Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Aphrodisiac Myths

        Health | Sexuality

9
Spanish Fly
Being dead can really put a damper on your love life. © Tung-Tong/iStock/Thinkstock
Being dead can really put a damper on your love life. © Tung-Tong/iStock/Thinkstock

Type the phrase "Spanish fly aph..." — you don't even need to complete the word "aphrodisiac" — into Google. Lo and behold, you'll see suggestions such as "Spanish fly aphrodisiac does it work" and "Spanish fly aphrodisiac side effects" pop up. Since you're clearly curious, let's be clear: Spanish fly will not help your love life. In fact, Spanish fly is toxic.

The active ingredient in authentic Spanish fly is a chemical called cantharidin, which is made from blister beetles. Cantharidin is sometimes used as a topical treatment for warts, but it should never be ingested. That's because it's poisonous — as poisonous as cyanide. It comes with a long list of severe side effects if swallowed, including burning and irritation in the mouth and throughout the upper gastrointestinal tract, renal failure, bleeding, seizures, and sometimes painful and persistent erections.


More to Explore