[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
January 3, 1986

Aphrodisiacs: The Science and the Myth

JAMA. 1986;255(1):98-99. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370010108037

From the Department of Pharmacology of England's University of Bristol comes this scientific, smallprint, 276-page, nonsensational review of the ever-interesting topic of aphrodisiacs.

A delightful appendix lists animal, vegetable, and mineral substances regarded through the centuries as capable of arousing sexual desire and assisting potency: almonds, anchovy, ants, apples, beans, beef, blood, camel bone, carrots, castor oil, celery, champagne, chocolate, cinnamon, frog's legs, lizards, lobsters, mussels, mustard, vanilla, vitamins, yeast, yogurt, and yohimbine are but a few on the long and ancient list, plus, of course, alcohol of every variety. Surprisingly, shark fins and elephant hooves, so popular in the Far East and Africa, were omitted, while rhinoceros horn is discussed in the body of the book but is not on the list. There is no sensationalism, but rather a scholarly approach, a readable concise style, and a chapter-by-chapter review of the literature with a bibliography for each segment.