This section is from the book "Aphrodisiacs And Anti-Aphrodisiacs", by John Davenport. Also available from Amazon: Love Stimulants, Aphrodisiacs and Anti-aphrodisiacs.
Matthoile, however, observing that those persons who made use of it did not appear much given to lasciviousness, concluded that we had lost the true satyrion of the ancients; but, it is nevertheless certain, notwithstanding so adverse an opinion, that this plant long preserved its reputation, and was recommended by all botanists for its aphrodisiac potency. Of all the species of this plant the one popularly known as dog-stones is reputed to possess the greatest virtue.
The Turks have also their Satyrion (orchis morio), which grows upon the mountains near Constantinople, and which they make use of to repair their strength, and stimulate them to the generative act. From this root is made the salep of which the inhabitants of Turkey, Persia, and Syria, are extremely fond, being looked upon as one of the greatest restoratives and provocatives to venery in the whole vegetable world. But besides the aplirodisaical qualities attributed to this plant by the above people, they give it credit for other ones, which good opinion experience has confirmed, and therefore whenever they undertake a long voyage, they never omit to carry it with them as a specific against all diseases. Modern practitioners likewise commend its restorative, mucilaginous and demulcent qualities as rendering it of considerable utility, particularly in sea scurvy, diarrhoea, dysentery, and stone or gravel. In addition to this property, salep also possesses the very singular one of concealing the taste of sea water, hence to prevent the dreadful calamity of perishing by thirst at sea it has been proposed that the powder of this plant should form part of the provisions of every ship's company.
* La generation de 1'homme, ou tableau de l'amour conjugal. Tom. 1.. p. 276.
† Ibid, p. 232.
Borax is likewise considered to possess peculiar aphrodisiacal qualities. "II penetre," says Venette, "toutes les parties de notre corps et en ouvre tous les vaisseaux, et par la tenuite de sa substance, il conduit aux parties genitales tout ce qui est capable de nous servir de matiere a la semence.*
The plant Rocket (Brasica eruca) has likewise been especially celebrated by the ancient poets for possessing the virtue of restoring vigour to the sexual organs, on which account it was consecrated to and sown around, the statue of Priapus; thus Columella says:-
* Venette Generation de l'homme. Tom I., p. 279.
"Et quae frugifero seritur vicina Priapo Excitet ut veneri tardos eruca maritos."*
"Th' eruca, Priapus, near thee we sow To rouse to duty husbands who are slow".
Virgil attributes to it the same quality, designing it as ". . . Et venerem revocans eruca morantem."†
"Th' eruca, plant which gives to jaded appetite the spur".
Lobel ‡ gives an amusing account of the effects of this plant upon certain monks in the garden of whose monastery it was sown, an infusion of it being daily doled out to them under the impression that its cheering and exhilirating qualities would rouse them from the state of inactivity and sluggishness so common to the inmates of such establishments. But, alas! the continual use of it produced an effect far more powerful than had been contemplated by the worthy itinerant monk who had recommended it, for the poor cenobites were so stimulated by its aphrodisiacal virtues that, transgressing alike their monastic wall and vows, they sought relief for their amorous desires in the fond embraces of the women residing in the neighbourhood.
Salt, mala Bacchica § Cubebs, Surag,║ and Radix Chinae (bark), were also regarded by ancient physicians as powerful aphrodisiacs. Gomez* asserts of the first of these substances, that women who much indulge in it are thereby rendered more salacious, and that, for this reason, Venus is said to have arisen from the sea; whence the epigram:
* De cultu hortorum, v. 108.
† Moretum, v. 85.
‡ Mag. Nat., Lib. vii.
§ Mala Bacchica tanta olim in amoribus praevalerunt, ut coronae ex illis statute Bacchi ponerentur.
║ Surag radis ad coitum summe facit: si quis comedal aul infurionem bibat, membrum subtle erigilur. Leo Afric, Lib. IX., cap. ult., p. 302.
"Unde tot in Veneta scortorum millia cur sunt?
In promptu causa est. Venus orta man." "In Venice why so many punks abound?
The reason sure is easy to be found:
Because, as learned sages all agree, Fair Venus' birth-place was the sail, salt sea." To the last of the above-mentioned plants, Baptista Porta ascribes the most wonderful powers, his words being: Planta quae non solum edentibus, sed et gentale languentibus tantum valet, ut coire summe desiderant, quoties fere velint, possint; alios duodecies profecisse, alios ad sexaginta vices pervenisse, refert. †
Certain condiments are also aphrodisiacal, acting as they, undoubtedly do, as powerful stimulants. Thus Tourtelle and Peyrible assure us that pepper is a provocative to venereal pleasures, while Gesner and Chappel cured an atony of the virile member of three or four years' duration, by repeated immersions of that organ in a strong infusion of mustard seed. The principal ingredient of the Bang so much used by the Indians, as well as of the Maslac of the Turks is a species of the hemp plant. The Indians, says Acosta, ‡ masticate the seeds and leaves of several species of that plant, in order to increase their vigour in the venereal congress, and very frequently combine with it, ambergris, musk, and sugar, preparing it in the form of an electuary. It has been remarked, moreover, that even in our own climate, the caged birds that are fed with hemp seed are the most amorously inclined.
* Gomez (Ferdinand) of Ciudad Real, a celebrated physician, born 1388, died 1457.
† Mag. Nat. Lib. VII., c. 16.
‡ Tractado de las drogas y medicinas de las Indias Orientales chap. LXI., p. 360, Burgos, 1578.