FOR years Jamaican men have sworn by the aphrodisiac qualities of herbs such as spirulina, sarsaparilla and medina.
In fact, two popular local artistes — Chronixx and Vybz Kartel — have penned lyrics about the virtues of spirulina and other concoctions like Supligen mixed with oats, nuts and nutmeg to improve a man's stamina and virility.
But do these plants and potions live up to their reputation?
Nutritionist and fitness expert Donovan Grant says a lot of these claims are mere speculation, but he can see how some plants and herbs are considered to have these qualities.
“Spirulina is one of the most nutritive foods. The protein content is high and the vitamin content is high. The antioxidants in this plant boost energy and make you feel invigorated. It helps to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. It also helps with blood flow, and sex is a function of blood flow. It also removes anxiety and depression which may prevent most men from functioning properly,” Grant said.
Of note, he said spirulina contains vitamin E — an important element in the production of testosterone, which plays an essential role in the sex drive of both men and women.
“It helps with endurance. The high protein content also helps in the development of muscles. It is a good blood builder which allows a good supply of oxygen to be carried around the body. The fact that it is green means that it contains chlorophyll, which is good for detoxing,” Grant added.
According to Grant, other plants with aphrodisiac qualities include medina, sarsaparilla, donkey weed and strong back. He also pointed out that Irish moss and Supligen mixed with oats and other ingredients have been touted as a good stamina supplement.
Grant said that diet plays an important role in the sex function of individuals and their ability to reproduce.
“Diet can affect one's sperm count. If you put on weight in the abdominal region your cholesterol goes up and you may develop diabetes, which can cause impotence. Also, being overweight will reduce your energy level, and this will affect your performance. So will stress,” he explained.
Grant added that a man's lifestyle also plays a role, and even if he's not overweight, he should ensure that he is getting adequate exercise.
“If you are not exercising to build your endurance and energy, it will also affect your manliness,” he said.