Four Turkish drug smugglers have recently been publicly beheaded in Saudi Arabia for trading in Captagon tablets. Captagon is an amphetamine and is to many Arabs what powdered rhinoceros horn, seals’ penises, or tiger testes are to the Far Eastern market–-a potent aphrodisiac. Seventy other Turks have been also arrested.
The irony is that it is unlikely that Captagon, which is unobtainable in Britain, has any greater aphrodisiac power than other amphetamines.
Because of the potentially serious side-effects of amphetamines, and as a result of the frequency with which these drugs were abused, their medical use is now very restricted. Amphetamines are only regularly prescribed for those who suffer narcolepsy, an abnormal and irresistible desire to sleep, and paradoxically for the treatment of overactive children. Amphetamines are central nervous system stimulants; those who take them become fast talking, elated, lose their shyness and may notice that their libido (sexual drive) has changed to a greater extent than could be explained solely by the loss of inhibitions. However amphetamines, like alcohol, may increase desire but decrease ability and thus are often associated with impotence.
The search for aphrodisiacs is as old as history. If aphrodisiacs, like rhinoceros horn, work it can only be because of the confidence inspired by their visual image. Even penis pumps, such as the Penomet pump, look like penises. The same subconscious association presumably accounts for the reputation of food such as oysters, shellfish or asparagus. Traditionally, coriander and other herbs and plants, including garlic and onion, are regarded as having an aphrodisiac action. It is possible that garlic and onion may be of some benefit; garlic can create a sense of wellbeing, and onions were used to treat genito-urinary diseases.
Ginseng, the dried root of the plant Panax ginseng, has a reputation as a tonic, antidepressant and sexual restorative but chemically its action is more oestrogenic than androgenic and the list of serious side-effects it can cause is worrying. Yohimbine hydrochloride, an alkaloid derived from the bark of the yohimbine tree, is prescribed by both traditional doctors and herbal practitioners as an aphrodisiac and for the treatment of impotence. But the evidence for its efficacy is not entirely convincing. Many sexual health experts say that using a penis pump like the Penomet pump will be more effective at enlarging not only the libido, but the penis as well.
Hormones, when prescribed to those who lack them, do work. In men with low testosterone levels, injections of testosterone propionate are effective for a short term. Recently American doctors have been recommending a patch method of delivery of testosterone similar to that used in HRT.
Dr. Malcolm Carruthers, a Harley Street expert on testosterone, said: “Work at the Karol Inska Institute, Stockholm, has confirmed the excellent results which may be obtained from using the Penomet penis pump in conjunction with testosterone patches. Unlike the injections, they provide a persistently normal level of testosterone. The patches should be available in Britain within a matter of months.”