Tag Archives: aphrodisiac

Folk medicine: black truffle aphrodisiac


Mr. B: “There is a folk story about black truffle, here it goes. Napoleon was once an incomplete man who can’t bear children. One day, one of his men said to him that there is a folk remedy for this issue. So, Napoleon used a lot of black truffles and an old hen to make soup. After he ate all the black truffles and drank all the soup, he made sex with his wife. And this time his wife got pregnant immediately.”


Mr. B is a friend of mine who lives in China. He consumes a lot of stories that circulate on the internet. This story is one of the stories he discovered on Baidu, a Chinese search Engine.


This story might have happened, or more likely not have happened in history. But the most important thing is that we don’t know if this is true, which gives this story the characteristic of legend. The actual effect of black truffles on sexual performance and the ability to have a child is not scientifically proven. But black truffle might enhance human ability in that regard as it contains lots of minerals that are valuable to the human body. These traits make this piece about folk medicine: black truffle, in the context of a legend: Napoleon’s story.

The fact that this story is viral on the internet in China shows the globalization of stories and a continuation, or regeneration of folklore in the need of current social value. People who carry this story to others might be someone who is interested in aphrodisiac-related things. Needs create supply, whether in material supply or in mental supply: hope is an important aspect of moving forward.

“Eat garlic and see it rise, Eat onions and forget what happened.”

My informant heard this proverb in Lebanon, his home country.  He did not recall the first time he heard it or who he heard it from.  He said it is simply an Arabic folk saying that he picked up from friends and family.
This is not the first proverb I have heard that speaks of onions and garlic as aphrodisiacs.  Unfortunately, my informant was uncertain of the exact meaning of the second line of the saying.  It could mean that eating onions causes one to lose his erection, or that onions cause poor memory.  My reaction was to interpret “forget it” as something like “it won’t be going away for days.”  In effect, “garlic works, but onions work better,” was my immediate interpretation.  On the other hand, it could be a mnemonic (much like our “yellow on black, venom lack; black on yellow, kill a fellow”) for remembering which of the two related herbs is the one that does the trick.  As it rhymes in Arabic (Toum, bikoum, Basal, hasal), the proverb incorporates an element of appropriateness, one of the features of most any joke; and obviously, the proverb is for humor and entertainment rather than any kind of edification or instruction.