|Submit Date:||25 Dec 2002|
|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|
|# of times remedy read:||6,036|
|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|
|No Side Effects:||0.00|
|Ease of Use:||0.00|
|Effective after long term use:||0.00|
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
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
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