Why Certain Foods?
In ancient times a distinction was made between a substance that increased fertility versus one that simply increased sex drive. In both cases, however, one of the key issues was nutrition. Food was not so readily available as it is today. Undernourishment creates a loss of libido and reduces fertility rates.
Substances that "by nature" represent "seed or semen" such as bulbs, eggs, or 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 and documented by the likes of Pliny and Dioscordes (ancient Greeks) in the 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 aphrodisiac qualities got their reputations from mythology. For example, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, was said to consider sparrows sacred because of their "amorous nature," and for that reason they were included in various aphrodisiac brews.
There was not always agreement upon what foods were actually aphrodisiacs or "anaphrodisiacs" (which were supposed to have the opposite effect). But the ancient list included anise, basil, carrot, salvia, gladiolus root, orchid bulbs, pistachio nuts, arugula (also called rocket), sage, sea fennel, turnips, skink flesh (a type of lizard), and river snails.
The ancients suggested you steer clear of dill, lentil, lettuce, watercress, rue, and water lily. In modern times we may opt for the lettuce over the skink flesh regardless of the outcome, but many foods have maintained their sexy allure over the generations. Read on for some ideas!