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The Dark Side of Medieval Love Potions

The lengths people went for love is gruesome and horrifying

By Dharrsheena Raja SegarranPublished 2 years ago Updated 4 months ago 4 min read
Image from Pinterest

The term ‘Love Potion’ is very well known but did you know that it actually exists? They do and they are considered very potent.

Love potions have roots in history as far back as the Biblical times (and possibly beyond). They were incredibly popular in medieval times.

Witchcraft, especially the love potions, was a way of life in medieval times and their uses were reflected in romantic epics, folklore, and legal records.

A love potion is said to be a magical potion that causes the person who drinks it to fall head over heels in love with the person who offered it to them.

Though claimed to be magical, the ingredients used to make these love potions are absolutely gross and repulsive. If you have a weak stomach, please proceed with caution.

Body Parts of Corpses

Image from The Line Up

Unlike the witchcraft done by Serial Killer Leonarda Cianciulli to create a protection spell by killing three people and using their body parts and blood to make soap and tea cakes respectively, this love potion doesn’t require killing people.

Instead, certain parts were required from people who are already dead. There were a lot of grave-robbings done to obtain body parts of dead people.

There was one love potion that required the spleen and bone marrow of a specific dead boy.

Common ingredients of this love potion were powdered bone, pubic hair, and menstrual blood! From this information, it can be concluded that women made these love potions for men and not vice versa.

In 1320, the Cathar noblewoman, Beatrice de Planisoles was charged with witchcraft. Among the objects she possessed to cast evil spells was a linen cloth soaked with her daughter’s first menstrual blood, which was intended to be drunk by her daughter’s husband.

Love Cake or Shall I Say ‘Sweat Cake’

Image from Pixabay

Apparently, in medieval times, there was something called the ‘love cake’ that one would bake whilst naked. They would also rub the dough on their skin to absorb their sweat.

The cake would then be served to their victim to make them fall in love with the spell-caster, well, in this case, the baker.

This gave me strong vibes of Serial Killer Leonarda Cianciulli. She used witchcraft to make soap from dead bodies and tea cakes from their blood. You can read the article I wrote about her HERE.

So, back to the ‘love cake’, in Medieval Europe, some of their recipes for love potions have been called ‘sweaty cakes’ made from menstrual blood, sweat, and sometimes bits of skin and hair.

Not only do they bake whilst naked but they use the cakes as towels to wipe their sweat when it comes out of the oven. No love potion ingredients should go to waste.

Thank God Dinosaurs Went Extinct

By Scott Carroll on Unsplash

Poaching was another prevalent crime because animal remains were also a high-demand ingredient for love potions.

Among the most popular animal parts were:

  • Sparrow’s head and brain (Not to be mistaken for Jack Sparrow)
  • Deer’s heart
  • Stork’s droppings
  • Snake’s fat
  • Donkey’s testicles
  • Bones from the left side of a toad that has been devoured by ants (apparently the right side bone causes hatred)
  • Pigeon’s heart and blood
  • Bat’s blood

The bat’s blood was the idea of Pliny the Elder in ancient Rome. It seems the blood must be left to coagulate and put under the pillow of the person they want to be with.

Wings of Blister Beetle or Spanish Fly

Image from CBC

During the times of Roman Emperor Augustus, the wings of the Blister Beetle (also known as the Spanish Fly) were used in love potions.

The Latin chroniclers classified the wings as a powerful aphrodisiac. They were crushed into powder to be used in the love potion.

This powder however is very dangerous. Too much of it, in fact, as little as 32 milligrams can cause the kidneys to completely shut down.

There were times when women found the potion to be ineffective. They would then simply kill off their husbands to get remarried.

This gave me strong vibes of Nannie Doss, the Giggling Granny Serial Killer. Out of the 11 people she killed, 4 of them were her husbands. She was on a kill-and-remarry spree. You can read the article I wrote about her HERE.

Lizards Were Not Hazards

By Kony on Unsplash

The love potion in Nigeria was to be consumed while it was still boiling hot and it consists of:

  • Lizard’s neck
  • Viper’s blood
  • Witch’s hair (who would even reveal they are a witch?)
  • A piece of our own umbilical cord (so this love potion would take 9 months to make and also yields a baby)
  • All our fingernail and toenail clippings since birth (this one is just impossible)

The love potion in the Philippines consists of a lizard drowned in urine.

Native American tribes used dried lizard or lizard tails as an ingredient in their love potion.

Now He Can’t ‘WORM’ His Way Out of the Relationship

By sippakorn yamkasikorn on Unsplash

In the 16th century, crushed worms were mixed with powdered periwinkle and herbs to make a love potion. This mixture was then added to their spouse’s food.

