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Topic: Silphium

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  The Straight Dope: Did the ancient Romans use a natural herb for birth control?
Silphium had many uses — perfume from its flowers, food from its stalk, and medicine from its juice (or resin) and roots.
Although silphium is no longer around, modern studies of the closely related plant asafetida show a 50 percent success rate in preventing implantation of fertilized eggs in rats, and it's nearly 100 percent effective when fed to them within three days of mating.
Silphium may not have vanished from the face of the earth, though; some believe it was the plant now known as Ferula tingitana, a giant fennel that has returned to North Africa.
www.straightdope.com /columns/061013.html   (925 words)

The Missouri clan of Silphium is small compared to all the members in North America: there are 23 species that range from Florida northwest to the Dakotas and southwest to Texas.
The genus Silphium is classified by botanists as belonging to the Asteraceae, or sunflower, family.
What sets Silphium apart from other members of the Asteraceae family is that its ray flowers-the individual flowers around the rim of the flower head with one large yellow petal each-are female, whereas the flowers in the center are male.
www.mdc.mo.gov /conmag/2000/08/4.htm   (1308 words)

  Silphium   (Site not responding. Last check: )
Silphium (also known as silphion or laser) was a plant of the genus Ferula.
Generally considered to be an extinct "giant fennel" (although some claim that the plant is really Ferula tingitana), it once formed the crux of trade from the ancient city of Cyrene for its use as a rich seasoning and as a medicine.
The sexual nature of that concept, combined with the widespread use of silphium in ancient Egypt for birth control, and the fact that the seeds of silphium are shaped like a heart, leads to speculation that the character for ab may have been derived from the shape of the silphium seed.
www.xasa.com /wiki/en/wikipedia/s/si/silphium.html   (456 words)

Theophrastus reports that the type of ferula specifically referred to as "silphium" was odd in that it only grew in the wild, but could not be successfully grown as a crop in tilled soil.
Pliny reported that the last known stalk of silphium was given to the Emperor Nero "as a curiosity".
In the Italian military heraldry Il silfio d’oro reciso di Cirenaica (silphium couped or of Cyrenaica) was the symbol granted to the units that fought in the campaigns in North Africa during World War II.
www.reference.com /browse/wiki/Silphium   (789 words)

 NEERLANDs Tuin - zonnekroon, Silphium
Silphium perfoliatum is de naam van de zonnekroon en Silphium laciniatum van de kompasplant.
De bloemen van Silphium lijken een mini-uitgave van de zonnebloem zonder afbreuk te willen doen aan de fraaie bloemen daarvan.
Silphium is vooral geschikt voor toepassing in een diepe border op de achtergrond.
www.neerlandstuin.nl /plantenb/silphium.html   (325 words)

 PLANTS Profile for Silphium perfoliatum (cup plant) | USDA PLANTS
Silphium perfoliatum L. Click on a thumbnail to view an image, or see all the Silphium thumbnails at the PLANTS Gallery
Silphium perfoliatum L. View 476 genera in Asteraceae, 19 species in Silphium or click below on a thumbnail map or name for species profiles.
Silphium perfoliatum L. This plant is listed by the U.S. federal government or a state.
plants.usda.gov /java/profile?symbol=SIPE2   (390 words)

The Missouri clan of Silphium is small compared to all the members in North America: there are 23 species that range from Florida northwest to the Dakotas and southwest to Texas.
The genus Silphium is classified by botanists as belonging to the Asteraceae, or sunflower, family.
What sets Silphium apart from other members of the Asteraceae family is that its ray flowers-the individual flowers around the rim of the flower head with one large yellow petal each-are female, whereas the flowers in the center are male.
mdc.mo.gov /conmag/2000/08/4.htm   (0 words)

 Hort 306 - READING 17-2   (Site not responding. Last check: )
The name silphium has also been applied, perhaps erroneously, to a foul-smelling Persian plant of the carrot family (genus Ferula), whose roots and rhizomes are the source of the medicinal gum resin asafetida.
The genus Silphium, a name given by Linnaeus in 1737 to a group of hardy North American herbs of the family Compositae, occurs today in the Mississippi Valley and eastward, but these plants are not related to the silphium of the Greeks.
The economic importance of silphium in an cient Cyrene, a Spartan colony, is recorded on the inside of a Laconian kylix (cup), probably made by Cyrenaic potters, in the 6th century BC, now in the Biblio-thèque Nationale in Paris.
www.hort.purdue.edu /newcrop/history/lecture17/r_17-2.html   (472 words)

 Silphium   (Site not responding. Last check: )
Silphium (také známý jako silphion nebo laser) byla rostlina rodu Ferula.
Tam byla nějaká spekulace ohledně spojení mezi silphium a tradiční srdeční tvar.
Sexuální povaha toho pojetí, kombinoval s rozšířeným používáním silphium ve starověkém Egyptě pro kontrolu porodnosti a fakt to semena silphium jsou formována jako srdce, vedení ke spekulaci, že znak pro ab může byla odvozena z tvaru semena silphium.
wikipedia.infostar.cz /s/si/silphium.html   (339 words)

