Orchids are a beautiful addition to any home or garden with their sweet floral aroma and their gorgeous and intricate appearance. Orchids have been a decretory flower ever since history was etched into stone walls, and used in medicine just as long, if not even longer.
Orchids have been known to be some of the world’s best aphrodisiacs. From centuries ago, the orchid has been used to cure and even prevent many sexual problems like inadequacy, performance, illnesses and infections. Historically speaking, the Chinese were the first to use and document their use of orchids as aphrodisiacs, and in fact as a medicinal plant altogether. Old folk tales and stories (that might even have quite a bit of truth to them!) have said very similar things about orchids; that women and men who regularly inhale the fragrance of these beautiful orchids would experience increased virility, fertility, and prowess with their significant other(s), making the women bare many more children and the men take many more wives. Nowadays of course, we know that simply smelling perfume made from orchids, or any flowers for that matter, won’t increase your ability to have a litter of children, though it might in fact increase the desire to.
In Europe and Greece, orchids and their bulbs were also used as a medicine for problems of a sexual nature. In the case of swelling, infection, or any other sickness having to do with the testicles was thought to be an easy fix with some orchid nectar. In Greece especially, this flower and its scent were said to arouse women completely, making them more lustful and more effective lovers to their husbands. This belief made the orchid invaluably priceless.
In Britain and other parts of Europe, the orchid has been used not only for aphrodisiac purposes, but also to help problems related to alcohol or drug use. People who experience vicious hangovers often have scented heating pads for their heads nowadays, and the small heated beads inside are infused with the scents of vanilla and orchid, the two most common scents used in curing bad hangovers and other alcohol related unpleasantries. The use of orchids to aid in headaches, muscle aches, stomach issues and other problems caused by excessive drug or alcohol use is pretty good proof that the methods have been working so far. It’s no wonder of course, since orchids have been used for this same purpose since history has been recorded! Even the ancient Greeks and Romans found that after a night of drinking plenty of wine, the smell of orchids in the morning, even ingesting some of the edible varieties with their breakfast, could cure and relieve that awful feeling they got when they woke up.
Through the world orchids and parts of the orchid plant are used in making ice cream and other sweet treats that use the vanilla flavoring. Vanilla is the world’s most well known orchid product, and it’s sweet taste and scent is even used in conjunction with the natural flowery taste and scent of the orchid itself to create some of the more widely known and praised aromatherapy items like candles, incense, and bath salts. Not only is it tasty and useful in aiding your sexual desires as well as relieving your hangovers, it’s also ingested as a means of relieving nausea caused by other problems such as spinal pressure, acid reflux disease, and even cancer!
No matter where you are in the world, there are species of orchid that you will be able to find and enjoy either in a pretty garden or flavoring your food or tobacco. It’s always important to be able to tell which species of orchid are safe to ingest and use for medicinal purposes, versus the ones that are simply for their scent and beauty in decoration.
(Orchidaceae species information)
Read the above page for more information on which species of orchids are edible!