The word “aphrodisiac” has its roots in ancient Greece; it comes from the name of the Greek goddess of love Aphrodite.
Those wise old ancient Greeks knew a thing or two when it came to matters of the heart. Hippocrates, father of medicine, urged his fellow men to eat heaps of lentils to keep them manly into their old age. Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher, swore by saffron to do the same job and added it to all his food just to help him go that extra mile. Plutarch put his trust in beans and lived on fassolada, a soup made from dry white beans, which incidentally is today’s Greek national dish. Homer, the famous Greek poet, consumed plenty of garlic daily, most likely in the form of skordalia – a paste of garlic and bread, or tzatziki – yogurt with lashings of garlic, still dishes favored today in Greece.
Few examples of the more well-known ancient Greek aphrodisiacs:
- Garlic: since ancient times garlic has been known for its magical medicinal powers.
- Artichokes: were thought to ensure the birth of a son.
- Leeks: were also rumored to have aphrodisiac powers.
- Mushrooms and onions: are not missing from the list either.
- Bay or laurel leaf: associated with the Greek god Apollo. When taken as an infusion, it is mildly narcotic helping one to see the future. When blended with oil and used for massage aids the circulation and promotes a strong blood flow.
- Mint tea: consumed in great quantities throughout the Mediterranean and Arab world. Puts people in the mood. Aristotle advised Alexander the Great not to allow his warriors to drink tea before going to battle, as it would put other things on their mind and distract them.
- The obscure plant satirio, wild orchid, and stafylinos: grew wild from seed and were famous for heightening sexual desire. They were called “sex potion”. Wine mixed with cheese and garlic was also said to do the trick.
These are the more well-known ancient Greek aphrodisiacs and there are many more. So, while having the time of your life in the country of the Gods take it easy with the tzatziki and watch out for those wild orchids but do learn how to make fassolada.