This section is from the book "Aphrodisiacs And Anti-Aphrodisiacs", by John Davenport. Also available from Amazon: Love Stimulants, Aphrodisiacs and Anti-aphrodisiacs.
The means of procuring the vigour necessary for sexual delights has also been sought for in certain preparations celebrated by the alchymists. Struck by the splendour of gold, its incorruptibility, and other rare qualities, some physicians imagined that this metal might introduce into the animal economy an inexhaustible source of strength and vitality; while empirics, abusing the credulity of the wealthy and the voluptuous made them pay exorbitantly for aphrodisiacal preparations in which they assured their dupes that gold, under different forms, was an ingredient. Among innumerable other instances, is that of a French lady who, to procure herself an heir, strove to reanimate an exhausted constitution by taking daily in soup what she was made to believe was potable gold, to the value of 50 francs, a fraud to expose which it suffices to say that the largest dose of perchloride of gold that can be safely administered is 1-6th of a grain. The tincture of gold known by the name of Mademoiselle Grimaldi's potable gold enjoyed a wonderful reputation towards the close of the 18th century as an efficacious restorative and stimulant; and numerous instances of its all but miraculous powers were confidently adduced.
Dr. Samuel Johnson, indeed, in a note upon a well-known passage in Shakespeare, * denies the possibility of making gold potable; "There has long," he observes, "prevailed an opinion that a solution of gold has great medicinal virtues, and that the incorruptibility of gold might be communicated to the body impregnated with it. Some have pretended to make gold potable among other frauds practised upon credulity." So far back, however, as the 17th century the Abbe Guence shewed that it was feasible, and even described the process minutely; and it is now known to every chemist that gold is susceptible of entering into immediate combination with chlorine by the agency of heat, that it may even be dissolved in water charged with chlorine, and that various methods exist of obtaining chlorate of gold, a combination which is often successfully employed in the treatment of syphilitic cases. Ether, naptha, and essential oils take gold from its solvent, and form liquors which have been called potable gold. Even the Christian Church itself possessed, in its early times, aphrodisiacs peculiarly its own. "On trouve," says Voltaire,† "dans la lettre a Maitre Acacius Lampirius (Literae virorum obscurorum) une raillerie assez forte sur la conjuration qu'on employait pour se faire aimer des filles.
Le secret con-sistoit a prendre un cheveu be la fille, on le placoit d'abord dans son haut-de-chausses; on faisoit une confession generale et on fesoit dire trois messes, pendant les quelles on mettoit le cheveu autour de son col; on allumait un cierge beni au dernier Evangile en on prononcait cette formule. 'O Vierge l je te conjure par la vertu du Dieu tout-puissant, par les neuf choeurs des anges, par la vertu gosdrienne, amene moi icelle fille, en chair et en os, afin que je la saboule a mon plaisir.'"
* "The care on thee depending Hath fed upon the body of my father, Therefore, thou best of gold art worst of gold; Other less fine in carat is more precious, Preserving life in medicine potable".
Henry IV., sec. part, act iv. sc. 11. † Lettres sur Francos Rabelais. Let. II.
Bourchard, Bishop of Worms, has transmitted to us * an account of certain aphrodisiacal charms practised by women of his time, the disgusting obscenity of which is such that we cannot venture upon translating the passage:
"Fecisti quod quaedam mulieres facere solent? Tollunt menstruum suum sanguinem et immiscunt cibo vel potui et dant viris suis ad manducandum vel ad bibendum ut plus diligantur ab eis. Si fecisti, quinque annos per legitimas ferias poeniteas.
"Gustasti de semine viri tui ut propter tua diabolica facta plus in amorem exardisceret? Si fecisti, septem annos per legitimas ferias poenitere debeas.
"Fecisti quod quredam mulieres facere solent? Prosternunt se in faciem et discoopertis natibus, jubent ut supra nudas nates conficirtur panis, ut eo decocto tradunt maritis suis ad come-dendum. Hoc ideo faciunt ut plus exardescant in amorem suum. Si fecisti, duos annos per legitimas ferias poeniteas.
"Fecisti quod quaedam mulieres facere solent? Tollunt piscem vivum et mittunt eum in puerperium suum, et tamdiu ibi tenent, donec mortuus fuerit, et decocto pisce vel assato, maritis suis ad comedendum tradunt. Ideo faciunt ut plus in amorem suum exardescant. Si fecisti, duos annos per legitimas ferias pceniteas".
Remedies taken internally are not the only ones which stimu late man to sexual intercourse. External applications materially contribute to that end, and liniments have been composed wherewith to anoint the parts of generation. These washes are made of honey, liquid storax, oil and fresh butter, or the fat of the wild goose, together with a small quantity of spurge, pyrethrum, ginger or pepper to insure the remedy's penetrating: a few grains of ambergris, musk, or cinnamon are to be added by way of perfume.
* De Poenitentia Decretorum, lib. xix.
Remedies for the same purpose may also be applied to men's testicles especially; as according to the opinion of Galen, those parts are the second source of heat, which they communicate to the whole of the body; for, besides the power of engendering, they also elaborate a spirituous humour or fluid which renders man robust, hardy, and courageous. The best application of this kind is that composed of cinnamon powder, gilli-flower, ginger and rose water, together with theriac, the crumb of bread, and red wine.
In addition to the means already mentioned for restoring vigour to the generative organs, two others may be reckoned which have been successfully resorted to for bracing them in such persons whose reproductive faculties lie dormant rather than extinct: these two methods are known as flagellation and urtication.*