Heart shaped seeds and herbal birth control.

Silphion seed on a Cyrene coin

Valentine’s day quiz: What is the symbol on this ancient Cyrenian coin?

Answer: It’s the seed of the silphion plant—a classical birth control remedy.

Looks like a heart, you say? Well, I think so too. And some people think that this is where the heart shape came from.

(Silphion—silphium to the Romans—was probably a species of giant fennel (Ferula) native to the North African coast. Pliny declared it extinct from overharvesting, but not all the ancient writers agreed on that point. Some people think it may have been giant Tangier fennel (Ferula tingitana), which is not extinct.)


  1. Monte Koinzan said,

    June 21, 2013 @ 8:28 am

    Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is in the same family, but not genus, as true ginseng. Like ginseng, it is considered to be an adaptogenic herb. The active compounds in Siberian ginseng are eleutherosides, not ginsenosides. ,:-`

    Au revoir http://www.healthmedicine101.comzn

  2. Anonymous said,

    October 6, 2014 @ 6:14 am

    great blog :)! I really like it!

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