Is there a connection between the heart symbol and the extinct contraceptive herb silphium? The herb was used extensively in Roman times, both as a contraceptive and for seasoning, so much that it was driven to extinction in classical antiquity. The shape of the seed (right image) clearly resembles the heart symbol, and is the first representation of the shape to be discovered. From Ancient Origins:
Other than the possibility that the rampant use of an artificial contraceptive and abortifacient by Roman pagans may have contributed to the early Christian idea that in any way blocking conception is a most evil thing, silphium has impacted our society in another unusual way.
You may have heard that the common heart symbol, which is shaped nothing like an actual heart, is actually a representation of either the stylized shape of the female buttocks, or pubic mound, or is a medieval depiction of various flowering plants, such as fig leaves, ivy, or water-lilies. However, the use of the familiar double-tear shaped heart symbol first appears in the historical record on the currency of Cyrene. The undeniable shape, which is believed by most to be a reproduction of the visual appearance of the silphium seed, has some people wondering if the origin of the modern symbol for romance and love is in fact quite a bit older than the Middle Ages.