Men can add ginseng and saffron to their diet to improve their sex life. They can indulge in wine and chocolate, too, but should know that their amorous effects are likely all in head. Stay away from the more obscure Spanish fly and Bufo toad.
While purported to be sexually enhancing, these produce the opposite result and can even be toxic, the journal Food Research International reports.
The findings have been made in the study by Massimo Marcone, professor in University of Guelph’s Department of Food Science, and Master’s student John Melnyk.
“Aphrodisiacs have been used for thousands of years all around the world, but the science behind the claims has never been well understood or clearly reported,” Marcone said, according to a Guelph statement.
“Ours is the most thorough scientific review to date. Nothing has been done on this level of detail before now,” he added.
There is a need for natural products that enhance sex without side-effects, Melnyk added. Currently, conditions such as erectile dysfunction are treated with synthetic drugs, including sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis).
“But these drugs can produce headache, muscle pain and blurred vision, and can have dangerous interactions with other medications. They also do not increase libido, so it doesn’t help people experiencing low sex drive,” he said.
Researchers reviewed hundreds of studies on commonly used aphrodisiacs, meeting the most stringent controls to investigate claims of sexual enhancement-psychological and physiological.
They found that panax ginseng, saffron and yohimbine, a natural chemical from yohimbe trees in West Africa, improved human sexual function.
People report increased sexual desire after eating muira puama, a flowering plant found in Brazil, and maca root, a mustard plant in the Andes.
Despite its purported aphrodisiac effect, chocolate was not linked to sexual arousal or satisfaction, the study said. Alcohol was found to increase sexual arousal but to impede sexual performance.