teach me to heal myself


Aphrodisiacs and Spanish fly

Reference #: 366
Submit Date: 25 Dec 2002
Browse Category: aphrodisiac
Author: none
Email Address: none
Treatment used: spanish fly and cantharidin
You can buy this remedy at: health food store
Remedy will cost you: unknown
Country of Remedy: norther europe
Remedy Source: Johan's Guide to Aphrodisiacs
More Links about this Remedy: http://www.santesson.com/aphrodis/aphrhome.htm
# Comments posted to this remedy: 0
Complaints Reported: 0
# of times remedy read: 9,991

Dosage Info:
Typical Dosage: unknown
Dosage should be related to weight: unknown
Dosages used in clinical trials are significant: unknown
Maximum dosages in relation to side effects and serious side effects: unknown
Other foods/nutrients/medications that can affect absorption or utilization: unknown
Foods that provide the nutrient recommended as a remedy (or reference giving same): unknown

Total # reviewers: 0
Average Rating: 0.00
Effectiveness: 0.00
No Side Effects: 0.00
Ease of Use: 0.00
Effective after long term use: 0.00
Cost Effectiveness: 0.00

Browse: aphrodisiac

Remedy Description

The Spanish fly is the emerald-green blister beetle, in Latin Cantharis

vesicatoria or Lytta vesicatoria which is found in the southern parts of

Europe. The body is usually 15-22 mm long and 5-8 mm wide with a strong

smell and a burning taste. The dried and crushed body of the beetle was

earlier used medically as a irritant and diuretic, but was also regarded

as a potent aphrodisiac, especially for elderly gentlemen.

The earliest descriptions of its use as a medicine dates back to

antiquity. The drug is mentioned by, e.g. Hippocrates, Celsus and Pliny.

The Roman empress Livia (58 B.C. - A.D. 29) purportedly slipped it into

the food of other members of the imperial family to stimulate them into

committing sexual indiscretions that could later be used against them.

(Livia was originally the wife of Tiberius Claudius Nero but was given by

him to Octavianus, later known as Emperor Augustus, as a part of a

reconciliation agreement.)

During the medieval age, however, Spanish fly was almost forgotten.

Even today, the legend of Spanish fly as a powerful aphrodisiac persists.

Urban folklore sometimes gives it a prominent role.

The latin name of the beetle derives from the Greek word lytta, meaning

rage, and the Latin word vesica, meaning blister. This points to the main

effects of poisonous doses: internally mental illness and externally a

vesicant action.

The beetle, which thrives on plants of the families Oleaceae and

Caprifoliaceae, contains 0.5-1 % of the active ingredient cantharidin.

This chemical is sparingly soluble in water and most polar organic

solvents but dissolves in oils.

A beautiful synthesis has been described by W.G. Dauben in J. Am. Chem.

Soc. 102, 6893 (1980).

An African Variety

In Zimbabwe, traditional healers sell "vuka-vuka" ("vuka" means "wake

up!"), which consists of dried beetles of the genus Myalabris. As in the

blister beetle, the active component is cantharidin. The strongest variety

offered in Harare's Mbare market is called "Squirrel's jump", possibly

because squirrels are believed to be very romantic animals.


It must be handled with extreme care. It is highly toxic by ingestion, but

can also be taken up through skin and mucous membranes. The poisoning is

called cantharidism and can consist of severe gastrointestinal

disturbances and nephritis. Collapse occurs in severe cases and death

might follow. For references, please consult the literature list.

A consumption of 1.6 grammes of pulverised beetles led to death after 26

hours. Ten milligrammes of pure cantharidin resulted in a fatality,

whereas a poisoning by 1.3 milligrammes did not.

Cantharidin is excreted by the kidney and will, during excretion, irritate

the entire urinary tract. The irritation of the urethra will increase the

blood flow to this region and might result in priapism. It is likely that

the priapism is the origin of the use of Spanish fly as an aphrodisiac.

In 1772 the infamous Marquis de Sade doctored some aniseed sweets with

Spanish fly and offered this to some prostitutes who took part in a

flogging orgy. However, there was no aphrodisiac effect but, instead, the

girls became very ill, so ill that the Marquis was brought to trial for


A more sensible use for catharidin is for the removal of digital warts.

For this purpose a 0.7 % solution in equal parts of acetone and collodion

can be applied.

link to urban legends about spanish-fly




is a persistent abnormal erection of the penis. It is usually a quite

painful condition, not associated with any sexual desire. The name is

derived from Priapus, the Greek god of male procreative power

This remedy can also be used for: