Happy Chocolate Week! Why Some Aphrodisiacs Work And Others Don't

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strawberry chocolate fondue aphrodisiac
Strawberries, oysters and chocolate are sexy to eat, but do they truly enhance sexual desire?

Certain foods are just plain sexy to eat—strawberries, oysters, and chocolate come to mind—but do they endow the eater with true sexual desire?

"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," says Massimo Marcone, a professor in the University of Guelph's Department of Food Science.

Conditions such as erectile dysfunction are treated with synthetic drugs, including sildenafil (commonly sold as Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis)—but these drugs can produce negative side effects such as headache, muscle pain and blurred vision, and can have dangerous interactions with other medications. They also do not increase libido.

Marcone and master's student John Melnyk examined hundreds of studies on commonly used consumable aphrodisiacs to investigate claims of sexual enhancement, either psychological and physiological—results of their study appeared in the journal Food Research International. Here's what they found:

Ginseng, saffron and yohimbine, a natural chemical from yohimbe trees in West Africa, improved human sexual function.

Wine and chocolate, improved sexual function, but their amorous effects are likely psychological.

Spanish fly and Bufo toad—while purported to be sexually enhancing, they produced the opposite result and can even be toxic.

Read the rest of the article at Care2: Aphrodisiacs: Fact or Fiction?

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This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.
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