Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Arugula: The Healthy Ancient Aphrodisiac

Arugula: The Healthy Ancient Aphrodisiac by Omar Cherif, One Lucky Soul

My mother sent me a message recently in which she was wondering why I write quite a lot about sex and drugs. I agreed with her that I actually do and merrily told her that someone got to do it. Then I proceeded to explain why I think I write about such hot potatoes. It came out something like this…

Don’t forget, Mother, that I’m freed from the shackles of norms and customs and conformity which we all grew up surrounded by, especially for those who lived somewhere like Egypt. Now all this false state of established authority does not phase me a single bit. Such lack of fear, coupled with an intense passion for finding the right words to describe that which is, makes the process of writing about conventional societal taboo topics highly enjoyable. And I have my convictions that my readers enjoy these writings as well. 

Further, sex and drugs are two topics that genuinely appeal to me, psychologically as well as philosophically. Naturally, this makes me approach them in a rather scholarly, educational way; and there are no forbidden fruits in the garden of knowledge. Having “been there”, I equally approach them with a subjective experimental way, which allows me the freedom to add my own blueprints in addition to the occasional chuckle.  

Now after this introduction, and following through with writings on health and conscious living, let us review arugula and its aphrodisiac properties.

During my teenage years I heard an amusing old Arabic adage:

“ لو عرفوا فايدة الجرجير لزرعوه تحت السرير  ” which translates into: “If they knew the benefits of gargeer, they would grow it under the bed.” What makes it even more catchy is the rhyming of the two Arabic words, sereer (bed) and gargeer (arugula).

However, as I’m doing research for this article I found that the real saying goes: “If ‘she’ [woman] knew the benefits… ‘she’ would…”. Possibly this is because whoever first told me thought that it was more appropriate for my age. Or another possibility is that ‘they’ meant women. 
Because it appears that it’s the woman who enjoys the aphrodisiac benefits of the plant, even though the man is the one who ingests it. Though when you think about it, when the woman is having a fun time in bed, the man will have higher chances of having fun as well. It truly takes two to tango.

It was this naughty saying which first brought my attention to the plant being an aphrodisiac. However, at the time it wasn’t something we ate much of at home. I recall it was an ingredient to Italian pizza and antipasto, also served with grilled meat and sea food, though for some reason I wasn’t really into it.

Then some years later in my early twenties I decided to give it a go — not just eat it, but try to experience its aphrodisiac properties. 

So one day I had some Egyptian gargeer then later the girl I was seeing at the time passed by. I told her about my little experiment and we proceeded into oral play. She was a bit younger and this was during our first couple of months when she was pretending to be a virgin for some reason.

There wasn’t really any noticeable upgrade in the orgasm from that single ingestion. Though the cum seemed to have slightly increased. Apparently it was also obvious in the taste.

When I later moved to Canada and regained my health, I got interested in all the greens and veggies I had expelled from my diet — because I decided as kid or early teen that I didn’t like them. So it was a feast. From cauliflower, spinach, asparagus and broccoli to eventually arugula. When I moved to the U.S afterwards, I was introduced to even more new stuff such as kale, Brussels sprouts

, and quinoa.
Arugula Caprese salad with basil vinaigrette

So What is Arugula?

Arugula is Eruca sativa and it’s an edible herbaceous annual plant with green leaves. In case you’re wondering, yes, sativa as in sativa-indica the marijuana strains; along Sativus and Sativum, they are Latin botanical adjectives meaning cultivated. Arugula is commonly known as salad rocket, rucola, rucoli, rugula, colewort, roquette, and arugula. The green-leafy vegetable is a member of the mustard family — Brassicaceae, a.k.a Cruciferae — like kale and cauliflower. 

Other common names include garden rocket, or more simply rocket (British, Australian, South African, Irish and New Zealand English), and eruca. The English common name, ‘rocket’, derives from the French roquette, a diminutive of the Latin word eruca, which designated an unspecified plant in the Brassicaceae family — believed to be a type of cabbage.

The word ‘arugula’, as it’s generally referred to in America, entered American English from non-standard (dialect) Italian. The standard Italian word is rucola, a diminutive of the Latin eruca. The Oxford English Dictionary dates the first appearance of ‘arugula’ in American English to 1960. But it wasn't until the 1980s that the veggie caught on as a trendy food in the U.S.

Interestingly, in India the mature seeds are known as gargeer, which is same name in Arabic, جرجير,  though in the Arab world it is mainly used for the fresh, pungent leaves.

