Wednesday, 24 January 2018
Aphrodisiacs: Are we safe?

Aphrodisiacs: Are we safe?

By Cecilia DIESOB & Deborah APETORGBOR, GNA 

GROWING up, many of us have participated in discussions relating to sex. Besides stressing on abstinence, many adults reminded their adolescent girls of the moral and religious obligations with regards to sex.

Unfortunately, peer pressure and curiosity has led many of our youth to participate in sexual acts and the worrying trend in this regard is the use of aphrodisiacs - ‘local’ or traditional aphrodisiacs.

Based on a cursory observation, such aphrodisiacs are not only patronised by the youth alone but the elderly as well as some quite educated people. And in researching for this feature, we heard of some strange and, sometimes unbelievable, things some men and women use to enhance their sexual satisfaction.

It is our hope that the Food and Drugs Authority would pay particular attention to such products and dealers of sexual enhancement products to ensure that they are safe for the innocent consumer.


Who is new to the city and has not heard of herbal doctors and their loud speakers mounted on their vans claiming their herbal remedies can cure all sorts of health conditions?

Many of these same “so-called herbal doctors” also seek to claim that piles or ‘kooko’ is often the main cause of many illnesses, including sexual weaknesses or inactivity.

And many in the society do fall for such claims though such herbal doctors can hardly prove the potency of their herbal remedies.

They forget that “sexual weakness, erectile dysfunction or other related problems could be as a result of stress, tension and other psychologically-related causes”.

Who is to blame for the prevalence of such activities? You could easily point the finger at the innocent consumer, who should have known better, or the Food and Drug Authorities whose ambit such herbal doctors fall within; but we hardly blame the media for facilitating the propagation of such untruths.

It is a general belief that so long as the herbal doctor can afford the airtime, they are often given the chance to air the potency of their products and the undeniable effect of such media pronouncements often leads many to patronise such products even though they may not have been approved by the Food and Drugs Authority.


In our society, it is often seen as a disgrace for a man to be identified with sexual weakness. It is, therefore, not surprising that sexual exuberance is of great importance to many men.

And many men (and some women), feeling insecure in bed, patronise the aphrodisiac products of such herbal doctors in the society.

By a cursory investigation into the issue, we realised that aphrodisiacs come in two forms. Some, like Viagra, have been approved by the Food and Drugs Authority and are sold in pharmacies and then there are several unapproved ones being sold in the society.

The unapproved products on the market are endless and this is besides their vulgar and sexually explicit packages.

They usually range from pills, ointments and syrups, and are purported to stimulate and sustain sexual desire, improve libido, and stamina. Inscriptions on some of their packages, include: ‘Black Cobra’, ‘Bigman’ and ‘Sexmen’.

Dealers of such products are very cautious and often decline to speak about their products to inquisitive buyers yet they readily available on the market.

Then amongst the local or traditional herbal dealers one hears of ‘Kraman Koti’, ‘Damram’, ‘Waist and Power’ and ‘Toffee’.

Madam Yaa Boatemaa, a middle-aged dealer in local aphrodisiacs, said her patrons are usually young male adults and occasionally a few females who come in for the ‘Toffee’, a sexual arousal pill for ladies.

She describes her products, as roots and barks, with very potent remedies for various sexual concerns.

Side effects

There are side effects on virtually all scientifically-approved medicines. Hence, the supervision and care in administering them. But even more alarming is the fact that because the local aphrodisiacs are often unapproved, the extent of their side effects remains unknown.

But we have heard of cases in the media where some youth report to hospitals with complaints of priapism-prolonged erection, dizziness, headaches and other concerns after consuming unspecified sexual enhancement products.

In July 2015, a Food and Drugs Authority statement banning some herbal aphrodisiac products, said many of the products contained a substance called “vardenafil” and other synthetic pharmaceutical ingredients used for the formulation of prescription-only medicines for the treatment of erectile dysfunction”.

Consequently, this has been known to cause cerebro-vascular hemorrhage or bleeding in the brain.

In effect, this could lead to stroke, heart attack, palpitation and serious cardio-vascular concerns including cardiac arrest.

There is also the claim that such unapproved drugs could lead to sustained erection, resulting later in impotence, kidney failures and problems with hearing and sight. Thus the best thing for one to do with sexual-related concerns is to visit a doctor.

And when going for any unapproved drug, always think of its consequences regardless of the present need.

Much as we would appeal to the individual to be mindful of any sexual enhancement product or aphrodisiac, we would also call on the Food and Drug Authority to regularly educate the public on its activities and update society on products - whether approved or not.


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