The Oldest Aphrodisiac

Some aphrodisiacs have been popular since the days of antiquity. The mandrake plant is mentioned in the Old Testament and is still in use today. Mandrake (or madragora, mandragora officinarum) is a member of the potato family with a large dark-brown root and small red fruit. It contains the alkaloids atropine and scopolomine: in mild doses these are soporifics in larger doses they can kill! In antiquity there were magical rules for harvesting the plant. Pliny noted that the plant roots were in the form of human genitals – which explains, through the idea of sympathetic magic, the supposed aphrodisiac effect. Cantharides, another ancient aphrodisiac, was first mentioned by Aristotle: its active principle, cantharidin, is extracted from the dried and powdered bodies of the blister beetle, a brown or bluish creature found in southern Europe. Yet another old alleged aphrodisiac is ginseng, the “mystic plant of the Orient”, made into tablets by modern sex aid retailers and also into a wine. In the Far East today ginseng wine is termed kaoling (as strong as vodka), with the roots of ginseng soaked in the cask for at least three years. Users are recommended to take a small glass before going to bed.

WSR Writer

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