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Named after Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love and beauty, aphrodisiacs include food, drink, scents, herbs, chemical products, and other devices that increase the human libido. According to the tens of thousands of love potion peddlers, aphrodisiacs are the perfect way to achieve successful results of human lustful desires.

Oysters are probably one of the best known aphrodisiacs. There are also hundreds of other things revered for their aphrodisiac qualities, charms, and sexual arousal. Here are some examples:

1. Food: anchovies, licorice, lard, scallops, chilies, curries, chocolate, frog legs, monkey brains, sugarplums, ostrich delicacies, truffles, tomatoes, goat's eyes, cucumbers, asparagus spears, hazelnuts, strawberries and cream, and candied red rose petals
2. Drinks: alcohol, snake blood, aphrodisiac teas, and Pepsi
3. Scents: perfumes and colognes containing musk or chemical hormones
4. Herbs: countless herbs including ginseng, miura puama, bois bande, damiana, medieval herbs (periwinkle and henbane), mandrake, and catuaba
5. Chemical Products : adrenaline, Viagra, aphrodisiac roll-ons, and vitality and hormonal boost formulas
6. Others: Spanish Fly, reproductive organs of goats, beavers and rabbits, rhinoceros horn, yohimbe bark, deer sperm, essential oils (rosewood, cardamom, nutmeg, ylang ylang, and orange), crystals, flower essences, music, scrapings of a raccoon's inner ear, mysticism, eaglestones, betel nuts, green oats, and gemstones

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the reputed effects of so-called aphrodisiacs are based on superstitious folklore. No clinical studies have been done due to the potential health risks. Subsequently, ere is no proof.

The FDA considers all so-called aphrodisiacs to be ineffective and sometimes dangerous. For example, alcohol is a "social lubricant," a proven libido enhancer, and general depressant. Legendary Spanish Fly (cantherides) and dried beetle remains are poisonous, burn the mouth and throat, and can lead to infections and even death.

The promoters' findings are more disturbing. Aphrodisiac recipe authors market these products but warn against their ingredients' well-known side effects. Periwinkle, henbane, and eaglestones, for example, are very poisonous. Despite this, aphrodisiac promoters make millions but protect themselves legally by using responsibility disclaimers.

Aphrodisiacs date back at least 5,000 years, but modern communications have merely worsened the situation. However ignorance is no longer the problem. Human nature's instinctive desires have not changed and as a result exploitation is rife. Even the FDA's warnings against alleged fraudulent aphrodisiac claims cannot keep pace with the growing numbers flooding the market, especially the Internet. As long as human nature is left unchecked and allowed to run out of control the superstitious folklore surrounding aphrodisiacs will live on.