12 Weird Foods Historically Thought To Be Aphrodisiacs

Turns out our ancestral peeps were pretty wack.

*Again, that's MIGHT.

Lizard Meat

in North Africa


Associated with abundance and female reproductive organs, the pomegranate was the sacred fruit of Aphrodite, goddess of love and gettin' freaky. The many seeds in these juicy red fruits meant that eating would make you extremely fertile... or something. Interestingly, a few modern studies have suggested that pomegranate juice may increase blood flow (which can help with arousal) and just might help with erectile dysfunction.


"doctrine of signatures,"

One time a guy actually tried to use the whole oysters-are-aphrodisiacs thing on me as a pickup line. I was incredibly charmed, of course, by the parallel he drew between lady parts and seafood, and now we're married! JK, I told him to never ever speak to me again.

a real historical figure, in fact


it's in the dictionary

Muy interesante


Maybe because it's... sticky? Gross. Hippocrates prescribed honey as a tonic for sexual vigor, and the term "honeymoon" supposedly comes from an old custom where newlyweds drank mead, an alcoholic beverage made with honey, until the first moon of their new union.

released in the blood during arousal

Sparrow Brains

particularly their brains


More like ASS-paragus, am I right? ...Okay yeah no, not really. There's nothing about this vegetable that I find sexy, especially not the weird pee smell. But the Greeks reference it in love poems, and the Kama Sutra recommends drinking asparagus paste pre-sexytimes. According to popular lore, Frenchmen ate three meals of asparagus, asparagus, and more asparagus the day before their wedding, hoping to pump up their libido for the big night.

True, its high calcium, vitamin E, and potassium content make this vegetable great for boosting energy, but there's no research supporting claims of it making people hornier.

Spices, Spicy Peppers, and Really Just Anything Spicy

"Hey babe, wanna come upstairs and check out my nutmeg collection?"

On the other hand, spicy food might just be a real thing in terms of aphrodisiac qualities. Hot peppers contain a substance called capsaicin, which increases circulation and stimulates nerve endings – and supposedly, this helps you get more turned on. Any Vinglers volunteer to test this out and report back?

Mannish Water

celebratory dish

Spanish Fly

Natural aphrodisiac, or deadly poison? Besides oysters, Spanish fly might be the second most legendary aphrodisiac. It's made by mixing the crushed remains of blister beetles with water or alcohol, creating a drinkable substance that irritates genital membranes, a feeling that some mistake for arousal. (Apparently, some people have trouble telling the difference?)

can also cause kidney malfunction or gastrointestinal hemorrhages


The ancient Romans thought beets inspired amorous feelings. In fact, an ancient brothel unearthed in Pompeii was decorated with beet-themed frescoes. Meanwhile, in Greek mythology, Aphrodite (again) snacked on beets to make herself sexier. The goddess of love had it right; beets contain tryptophan and betaine, which can both give you feelings of well-being. The thing I find most pleasing about beets is their beautiful color – but I wouldn't exactly want magenta-stained teeth while I'm tryna mack.


The one time our ancestors were actually super right about something! Even 400 years ago, they knew that a little alcohol goes a long way in decreasing inhibitions and stimulating desire, while too much can be a performance killer. "It increases the desire but it takes away the performance," wrote Shakespeare in Macbeth. What a smart dude.

Today, we use alcohol in modern courting rituals such as the "drunken hookup," the "lowering of standards," and the "getting plastered and letting some weird guy grind on you."

Joyous HealthWebMDPBSNow that you're educated on history's edible aphrodisiacs, what dish will you be preparing for your lover this weekend?

Also, sorry I just used the word "lover." That was creepy.

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