(NaturalNews) (NaturalNews) Drugs for pumping up sex lives come with a long list of potentially bothersome and even dangerous side effects. But scientists from the University of Guelph have come up with evidence natural aphrodisiacs exist. In fact, if you want to spice up your sex life, try doing it literally -- with spices.
Specifically, ginseng and saffron added to the diet are proven sexual performance boosters, according to the researchers' new scientific review of hundreds of studies of natural aphrodisiacs. Yohimbine, a natural chemical from yohimbe trees in West Africa, was also found to improve human sexual function.
People reported increased sexual desire after eating muira puama, a flowering plant found in Brazil, and maca root, a mustard plant grown in the Andes, too. Despite its purported aphrodisiac effect, chocolate was not found to spark sexual arousal or satisfaction, the study concluded. Alcohol does increase sexual arousal but it puts a damper on sexual performance.
These findings of the study, conducted by Massimo Marcone, a professor in Guelph's Department of Food Science, and master's student John Melnyk, are slated for publication in Food Research International and were recently published in the online version of that journal.
"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 in a statement to the media. "Ours is the most thorough scientific review to date. Nothing has been done on this level of detail before now."
Melnyk pointed out that finding natural substances that enhance sex is important because of the potential harm of drugs used for conditions such as erectile dysfunction (also known as impotence). Big Pharma's popular sildenafil (commonly sold as Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis) can produce headache, muscle pain and blurred vision, and can result in dangerous interactions with other medications, the researchers pointed out.
"They also do not increase libido, so it doesn't help people experiencing low sex drive," Melnyk said in the press statement.
Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA's "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine's "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic's "Men's Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.