And What is so Special About it?

Now to the history and science of this magical plant. Arugula originated in the Mediterranean region, and throughout the ages, it has always been widely recognised as an arousal aid. Therefore it was used as a natural aphrodisiac as far back as the 1st century AD when Greek philosophers such as Pilny and Dioscorides identified it as a food with the ability to increase libido.

The Romans even consecrated arugula to the god of fertility, Primps. It was also known to Arabs and Persians as a major healthy plant. 
Even the Talmudic sages recommended that one should eat arugula if found in the wild — or rub it over the eyes. Yet it was forbidden to the High Priest during the seven days preceding Yom Kippur, for it was said to foster impurity.

Arugula is one of the historically renowned “love drugs”. Its powerful aphrodisiac qualities made it one of the main ingredients of various “Love Potions” in ancient times, along other herbs like lavender, chicory and romaine. 

As it often happens with many ancient knowledge, in recent years the benefits have been verified by medical research. We now know that arugula's natural aphrodisiac qualities stem from the trace minerals and antioxidants it contains, which inhibit the introduction of potentially libido-reducing contaminants into the system. This makes them essential for the reproductive organs and overall well-being, leading to enhanced sensual function and physical intimacy.

Nutrition information for raw Arugula

The following is a list of health benefits of gargeer, which as you will see makes it worth growing under your sereer. 

1- High in vitamin A, B (folate), C, P; also vitamin K, which what regulates and metabolises calcium — for bones, skin, and minimises brain matter calcifications that often leads to Alzheimer's disease.

2- High in fibre — good for digestion; rich in Iron, Copper, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium and Manganese; contains high levels of protein, thiamin, riboflavin.

3- Hydrating agent: Arugula is composed of 90 percent water, so it’s perfectly convenient for hydrating.

4- To Cleanse and Detoxify: The fibre content helps clean out the colon promoting healthy bowel movements. The phytochemicals, antioxidants and essential minerals found in arugula help cleanse out toxins in the body, helping in weight loss. It is also beneficial for the hair.

5- Anti-cancer super food: A long term study was made in order to evaluate potential cancer risks with or without the consumption of glucosinolates found in cruciferous vegetables such as arugula. More than 11,000 males participated in this study that lasted a little over nine years. The results showed that the more participants regularly consumed glucosinolate based products, the less they were prone to develop cancer, especially prostate cancer.

Arugula also showed that it protects from skin, lung, and mouth cancers.

6- Increase blood flow, lowers blood pressure, lower inflammation, and, believe it to not, good for the hair too.

7- Aphrodisiac: Last but definitely not least, arugula is widely known to bring love back into the bedroom. As mentioned, these are not unsupported old beliefs, but now science has backed it up. How it does it? This natural Viagra helps block environmental contaminants which are thought to be negative to our libido. According to a 2013 study published in the journal of Al-Nahrain University, arugula has shown that it also increase levels of testosterone and sperm activity in mice.

Other edible aphrodisiacs are avocado, figs, asparagus, beet, and strawberries. The latter can be added to arugula with Parmesan cheese, olive oil and balsamic for one tasty salad.

Arugula: The Healthy Ancient Aphrodisiac by Omar Cherif, One Lucky Soul
 Pasta with arugula and tomato and Pasta with arugula pesto

As for eating Eruca sativa, it is often eaten raw or it could be cooked as a vegetable. One choice is to add it to a salad with other greens. Another is by adding it to pastas and antipasto like Italians do. Others even add it to meat and sea food. Arugula can equally be used to make a pesto paste along basil, cilantro leaves, nuts, walnuts, olive oil, garlic among many other options.

In Egypt, gargeer is usually eaten raw as a side dish, with ful medames (Fava beans) as well as with meat and seafood.

It is similar in Turkey, though a sauce of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice is added to it.

In Greek it’s called roka and they use it in omelettes and salads.

In Brazil, it is also eaten raw in salads. A popular combination is mixing it with mozzarella cheese — normally made out of buffalo milk — and sun-dried tomatoes. Yum.

Finally, in West Asia and Northern India, Eruca seeds are pressed to make taramira oil,
used in pickling and as a salad or cooking oil. The seed cake is also used as animal feed.

To add to its versatility and magick, arugula can be mixed it with spinach, carrot, and/or apples and consumed as a yummy juice.

Now that you know the story behind this ancient love potion and how it’s packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, have some rocket, head to the bedroom and Rocket On. Keep it Sativa, Folks.


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