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Tuesday, February 13, 2007 

Better stock your pantries for tomorrow

with these "goodies" (said to be Aphrodisiacs...or at least according to The Cambridge World History of Food.) Who needs to rush to the medicine cabinet when you can just reach for your spice rack or pantry?
In ancient times a distinction was made between a substance that increased fertility versus one that simply increased sex drive. One of the key issues in early times was nutrition. Food was not so readily available as it is today. Undernourishment creates a loss of libido as well as reduces fertility rates. Substances that "by nature" represent "seed or semen" such as bulbs, eggs, snails" were considered inherently to have sexual powers. Other types of foods were considered stimulating by their "physical resemblance to genitalia"

It's important to realize these food substances were identified (documented) by the likes of Pliny and Dioscordes (ancient Greeks) first century AD and later by Paul of Aegina from the seventh century. Later more credence was given to foods that "satisfied dietary gratification".

Other foods deemed to have these aphrodisiac qualities were derived from mythology. Aphrodite, the love goddess was said to consider "sparrows" sacred because of their "amorous nature" and for that reason were included in various aphrodisiac brews.
Some of the foods on the ancient lists:

Aniseed
A popular aphrodisiac with many culinary uses. It has been used as an aphrodisiac since the Greeks and the Romans, who believed aniseed had special powers. Sucking on the seeds is said to increases your desire.

Almond
A symbol of fertility throughout the ages. The aroma is thought to induce passion in a female.

Avocado
The Aztecs called the avocado tree "Ahuacuatl which translated means "testicle tree". The ancients thought the fruit hanging in pairs on the tree resembled the male's testicles.

Chocolate
The Aztecs referred to chocolate "nourishment of the Gods". Chocolate contains chemicals thought to effect neurotransmitters in the brain and a related substance to caffeine called theobromine. Chocolate contains more antioxidant (cancer preventing enzymes) than does red wine. Combine the two and watch what happens!

Carrots
Another good reason to eat carrots--believed to be a stimulant to the male. The phallus shaped carrot has been associated with stimulation since ancient times and was used by early Middle Eastern royalty to aid seduction.

Fennel
In the 1930's fennel was found to be a source of natural plant estrogens. Use of fennel as an aphrodisiac dates back to the Egyptian times where it was used as "libido enhancement".

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. Lovers on their "Honeymoon" drank mead and it was thought to s "sweeten" the marriage.

Nutmeg
Nutmeg was highly prized by Chinese women as an aphrodisiac. In quantity nutmeg can produce a hallucinogenic effect.

Pine Nuts
Zinc is a key mineral necessary to maintain male potency and pine nuts are rich in zinc. Pine nuts have been used to stimulate the libido as far back as Medieval times.

Vanilla
The scent and flavor of vanilla is believed to increase lust. Old Totonac lore has it that Xanat, the young daughter of the Mexican fertility goddess, loved a Totonac youth. Unable to marry him due to her divine nature, she transformed herself into a plant that would provide pleasure and happiness.

oh, yeah...and Oysters.

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