 Coinage of Greek Cyrenaica, the Silphium Economy, and Exaggerated Advertising
Silphium was a member of the genus Ferula, of the Apiaceae or carrot family, which grew only in a small region of the coast of what is now Libya.
For instance, the gum resin of silphium was widely known to promote contraception and abortion, and, while no contemporary texts explicitly identify any silphium product as an aphrodisiac, circumstantial evidence suggests that Mediterranean peoples may have sought this giant fennel as a sexual restorative, especially for men who wanted to improve their sexual performance.
Comparison of other extant species in the genus Ferula with numismatic representations of the long-extinct silphium reveals that the coin motifs often enhanced the thickness of the stalk and exaggerated the density of the flowery head, stylizations which, in the opinions of the authors, were designed to evoke images of an erect penis.
www.herbalgram.org /youngliving/herbalgram/articleview.asp?a=375   (1779 words)

 Islam Online- Health & Science Section   (Site not responding. Last check: )
While silphium was considered to be the most effective herbal contraceptive of the classical world, not everyone could afford it and there were always other substitutes.
Besides silphium and asafoetida, other plants were recognized as having both contraceptive and abortificant properties by ancient women.
Silphium cannot be tested but experiments using crude extracts of asafoetida in rats, showed that it inhibited implantation of fertilized ova at rates up to 50 percent.
www.islamonline.net /English/Science/2003/08/article02.shtml   (1208 words)

Trade based on Silphium was of great commercial importance to Cyrene so much so that it was often used on their coinage.
Silphium was a royal monopoly, with strict rules about how much could be harvested each year.
An interesting story linked to Silphium is that it is the origin of the idealized heart shape.
www.geocities.com /syrtica/silphium.html   (652 words)

 Spartanburg SC | GoUpstate.com | Spartanburg Herald-Journal   (Site not responding. Last check: )
The ancient Greek colony of Cyrene at one time had an economy based almost entirely on the production and export of silphium, a powerful abortifacient in the parsley family.
Silphium figured so prominently in the wealth of Cyrene that the plant appeared on the obverse and reverse of coins minted there.
Silphium, which was native only to that part of Libya, was overharvested by the Greeks and was effectively driven to extinction.
www.goupstate.com /apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=NEWS&template=wiki&text=abortifacient   (515 words)

 Silphium [Ferula tingitana L.]   (Site not responding. Last check: )
It was imported from Cyrene (in Libya), where its importance to the ecomony is underscored by the fact that its image was stamped on all the coins of the region from the sixth century BC.
The cultivation of silphium was a measure of the wealth of Cyrene, but by the time of Nero, the plant had become extinct, probably as a result of overgrazing and over cropping.
Based on this, and Apicius's references to the use of asafoetida when silphium was not available, a few drops of garlic juice is sometimes used as a substitute in modern adaptations of ancient recipies as asafetida extract apparently provides an unusual, rather bitter and garlicky flavor.(4)
lauracalluria.tripod.com /Silphium.html   (239 words)

 SILPHIUM : Encyclopedia Entry
Ancient silver coin from Cyrene depicting a stalk of Silphium.
Ancient silver coin from Cyrene depicting a seed/fruit of Silphium.
Silphium, Silver and Strife: A History of Kyrenaika and Its Coinage.
www.bibleocean.com /OmniDefinition/Silphium   (710 words)

 Herbal Contraceptive of the Ancient World ~ Silphion
Silphium, a member of the giant fennel family, was used by ancient women during the seventh century
So important was silphium's role in Cyrene's way of life that its image and usage was immortalized on the city's coins, one such coin depicted a woman touching the plant and pointing to her reproductive area, making its use quite clear.
As silphium became harder to find and more expensive, ancient women turned to other plants.
www.sisterzeus.com /Silphio.htm   (734 words)

 Rosin-Weed (Silphium species)   (Site not responding. Last check: )
Simpson's Rosin-weed (Silphium Simpsonii) is a showy addition to your sunny landscape bed or meadow.
Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum) is quicky disappearing from the wild in the wake of suburban development and animal grazing.
White Rosin-weed (Silphium albiflorum) is a striking endemic native of the Blackland Prairie.
home.earthlink.net /~madronenursery/Wildflowers/silphium.html   (128 words)

 08-Noteworthy Species-Silphium   (Site not responding. Last check: )
laciniatum L. As all published chromosome counts in Silphium are diploid (Settle and Fisher 1970, Cronquist 1980, subsequent volumes of Index to Plant Chromosome Numbers), and given the frequency of hybridization in human-perturbed habitats, it appears that, among related taxa of Silphium, barriers to gene flow are chiefly ecological.
Plants truly conforming to that species, however, are known in Alabama only from two counties (Pickens and Sumter) on the Mississippi border, localities at least 80 km to the northwest of the glandular Dallas and Perry County populations.
All of the known Silphium perplexum populations are within 13.5 km of the Cahaba River.
www.mindspring.com /~jallison/08-NotewSpp-Silphium.htm   (1919 words)

 Heartsmith Jewelry | History of the Heart
We are only now coming to understand why the Silphium plant was so highly valued that it was harvested to extinction.
Silphium grew only in the small, upland, ecological zones surrounding the city of Cyrene in North Africa.
And the connection between this artistic convention and Silphium is found in the coinage of Cyrene, which features a seed pod of the revered plant." 1
www.heartsmith.com /guide_history.html   (566 words)

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