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Aphrodisiacs in Ancient Civilization and Greece

Did you know, the term "Aphrodisiacs" was coined after the Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite? Aphrodisiacs are defined as something (like a drug or food) that arouses or intensifies sexual desire. When we think of modern-day aphrodisiacs, foods like chocolate, strawberries and wine comes to mind. But it's easy to see why. These foods are sweet, decadent, smooth and rich. Exactly the kind of things that make you feel sexy. But when it comes to ancient civilisations, our ancestors certainly do have different ideas of what food that makes them feel sexy. Have you ever wondered what foods the ancient Greeks and civilisations consider as an Aphrodisiac?

During then, ancient Greek civilisations were unconsciously guilty of what we call the "Doctrine of Signatures", that was only coined during the renaissance by a well-known alchemist, Paracelsus (1493 - 1541). He firmly believed that the physical attributes of plants help identify the illness it treats and wrote extensively about his conviction.

For example, walnuts look like tiny brains, therefore they are good for your brain.

Actually, walnuts are full of omega-3 fatty acids, that’s why they’re good for brain health, but points for effort, folks.


So according to this theory, aphrodisiac foods should look like … Well, let’s just say that if you’re squeamish about comparisons between your food and the human anatomy, consider yourself warned (:


Not only were pomegranates associated with the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, they – not apples – were thought to be the original “forbidden fruit” in the Garden of Eden. The pomegranate’s many seeds meant that it was associated with fertility, abundance and female reproductive organs. A study conducted by Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh has shown that pomegranate juice is a powerful natural aphrodisiac, able to increase testosterone levels.




Since the second century AD and in the 18th century, Romans have claimed, and touted the benefits of oysters as an aphrodisiac. It has long been regarded and thought of as an aphrodisiac due to its so-called resemblance and significance to the female anatomy - The vulva. (I know...not exactly a very flattering comparison as far as I'm concerned). However, regardless of whether the comparison is plain fishy or flattering,this is another ancient aphrodisiac that has been supported by modern science. Studies have shown that oysters are rich in two unusual amino acids, D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate, which help with the production of sex hormones testosterone and progesterone.

Vulva Vs Oyster


Ancient Greeks considered leeks to be an aphrodisiac simply, or probably because of their phallic shape. Leeks and other vegetables like turnips and onions were also thought to not only stimulate desire, but also increase sperm count. However, they are also another source of laxative and diuretics. (probably, not a very good choice before any happy time)




Hippocrates (c.460-377 B.C.E.), the father of medicine, prescribed honey as a sexual tonic. In ancient Persia,couples drank mead every day for a month (hence, the term "honeymoon") While busy bee pollinating behaviour may have been what inspired honey’s aphrodisiac status, Honey is also rich in B vitamins that is needed for testosterone production, as well as boron that helps the body to metabolize and use oestrogen effectively. Not only that, some studies have also suggested that it may also enhance blood levels of testosterone.


Back in ancient civilisation, garlic was believed to have magical and therapeutic properties, and was also considered an aphrodisiac simply for its spicy property. In the times of Homer, Greeks ate garlic daily - with bread, as a condiment, or added to salads. Not only garlic, but Chilli Peppers as well. Spices of all sorts have been considered aphrodisiacs due to the fact that most spices were incredibly expensive imports. Hence, it was under a common consensus that if imports belonged from a land far away, the more exotic it was and hence, the more erotic potential it holds. (“Hey baby, wanna come upstairs and check out my nutmeg collection?”) Actually, garlic contains a chemical called Allicin that increase blood flow to the sexual organs and not because it was expensive and exotic. (:

Skorthalia, A Greek garlic dip and sauce, often use as condiments on bread.

In conclusion...

Above mentioned are just a few of the various, supposed aphrodisiacs of ancient civilisation. Of which, they have several medical evidences supporting it. However, I was quite surprised with how much similarities to modern times, such food have or act as an Aphrodisiac. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure pomegranates, Honey and Leeks, helps in the stimulation of sexual hormones, but if a Garlic smelling breath is what you're going for during happy time.. then kudos to you! (: