It has helped me with my online grocery list...a pound of mandrake, a kilo of chocolate, a punnet of tomatoes, a bag of oysters and a bottle of Spanish Fly- ahem- not that I need these but hey, it always helps to keep one is his ..er- element?

    • Nell Rose profile image
      Author

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi Doc, LOL! your other comment made me giggle too! I am sure you don't need them, but if you do I could always send you that udder of a hyena? Whaddya say? lol! thanks as always, nell

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 3 years ago from North Carolina

      Over here in the New Lands European settlers for the longest wouldn't eat tomatoes for fear they were poison if ingested; of course latter they learned better and stared call ing them love apples, guess the vitamin C and lycopen and zinc got things going for the their love life eventually and changed thoughts ha ha. Really liked this historical look at aphrodisiacs. Btw, oysters really do work if from the right areas lol!

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Thanks Alastar! lol!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I'm all for "just give me chocolate!" Seriously, chocolate works wonders and does get the juices to flow! :)

    • Nell Rose profile image
      Author

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      lol! Thanks Linda, yes me too! they can keep the rest, some of it is just too much for me! thanks as always, nell

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      How did I miss this one, Nell? This is a hoot! I'm sticking to oysters, chocolate and champagne. LOL Getting rid of Caligula was not a bad idea either. Perhaps those love potions are a good idea in some cases! LOL Anyway, I enjoyed reading this, Nell and this tickled my fancy!

    • Nell Rose profile image
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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi suzette, lol! I will stick to the champagne! thanks as always, nell

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