- Nov 2008
A lucrative source of profit for Cyrene was the medicinal plant called silphium. It grew wild and proved resistant to transplanting elsewhere in the Roman world. Its root could be pickled and its leaf eaten, and it was used as a laxative and as an antiseptic. In fact, silphium came to be considered as wonder medicinal plant, with many claiming it as an aphrodisiac to a cure for chills. It was so important to the economy of Cyrenaica that it was depicted on the coinage of that region. The plant has never been definitely identified, but it may have been related to fennel. The plant probably became extinct during the reign of the Emperor Nero.