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Food scientist Massimo Marcone, Ph.D., from the University of Guelph in Canada tested the effectiveness of several food items reported to be natural aphrodisiacs and found that saffron, ginseng, wine and chocolate may all increase libido and function — even if it's all in the user's head.
While saffron and ginseng were both shown to have physiological effects, wine and chocolate helped participants get in the mood but did not affect function.
Researchers said they conducted the study in order to help people avoid prescription medications like Viagra or Cialis, which may come with harmful side effects such as headache and muscle pain. Additionally, these drugs only help with the physical aspect of arousal, and do not actually improve mood.
"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.
The team noted that remedies like Spanish fly and Bufo toad are not only ineffective, but may also be toxic.