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Spanish Fly

This powder is made out of crushed bugs and works by irritating the urethra. That doesn't sound very sexy, but Spanish fly is one of the most widely known aphrodisiacs, and its use dates back to ancient Rome. Made from iridescent green beetles (not flies), it contains a substance called cantharidin, which when ingested and eliminated, causes burning in the urinary tract. So what may seem like desire is really just inflammation of the loins. Nevertheless, it can elicit the desired effect and cause arousal in both women and men,  producing erections and even priapism. A little goes a long way, though, and too much can cause kidney damage.


The bark of the yohimbe tree of West Africa was once used by tribal warriors to increase stamina and ferocity as they went to battle. Now it is taken as an herbal supplement for potency, and is also the source of a prescription drug used to treat erectile dysfunction. Yohimbine is the active ingredient, and has been shown to stimulate libido in laboratory animals. Its mechanism of action isn't known, but scientists speculate it may work by affecting parts of the brain that normally suppress sexual arousal. For that reason, it might be more helpful in cases of ED that have a psychological component.  

Tiger Penis

Tiger penis, rhinoceros horn, and other various animal body parts have traditionally been consumed in some parts of the world as cures for erectile dysfunction. The belief is that by ingestion, the person will take on the characteristics of what he's eating, so animals associated with virility, prowess, horniness, and so forth are prized for their ability to confer sexual potency. Unfortunately, this practice has lead to the endangerment of some species.


Ginseng is an ancient remedy and tonic for many ills, including impotence. Its reputation as a cure for sexual dysfunction may be due to its overall energizing effects, as well as the plant root's resemblance to a man. However, medical studies have shown that men treated for erectile dysfunction with ginseng had a better response than those treated with a placebo, so there is something to the claims.




Horny Goat Weed

With a name like "horny goat weed" the effects are kind of self-explanatory. A common ingredient in "herbal Viagra" supplements, this plant is native to Asia and Europe and has been used in China to bolster male potency for over 2000 years. Scientific research has shown that, unlike many supposed aphrodisiacs, horny goat weed contains an effective substance that works in the same way as Viagra. However, you would have to ingest a lot of the stuff in order to get the equivalent of a full dose of sildenafil.


Chocolate has its origins in ancient Mexico, where the legend is that Montezuma consumed mass quantities of cocoa beans to keep up his sexual stamina. Its reputation as an aphrodisiac came with it when it was imported to the New World, and it remains a popular Valentine's gift. There is at least some scientific evidence to link chocolate and sex, or at least romance. It contains tryptophan, a precursor of serotonin, which can affect sexual drive, as well as the chemical phenylethylamine, a stimulant that is produced naturally in the pleasure center of the brain and is partly responsible for the feeling of "being in love".




Red Wine

The pomegranate was associated with Aphrodite in ancient Greece, and now there's science to back up its reputation as a passion fruit. In clinical studies, men with ED who drank pomegranate juice daily reported greater improvements in erections than men in placebo groups. The effective ingredient is the pigment anthocyanin, which is also found in red wine and blackberries, blueberries, bilberries, acai berries, and other red or purple fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanin is an antioxidant and a natural phosphodiesterase (PDE-5) inhibitor, which means it works the same way that Viagra does.



Most males don't need extra testosterone, but a low level of this hormone can cause erectile dysfunction and decreased libido. In such cases, hormone replacement therapy can help bring Mr. Happy back to life, and higher T levels result in a higher sex drive. Testosterone acts as an aphrodisiac for women as well. Given in small doses, the hormone increases female sex drive. Of course, you can get too much of a good thing. Excessive testosterone can cause women to masculinize, grow excess hair, and their sex drive may increase so much as to become distracting. Too much testosterone in men can lead to shrunken testicles and man boobs.




Oysters have a long-standing reputation as an aphrodisiac food. This may be due to their briny taste, their vulval shape, or their suggestive texture. Romans feasted on them at orgies, and Casanova is claimed to have eaten 50 raw oysters, served on an attractive woman's bosom, for breakfast. Modern science indicates there's possibly some basis for their renown as a libido enhancer. Oysters are rich in zinc, which is necessary for sperm production, and contain D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate, which have increased testosterone in laboratory rats. They're also high in protein and other vitamins and minerals, so the boost they give to overall health may give you an additional edge in the bedroom.

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