Magic Love Potions and Aphrodisiacs

Love potions were taken very seriously in days gone by. Spells, enchantments, and strange mixtures to stimulate desire and ardour, were very popular. Love – the word comes from the Old English lufu which is derived from the Sanskrit lubh, to desire and the Latin lubere, to please. It’s a small word to describe an amazing feeling that can make it seem as if you are possessed and in the grip of a sudden magic. Separate forces which you cannot control, take over your mind and your body.

Whether this is love, lust or infatuation is open to debate, but men and women have excperienced the feeling since Adam and Eve. It has caused wars and changed the course of history but nothing has altered the fact that men and women will do anything to experience the feeling of ‘being in love’.

Charms and Love Potions

Anything that could create or prolong the enchantment, the intoxication and the magic of love was highly prized by our ancestors. Shamans, sorcerers, magicians and masters of the elements and plants, in setting down their remedies for soothing and curing the body, were quick to discover other powers in plants. They created love potions which they claimed could attract the one you loved.

It was an important part of the process to believe that the potion could only be made by those who were initiated in the mysteries of nature. The time chosen for picking the plant, root, flower or leaf, and the was also strongly advisable to wait until most auspicious moment for preparing the concoctions were of great importance. Friday, Venus’ day, was the ideal day for making a love potion.

It was also strongly advisable to wait until the Moon was passing through the signs of Taurus and Scorpio, especially in their first and last decans, but also in the tenth house of the Moon, situated between the twenty fifth degree of the sign of Cancer and the eighth degree of the sign of Leo. Or else you took into account the conjunctions of Mercury and Venus, which occurs once a year and lasts about a fortnight, or the conjunctions of Venus and Mars.

These take place every two years and their duration depends on their zodiacal cycles. It was important to choose the correct time to prepare a love potion but what went into it? Many everday plants and flowers have drug-like powers when prepared in certain ways and certain plants have long been regarded as having aphrodisiac properties. An aphrodisiac was believed to be a drug that increased sexual desire and attraction.

It was named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. According to myth she rose from the sea and then married Hephaestus, however she was unfaithful to him and had an affair with Ares, the Greek god of war. Paris chose her as one of the most beautiful goddesses to be at the wedding feast of Peleus and Thetis a choice that sparked off the Trojan Wars – proof of the power of love. However, nothing has ever been proved to act as a ‘love drug’ although the power of suggestion can be enough to produce results!

This can be seen in the use of charms to secure your loved one. It was recognised that the rhythm of words, the sound of the words and singing could also enchant and charm. The word charm is derived from the latin carduus, thistle. The root of the thistle was renowned for its aphrodisiac qualities (it was thought to stimulate the virility of men).

The spikeof the thistle was used by women to “card” wool, that is, to unravel it and comb it out rhythmically But the thistle flower was dried and then worn by women in the form of an amulet, in order to attract the attention of men. The word cards became Carmen, then charm. So, in the original sense, therefore, to be charmed is to be in the grip of the thistle and the heart.

A Guide To Aphrodisiacs

ANGELICA: the root, stem and seed stimulate the fire of love and combat frigidity in women.

CELERY: the leaf, with its powerful aphrodisiac qualities, was a symbol of manly strength in Greece and Rome. Claudius Galenus, a great Roman doctor in the second century AD, recommended its use: “if a woman knew what celery does to a man,” he writes, “she would go as far as Rome to look for some”.

CINNAMON: in Rome, the temples of Venus were covered with leaves of the cinnamon tree. The Hebrews used cinnamon in ointment or oil for massage. In the Orient, its perfume was highly prized. A narcotic, aphrodisiac power was attributed to it. In China, cinnamon is the perfume or food of the gods. In herbal medicine, it is considered to be a natural tonic. Alexander Dumas provides us with the recipe for cinnamon water: “To a bottle of fruit brandy, add some ground cinnamon, liquorice stick, half a lemon and some water. Leave to infuse for one week. Strain. Add a syrup made with cane sugar and water, then put the whole lot to age in the dark for three months.”

CLOVE: imported from India, its properties as a tonic and aphrodisiac were praised by the Renaissance doctors: “If many cloves are drunk with some milk,” one of them recommends, “it will fortify a man’s strength and enable him to live with womankind”.

FENNEL: according to Pliny the Elder (1st century AD) “the leaves of fennel have important aphrodisiac qualities.” Fennel taken in any kind of form increases sperm production and is excellent for all ailments of the sexual organs, whether it is used as a fermentation of the root cooked in wine, or the leaves of-the plant crushed in oil.

GINGER: in Egypt, Greece, India and China, it was used in the rites of love. Its roots have powerful aphrodisiac qualities. Nostradamus recommended ginger jam, “so that it could fulfil the duty of nature”.

GINSENG: the divine Herb, or herb of immortality oft the Chjnese, whose roots increase the strength of the heart, longevity and sexual powers without question, the most effective of all aphrodisiacs.


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