Saturday, August 30, 2008

Guide to Aphrodisiacs: Satyrion, stones and pearls

For this post I have tried to collect a variety of strange aphrodisiacs which do not fit in elsewhere, as well as some truly fictitious material


Judging from Greek and Roman accounts, satyrion must have been very close to the perfect aphrodisiac. According to Theophrastus, it produced on one occasion seventy consecutive acts of coitus. Another Roman author suggests that it is sufficient to use it on the soles of the feet to produce erotic arousal. Yet another source suggests that it was sufficient to hold a part of the plant in the hand to produce the desired erotic effects.

Unfortunately, the precise identity of satyrion is not known today. It was a plant with reddish leaves and a double root, possibly similar to the orchids producing salep.The most common way of using it was to pulverize the dried root and add it to wine.

According to some sources, not only the root but also the nectar was used as satyrion. You could try the nectar of the wild orchid Orchis mascula (found in many parts of Europe) and mix it with warm goat's milk. The nectar from one plant is sufficient for two tablespoons of milk.

The popularity of satyrion, however, led to its eradication, a fate it shared with silphion (laserpitium), a plant known to be a rich nourishment, a delicious spice and a powerful medicine.

Precious stones and pearls

Precious stones and pearls have long been associated with powers to stimulate the sexual desire, not only when presented as such (just consider the effect of the gift of a dimond ring!) but also when consumed. Pulverised agate is reportedly specially effective.

Cleopatra, born 69 and dead 30 B.C., was queen of Egypt. In order to provoke her amorousness she used to dissolve pearls in vinegar and drink this beverage. Since she managed to get both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony as lovers, the potion must be considered successful.

Persians made pastilles out of crushed pearls and rubies, gold dust and ambergris, and ate this as an aphrodisiac.

Literary aphrodisiacs

One of the most remarkable aphrodisiacs is the starting point for Richard Dahl's hilariously indecent novel My Uncle Oswald (1979). The Sudanese Blister Beetle, Cantharis vesicatoria sudanii, is a highly improved version of the Spanish fly:

It builds a fire under your genitals. It is both a violent aphrodisiac and a powerful irritant. It not only makes you uncontrollably randy but it also guarantees you an enormous and long-lasting erection at the same time.

However, anyone who has read the novel will hesitate to try the Sudanese Blister Beetle. But, still...

Modern mythical aphrodisiacs

On 22 May 1984 the Dallas Morning News carried the following story under the byline of Stephen G. Bloom:

Chaucer recommended garlic, onions and leeks. Mushrooms, frog's bones and dried chicken tongues also were said to do the trick.

Then came oysters, Spanish fly, olives, strawberries, ginseng and Vitamin E.

Now, the latest substances thought to induce a frenzy of wild passion are green M&Ms.

At East Texas State University anthropology student Denise Boesewetter recently spent weeks interviewing people about what they thought were aphrodisiacs. Of 46 respondents, Boeswetter reported last month that almost half mentioned green M&Ms as a powerful inducer of sexual desire.

At a University of Texas sorority house in Austin, a large jar filled with green M&Ms is reserved for "special occasions."

And at Dallas' Arts Magnet High School, the candy's reputed powers also are a hot item on the teen grapevine. "They make you look sexually attractive," says Jana Hodges, a 17-year old senior. "Green M&Ms are the first ones to eat when you tear open the package."

If you are interested in learning more about these remarkable properties of green M&Ms, you can consult the Urban Legends Reference Pages or Jan Harold Brunvand's book The Mexican Pet - more "new" urban legends and some old favorites (1986).

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