Where could I find, for purchase at a reasonable price, the type of early purple orchid from which salep is made?
Salep (sahlep) is produced from the root of Orchis mascula and O. militaris (and a few other species), which grow in many European countries. Salep drinks are popular in Turkey and some other European countries. Although some European nurseries supply these orchids, we have, unfortunately, not been able to find an American supplier.
It is possible to buy salep root and salep powder on-line or in some Turkish grocery stores However, since these orchids are endangered and rare in the wild, one cannot be sure that these products are genuine. You will find a number of suppliers listed on EBay but we suggest that it's a case of "buyer beware".
There may be side effects for some people.
The NYBG Plant Information Service