Saturday, August 30, 2008

Guide to Aphrodisiacs: Onions, an Aphrodisiacal Gift of the Gods

Onions have, almost since prehistoric time, been attributed aphrodisiacal properties. They are mentioned in many classic Hindu texts on the art of making love, they were the most used aphrodisiac in ancient Greece, and they are frequently included as an ingredient in Roman and Arab recipes.

During Pharaonic times celibating Egyptian priests were prohibited to eat onions because of the potential effects. Later on, in France, newlyweds were served onion soup on the morning after their wedding night to restore their libido.

The Romans

Ovid, in "Ars Amatoria" book 2, suggests:

"Let white onions be taken that are sent from the Pelasgian city of Alcathous."

The Romans seldom used onions alone, and usually only after cooking. Thus Apicus in "De re coquinaria" includes onions cooked in water and mixed with pine seeds. One exception is the recommendation of the Roman epigrammatist Martial:

"If your wife is old and your member is exhausted, eat onions in plenty."

The Perfumed Garden

"The Perfumed Garden", an Arab sixteenth century erotic manual written by Sheik al-Nefzawi, bears a testimony to onions.

"The member of Abou el Heiloukh has remained erect For thirty days without a break because he did eat onions."

More specifically, he ate onions cooked with meat and, for drink, had the juice pressed out of pounded onions mixed with honey.

The same source suggests an even more powerful preparation:

Take one part of the juice pressed out of pounded onions and mix it with two parts of purified honey. Heat the mixture until the water of the onion-juice has evaporated, and let the residue get cool, to be used whenever required.

But be careful. A man using this for several consecutive days will constantly have his member rigid and erect without intermission, the sheik warns (or promises?). Furthermore, the medicine should never be used for three consecutive days except by old and cold-tempered men.

Onions mixed with egg yolks and eaten during three days will provide "an energetic stimulant toward coitus." As an alternative peeled onions can be fried in oil in a saucepan together with egg yolks and (unspecified) condiments. You will acquire a surpassing and invaluable vigour for the coitus if you partake this spicy onion paste for several days.

Chemical aspects

Onion, as well as garlic, contains the amino acid alliin and the related allicin (CH2=CH-CH2-SO-CH2-CH=CH2). Alliin, which is devoid of any odour or taste, can be transformed into allicin by the enzyme allinase. Whenever an onion (or a garlic) is crushed this enzyme is released from the plant tissue and starts to enact the transformation. It is allicin which causes the "true" garlic odour. No aphrodisiacal properties have (yet) been demonstrated, but the compound is a good antibiotic.

No comments: