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When love began, so did the quest for aphrodisiacs--foods or drugs that increase sexual desire. The very word comes from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, and suggests the divine and mysterious powers these agents have on the body--if not the imagination. Foods were especially popular aphrodisiacs because they were readily available and pleasurable to consume. The very act of sharing food was romantic because it symbolized an intimate union between two people. Today it's still romantic for couples to share food, whether it's the symbolic first piece of wedding cake or a sinfully rich chocolate dessert in a favorite restaurant.

The Greeks believed the herb marjoram was created by Aphrodite's own breath. It was said to represent blushes, as if the goddess herself were blowing on the cheeks of its receiver. Well into Victorian times, floral bouquets included sprigs of marjoram to signify the love of the sender.

For many cultures, garlic held an inherent irony: it was proclaimed as an aphrodisiac yet refuted for its strong aroma. The ancient maxim still applies--if both partners eat it, who knows the difference?

To both the ancient Greeks and the Elizabethans, carrots were considered aphrodisiacs. The Greeks would refer to a carrot as a philtron, meaning love charm, and the Elizabethans believed carrots would further the interest of Venus, giving the eater pleasure and delight.

Seafood is associated with love because it comes from the sea, a major source of life. Shellfish in particular are the strongest aphrodisiacs because of their specific chemical makeup.

Cinnamon was once believed to increase passion and strength. It was so valued that all parts of the tropical tree were used, including its bark and seeds

History says that Montezuma, the Aztec king, drank up to 50 cups of chocolate a day to sustain his harem of 600 women!!!