Salep ( _tr. salep - sahlep) from _ar. سحلب saḥlab) referring to both orchid as well as the salep drink. It is a flour made from grinding the dried tubers of "Orchis mascula", "Orchis militaris" and related species of orchids, which contain a nutritious starch-like polysaccharide called glucomannan.


The name salep comes from the Arabic expression Unicode|"ḥasyu al-tha`lab" "fox testicles"—a graphic description of the appearance of orchid tubers; compare the classical Greek word ὄρχις, "órchis", which means both "testicle" and "orchid" (and is of course the etymon of the English word). [One of the orchid species used to make salep in antiquity was known as "cynos orchis" "dog's testicle." See "Herbarius" 15] The comparison to testes, naturally, accounts for salep being considered an aphrodisiac.


Salep is also the name of a beverage made from salep flour, whose popularity spread beyond Turkey and the Middle East to England and Germany before the rise of coffee and tea and later offered as an alternative beverage in coffee houses. In England, the drink was known as "saloop". Popular in the 17th and 18th centuries in England its preparation required that the salep powder be added to water until thickened whereupon it would be sweetened then flavored with orange flower or rose waters. Substitution of British orchid roots, known as 'dogstones', were acceptable in the 18th century for the original Turkish variants. [cite book |last=Davidson |first=Alan |authorlink=Alan Davidson |title=Oxford Companion to Food, 1st ed. |year=1987 |publisher=Oxford University Press |location=Oxford, UK|isbn=0-19-211579-0 |pages=683]

The beverage salep is sometimes referred to as Turkish Delight, though that name is more commonly used for lokum.Other desserts are also made from salep flour, including salep pudding and salep ice cream. The Kahramanmaraş region of Turkey is a major producer of salep known as Salepi Maraş.

The popularity of salep in Turkey has led to a decline in the populations of wild orchids. As a result it is illegal to export true salep out of the country. [ [ BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Ice cream threatens Turkey's flowers ] ] Thus, many instant salep mixes are made with artificial flavoring.

The Ancient Romans also used ground orchid bulbs to make drinks, which they called by a number of names, especially satyrion and priapiscus. As the names indicate, they likewise considered it to be a powerful aphrodisiac. [cite book |last=Dalby |first=Andrew |authorlink=Andrew Dalby |title=Food in the Ancient World: from A to Z |year=2003 |publisher=Routledge |location=New York, NY |isbn=0-415-23259-7 |pages=292 Theophrastus "HP" 9.18.13; Dioscorides "MM" 3.126-8; Pliny the Elder "NH" 26.95-8, 27.65; Galen "SF" 12.92-3; "Herbarius" 15.3.]

Cultural references

Of Salep, Paracelsus the famous toxicologist wrote: "Behold the Satyrion root, is it not formed like the male privy parts? Accordingly magic discovered it and revealed that it can restore a man's virility and passion".Specify|date=May 2007

In Joan Aiken's novel "Is", saloop is mentioned as conferring long life. The liner notes to the Aphrodite's Child album 666 include the note that the work "was recorded under the influence of 'sahlep'". [ [ Vangelis, Costas Ferris and Aphrodite's Child - The story of the album: 666 (The apocalypse of John. 13/18) ] ] Many in the west, unaware of the plant and drink, interpreted the word as the name of "a drug or a demon" [ [ "ELSEWHERE": Aphrodite's Child ] ] , which contributed to the album being banned by several radio stations. [ [ "ELSEWHERE": Aphrodite's Child ] ]

ee also

*Maraş Dondurması
*Maraş Dondurma

External links

* [ from]
* [ article on Salep icecream]
* [ Information and recipe on Salep drink, Egyptian style]
* [ OrkideTR] Salep as a commercial product, salep obtaining species in Turkey, Orchis species in danger, Salep diggers, Culturel drink Salep, Ottoman to 20th Century: Salep, How to prepare, Why orchis species in danger, amounts of destruction of orchis species on account of Salep


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  • salep — salep …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • salep — [ salɛp ] n. m. • 1740; ar. sahlap ♦ Pharm. Fécule extraite des tubercules desséchés de l orchis, utilisée comme aliment ou comme excipient. ● salep nom masculin (arabe sāḥlāb) Substance alimentaire tirée des tubercules desséchés de certaines… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Salep — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda El Salep es una bebida caliente, típica de Turquía, que se bebe en los días fríos de invierno. Se elabora a partir del tubérculo de una orquídea con la que se elabora una harina aromática. El ingrediente básico del… …   Wikipedia Español

  • salep — SALÉP, salepuri, s.n. 1. Nume dat tuberculilor uscaţi ai unor specii de orhidee; p. ext. praf de amidon extras din aceşti tuberculi şi care, fiert în lapte sau în apă, se foloseşte ca întăritor pentru copii sau convalescenţi. 2. Băutură preparată …   Dicționar Român

  • Salep — Sal ep (s[a^]l [e^]p), n. [Ar. sahleb, perhaps a corruption of an Arabic word for fox, one Ar. name of the orchis signifying literally, fox s testicles: cf. F. salep.] [Written also {saleb}, {salop}, and {saloop}.] The dried tubers of various… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Salep — (Salepwurzel, Radix salep), 1) die mit heißem Wasser abgebrühten u. dann getrockneten, eiförmigen, hornartigfesten, gelblichweißen, halbdurchscheinenden Wurzelknollen mehrer Orchisarten; sie bestehen fast ausschließlich aus Stärkemehl mit etwas… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Salep — (verstümmelt aus dem arab. khus yatus salab, »Fuchshoden«), getrocknete Wurzelknollen verschiedener Orchideen aus der Abteilung der Ophrydeen. Diese Pflanzen besitzen zur Blütezeit zwei Knollen, eine geschrumpfte, aus deren Bestandteilen sich der …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Salep — Salep, Salap (Radix salep), die Wurzel mehrer Orchis Arten, besonders der Orchis morio s., O. mascula s., O. latifolia s., O. maculata s. etc. in Europa. Es kommen sowohl europ. als oriental. S. wurzeln im Handel vor; die orient. sind etwas… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • salep — 1736 (also saloop, 1712) a starch or jelly made from dried tubers of orchid like plants, formerly used as a drug, from Turk. salep, from dialectal pronunciation of Arabic thaeleb, which usually is taken to be a shortening of khasyu th thaeleb,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • salep — sàlep m DEFINICIJA reg. toplo, zaslađeno piće; dobiva se ukuhavanjem korijena istoimene biljke (Orchis morio) ETIMOLOGIJA njem. Salep ← arap. saḥlab …   Hrvatski jezični portal

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