Worms were chosen for the love potion due to their link with the earth. It was believed that it was a potent sign of increased fertility, which happens to be a very much desired outcome of a love spell.

Mandrakes Actually Exist?

A mandrake root from the Tractatus de Herbis (circa1440)

Who knew mandrakes existed outside the Harry Potter world?

Mandrake (also known as mandragora) has been a popular ingredient during the Biblical times up until now in love potions.

The mandrake resembles a human form, both male and female. It allegedly screams when pulled from the ground, causing madness or death to those who hear it.

The root of the mandrake is used in love potions and is to be consumed. It can also be worn as a fertility amulet.
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About the Creator

Dharrsheena Raja Segarran

My mental health decline brought about a lot of darkness and I embraced it. It now flows out mostly as Dark Stories and Poetry.

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✨️Glitteringly Savage✨️
🖤 Elegantly Disturbed Mind 🖤

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Comments (28)

  • Sarah Wilcox20 days ago

    Now I must find earplugs and a mandrake to pull! This is amazing! 👏

  • omg this was informative and cringeworthy. But I'm also wondering if the potions worked???

  • Alex H Mittelman 4 months ago

    1 love cake, please! This is just my kind of history! ♥️

  • Mother Combs6 months ago

    mmm yummy.🤮

  • Daphsam6 months ago

    OMG, I had no idea about such things. Thank you for educating us. You wrote a very detailed report.

  • Denise E Lindquist7 months ago

    Wow.❤️ I'm familiar with a few people who I was told used them. When I thought about it, I just said, yes, that is what they would need! I didn't really take it seriously. I didn't know it was all over the world though.

  • L.C. Schäferabout a year ago

    Did you see Midsommar? The love cake bit made me think of that! I didn't realise it was a real thing 😱 I did know about the Mandrake root. Reading that bit made me think of the one in Pans Labyrinth.

  • Heather Hublerabout a year ago

    EWWW!!! Why, why, why would people think these things have anything to do with love?? You did a fantastic job putting this together. I think the worm batch sounded the best out of all of them, lol. Great work, Professor Red!

  • Donna Fox (HKB)about a year ago

    Dharrsheena, this was such a great and informative read! I was really rattled about the sweat cakes, I can’t imagine doing that with food and then serving it to people. 😳 It also in an essence kind of reminded me of polyjuice potion in Harry Potter, because you noted that sometimes the cakes contained skin and hair. I laughed at the Jack Sparrow reference! Kind of made me want to watch that movie or series, that might be on my to-do list now. Lol I love that you discovered mandrakes are a real thing! I always find it so crazy that a lot off JK’s stuff was based on real mythologies. You really did your research for this article and did a beautiful job giving us all the information without making it “too informative”. I really enjoyed this read! 💖

  • Babs Iversonabout a year ago

    Definitely gross love potion ingredients, yet very informative & interesting read!!! Left a heart!!!💖💖💕

  • Donna Reneeabout a year ago

    How on earth did people ever come up with these potions??? Absolutely desperate, I guess? 😩🤮. I actually loved learning about them though 😁🤣

  • Novel Allenabout a year ago

    You have a talent for the macabre, you should direct your gift towards writing some Dhar originals. Sell them to movie studios and such. Just saying, Hope you are well and prospering tenfold. This was well done, gave me chills, but well presented.

  • Dawn Salois2 years ago

    This was a very I interesting article. I would be more likely to love someone who didn’t try to feed me any of that stuff. Well done!

  • Cathy holmes2 years ago

    Good one. Interesting info there. Gross, but Interesting

  • Jonathan Townend2 years ago

    Hi. Sorry for taking so long to respond on FB but I wasa bit under the weather recently. This piece you wrote proved very interesting to read. I look forward to reaading more, so have subscribed.

  • John Markham2 years ago

    Interesting and compelling read. The gruesome ingredients added to the fascination.

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  • I knew love potions to be dangerous but I had no idea! Nicely done!

  • This is a great story, now people use dating sites. That can be even more dangerous

  • I love all of these creepy facts. My favorite parts are the snippets of commentary, such as the one for Witches hair and the titles above each picture. Clever and funny.

  • Loved this! You always have awesome and interesting topics! I can't wait to read more of your stuff! ❤️

  • Sara Wilson2 years ago

    It's incredible to think that love (one thing people tend to chase above all others and consider to be one of the most beautiful things) would have potions created out of some of the most disgusting things.

  • Entertaining, educational, and very well written. Loved it!

Dharrsheena Raja SegarranWritten by Dharrsheena Raja Segarran

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