Just What the Doctor Ordered

Chocolate is a New World marvel. It did not show up in Europe until the late sixteenth century. Some people speculate the Columbus brought back chocolate for Ferdinand and Isabelle, but that seems to be a contested fact among some historians.

Chocolate was sought out especially for its medicinal properties. It was combined with vanilla (another discovery) with loads of suger to create a syrup. Two spoonfuls would help ease a cough or a sore throat. Other recipes used the lovely bean to decrease bile and heartburn, as well as to ward away diarrhea.

But by far, the most favorite use was as an aphrodiasiac. In fact, I have stumbled on a good number of stories about women who stock up on chocolate in order to perform their wifely duties, or of men who claim the "Chocolate defense" when caught with another woman. Less appetizing however is the recommendation that chocolate be used to treat venereal diseases--particularly on oozing sores. Lovely.

Reference: Nicolas de Blegny, Le Bon usage...du chocolat. (1687)

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  1. I love all but one of the substances on this cover, and that's only because I haven't tried brandy!

  2. What a wonderful blog! I added you to my blogroll. Thank you for finding me on Twitter.

  3. Thank you, Holly! This is pertinent to the 2nd story in my paranormal Buddhist detective series.

  4. I've heard/read that because of the diet most people had back then that sugar and chocolate really put a buzz on.

    Imagine being turned on to tea, sugar, chocolate and tobacco all around the same time! They must have been climbing the walls.

  5. In what century are there stories about chocolate to help with wifely duties? Was it sweetened chocolate? Dark or light? I'd love to read more about that.

    It's my understanding that the word chocolate comes from the Nahuatl word "chocolatl." Has anyone (other than Andrew Weil?!) written a book on this? Seems like a fascinating subject for a longer article or book...

  6. I'll have to use this next time I'm not really in the mood. "No honey, no porn for me tonight. Just 10 chocolate bars. Then I'll be right with you."


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