By Peter V. Taberner
The making plans and writing of this booklet has taken relatively longer than I had initially meant; what all started as a modest literary venture for 2 second-year scientific scholars has increased over 8 years to turn into an entire publication. the subject material lent itself all too simply to a sen sationalist procedure but, nonetheless, a strictly medical method might most likely have led to a lifeless dry textual content of little curiosity to the overall reader. i've got consequently tried to bridge the space and make the ebook intelligible and enjoyable to the non-special ist, yet even as making sure that it's factually right and accurately researched for the scientist or clinician. i've got consistently been inspired via Sir J .G. Frazer's advent to his vintage booklet The Golden Bough during which he apologizes for the truth that an editorial initially meant in simple terms to provide an explanation for the principles of succession to the priesthood of Diana at Aricia had multiplied, over a interval of thirty years, to 12 volumes. the current paintings can't faux to such heady degrees of educational excellence.
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Extra resources for Aphrodisiacs: The Science and the Myth
Unfortunately, Pliny has omitted to mention the name of this remarkable plant. Other recommended herbs include Xiphion (Gladiolus) and Cynosorchis (an orchid), whose root tubers are supposed to resemble dogs' The Ancient Traditions 35 testicles. In fact, the word 'orchid' is derived from the Greek for testicle. Also mentioned are asphodel, erythraicon (Erythronium dens canis), and abrotonum, which is related to wormwood. Pliny is not, however, completely indiscriminate in his recommendations: catomace (which is possibly Ornichopus compressus) he dismisses as: 'a Thessalian plant which it would be a mere loss of time to describe seeing that it is only used as an ingredient in philtres'.
That the Greek word for the carrot was 'philtron' is immediately suggestive of the role it may have played in love potions. We should now return to Pliny, however, who writes of nettle (Urtica dioica) as follows: 'When animals refuse to couple, it is recommended to rub the sexual organs with nettles'. ) and as a cure for the common cold, which they also brought; but mutual flagellation for sexual purposes is certainly an alternative possibility that should not be overlooked. The fine hairs on the nettle leaves contain a high concentration of acetylcholine as well as histamine, and both these substances contribute to the burning and itching rash which the leaves produce.
Juniper oil is recommended in the treatment of gonorrhoea, ringworm and eczema. It is interesting to speculate whether gin, which contains extract of juniper, might share these valuable properties. The fruit of Schisandra contains citric, malic and tartaric acids, carbohydrates, resins, vitamin C, manganese, iron, silicon, phosphorus and calcium, in addition to some alkaloids of unknown chemical structure present in the seeds. The fruit is unusual in that it is reputed to possess all of the five basic flavours, namely: sweet, sour, bitter, hot and salty.
Aphrodisiacs: The Science and the Myth by Peter V. Taberner