The science behind aphrodisiacs

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Durban - Rulers of the Aztecs drank potions made of cocoa nibs to raise their flags, the secret to King Solomon’s enduring prowess remains a mystery, while Shakespeare bemoaned how alcohol provoked the desire but killed the performance.

Suma Kassier, hotshot dietician and human nutritionist, launched UKZN’s national science week on Tuesday with her titillating presentation “Love Potion No 9: The Science Behind Edible Aphrodisiacs”.

She says champagne (especially the most expensive type drunk in glasses reputedly shaped around Marie Antoinette’s breasts), oysters, caviar and chocolate were rich in ingredients believed to arouse sexual desire. But only some of these items have a scientific basis for their supposed aphrodisiac qualities, while others are “all in the mind”.

“Oysters are rich in a concoction of vitamins which are a potent combination excellent for men’s reproductive health and endurance.

“Just remember, though, that you are actually eating a snail,” laughs Kassier.

“Montezuma, ruler of the Aztecs, drank ‘chocolatl’ made of cocoa nibs, vanilla, spices and honey before he spent ‘quality’ time with his numerous concubines. King Solomon’s diet, needed to keep 700 wives and 300 concubines satisfied, remains untold.

“I wish we knew what his secret food was,” says Kassier.

“Champagne is alcohol, of course, and relaxes inhibitions, but caviar is a bit of a myth. I think some women are turned on by caviar because it is so expensive. Chillies make you hot and all you want to do is throw your clothes off. Chocolate, however, does contain stimulants that can have the same effect on the brain as cannabis.”

Teasingly, though, she suggests perhaps it’s the size of the credit card that’s the big turn-on, not the expensive food.

“Rhino horn certainly does not help sexual prowess, nor does eating the penises of wild animals, as is commonly practised in some Asian countries. But you can’t believe how much they pay for those “willy” bits, so it must be the size of the credit card,” she laughs. - The Mercury

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