Also known as cayirotu or cemcicegi, salep is
believed to be good for disorders of the intestines,
colds and coughs; improve the appetite and increase
virility. Ancient folklore relates that it was
an ingredient of love potions brewed by witches.
Ottoman times salep was an ingredient of invigorating
pastes prepared for the sultans, along with
ginger, coriander, senna, black cumin seeds,
coconut, aniseed and numerous other herbs and
spices. In winter salep prepared as a drink
with milk was sold by street vendors, who kept
it warm in large copper jugs on a brazier. Their
customers would warm themselves by the brazier
and drink salep out of large cups without handles.
A traditional drink of the Middle East, salep
was introduced to Europe, and became popular,
particularly in England, where it was sold in
salep shops, and served with bread and butter.
Gradually, however, as coffee drinking became
widespread, its use in Europe died out.