Salep is a flour made from the tubers of the orchid genus Orchis (including species Orchis mascula and Orchis militaris). These tubers contain a nutritious starch-like polysaccharide called glucomannan. Salep flour is consumed in beverages and desserts, especially in places that were formerly part of the Ottoman Empire. The word salep can also mean any beverage made with the salep flour.
Turkish: salep, Persian: ثعلب saalab, Arabic: سحلب saḥlab, Albanian: salep, Azerbaijani: səhləb, Hebrew: סַחְלֶבּּ saḥleb, Greek: σαλέπι salepi, Macedonian: салеп, Serbian: салеп/salep, Bosnian: salep was a popular beverage in the lands of the Ottoman Empire. Its consumption spread beyond there to England and Germany before the rise of coffee and tea and it was 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 water. Substitution of British orchid roots, known as 'dogstones', was acceptable in the 18th century for the original Turkish variants.
The beverage sahlab is now often made with hot milk instead of water, and 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 sahlab known as Salepi Maraş.
The popularity of sahlab in Turkey has led to a decline in the populations of wild orchids. As a result, it is illegal to export true salep. Thus, many instant sahlab 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.
Sahlab is also consumed in Greece, and it is usually sold on the streets as a hot beverage during the cold months of the year.
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".
The liner notes to the Aphrodite's Child album 666 include the note that the work "was recorded under the influence of 'sahlep'". The album, carrying the Number of the Beast as its name, was boycotted by certain radio stations, with as a possible contributing factor that the word sahlep was interpreted by Fundamentalist Christians as the name of a drug, a demon, or a black-magic sect.
Salep is recommended for infants and invalids suffering from chronic diarrhoea and bilious fevers. In the German Pharmacopoeia, a mucilage of salep appears as an ofﬁcial preparation.
Nutritional information 
A typical recipe of Sahlab has the following nutrition facts per serving (around 250g):
- Calories: 165
- Total fat (g): 8
- Saturated fat (g): 5
- Cholesterol (mg): 24
- Carbohydrates (g): 16
- Protein (g): 8
See also 
- from Botanical.com
- Information and recipe on Salep drink, Egyptian style
- Sahlab recipe and nutrition facts
- About Salep bevarage
- Davidson, Alan (1987). Oxford Companion to Food, 1st ed. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. p. 683. ISBN 0-19-211579-0.
- "Ice cream threatens Turkey's flowers". BBC News. 2003-08-05. Retrieved 2010-05-23.
- Dalby, Andrew (2003). Food in the Ancient World: from A to Z. New York, NY: Routledge. p. 292. ISBN 0-415-23259-7. 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.
- Jolande Jacobi, ed. (1995). Paracelsus: Selected writings. Princeton University Press. p. 122. ISBN 0-691-01876-6.
- Vangelis, Costas Ferris and Aphrodite's Child - The story of the album: 666 (The apocalypse of John. 13/18)
- "ELSEWHERE": Aphrodite's Child
- Hossain MM.,"Therapeutic orchids: traditional uses and recent advances--an overview." Fitoterapia. 2011 Mar;82(2):102-40
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