5 Things to Know About Copper & Love
For everyone who has ever sunk deep into a copper bathtub and felt like a god or goddess, there’s a reason why—and it’s not just because copper naturally conducts heat and radiates luxury. As the first metal to be widely used by humans, copper and our planet have a very long and magical history that just so happens to involve both love and chocolate. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here are some of our favorite facts about copper’s ties to all things love.
Copper Knows How to Commit
It’s one of the oldest metals in use. It rose to prominence during the Middle Ages in Europe, Egypt, and Asia along with the practice of alchemy, which aimed to transform base metals into gold, a pursuit that proved to be a forerunner of chemistry. Alchemists not only established our four classical elements—earth, water, air, and fire—they paired the seven known metals with the seven known heavenly bodies, ascribing meaning to each. Humans’ fascination with metals would ultimately lead us out of the Stone Age and into the ages of metals: the Bronze and Iron Ages.
Copper Represents the Goddess of Love
As long ago as 10,000 years, ancient civilizations believed there was a connection between heaven and earth, between metals and planets. Named among the seven metals of alchemy, representing Venus, both the planet and the Roman goddess whose functions encompassed love, beauty, sex, fertility, prosperity and desire. The word copper comes from the word Cyprus, the island where the Romans obtained their supply; in pagan tradition, Venus washed up on the shore of Cyprus on a clam shell. In Roman times, copper was known as “aes cyprium,” which was eventually simplified to “cuprum” and then anglicized into the English “copper.”
Copper Deficiency? Eat Dark Chocolate
Copper is an essential nutrient vital to the health of all living things, according to the Copper Development Association. Not only is copper nutrition important for pregnant women, but in all people it “enhances bone strength, red and white blood cell maturation, iron transport, cholesterol and glucose metabolism, heart muscle contraction and brain development.” The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine recommends that adults consume about 900 micrograms of copper daily through foods such as dark chocolate, nuts, seafood, legumes, liver and green leafy vegetables. Throughout time, healers have believed that copper is capable of transferring energy to aid the healing process in both the body and mind. That’s why you will sometimes see arthritis sufferers don copper bracelets.
Copper Takes Out the Recycling
While there’s plenty of talk about not using up our earth’s precious supply of natural resources, we’re in no danger of running out of copper. Scientists estimate that the earth is home to more than 8 trillion pounds of it and that we’ve only mined about 1.1 trillion pounds of it so far. The best part: The metal we’ve already mined can be recycled and reused infinitely without compromising its integrity. To contribute to this cycle of sustainability, all Native Trails copper bathtubs and sinks are crafted from 100 percent recycled metal.
In ancient Egypt, copper was used to sterilize wounds and drinking water; ancient Aztecs gargled water mixed with copper to fight sore throats, and Hippocrates reportedly treated leg ulcers with copper. Today, scientific research has proven that copper has an antimicrobial effect, which is why more hospitals around the world are finding ways to use copper equipment to stem hospital infections. John Lynch, medical director of infection control at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center, told The Washington Post, “We’ve known for a long time that copper and other metals are effective in killing microbes, so it wasn’t a great leap to incorporate copper surfaces into hospitals.”
The beauty of copy lasts long after Valentine’s Day. Whether warding off germs, reminding us of our shared history, nourishing our bodies or serving as functional art in our kitchens and bathrooms, this magical metal’s wonders are still being discovered.