A recent scientific review reports that saffron, along with certain types of ginseng has claimed the top of the list when it comes to natural aphrodisiacs. Massimo Marcone, a food science professor at the University of Guelph, conducted the review with the assistance of John Melnyk, a master’s student. One of the objectives of the study was to try to identify natural alternatives to synthetic drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction.
While saffron, a spice common to Mediterranean dishes, and panax ginseng, a variety from Asia, led the list, chocolate failed to show any real results in increasing arousal. Marcone believes that what many people report as aphrodisiac qualities is actually only an increase in serotonin and endorphin levels. Other items that showed positive results were muira puama, a flowering plant found in Brazil, yohimbine, a natural chemical from yohimbe trees in West Africa, and maca root, a mustard plant in the Andes.
Alcohol was found to promote sexual activity, mainly through its ability to lower inhabitions, but only in small quantities. Once larger quantities are consumed, it starts to become more difficult for males to get aroused.
The study is available online now, and it will be published in the near future in the journal Food Research International.