Woody Allen's late 1970s film Love and Death was eerily prophetic, if in name alone, about the Viagra dilemma. The drug enables many men to achieve an erection and regain lost sexual function, but it can also exact a stiff penalty from users. The Food and Drug Administration has reported dozens of deaths among Viagra users. This seems an unnecessarily severe side effect. Concerns about the drug have spurred interest in effective, natural aphrodisiacs without deleterious side effects. Responding to this interest, I set off for the Amazon rain forest in search of sex-enhancing plants. I traveled in the company of a Brazilian shaman named Bernie Peixoto, a man skilled in tribal wisdom and the use of plant medicines. There in the world's greatest jungle, we encountered two potent sex-boosting plants with a long history of safe use.
Our flight into Brazil put us into the Amazon city of Manaus, where we met with Antonio Matas, the most highly respected herbalist in that area. Antonio shared stories with us about his decades of healing work using rain-forest plants.
"What about catuaba and
muirapuama?" I inquired. "Are they really effective sex enhancers, or is
that just a myth?" He laughed at the question and spread his hands wide
open. "There is nothing that compares with catuaba and muirapuama
together. I can tell you, I have used these plants with hundreds of
people. The old become sexually young again. I have seen impotent men
who can have sex for the first time in years. Even healthy couples find
that these plants put extra fire in their sex life. These plants are
good for men and women."
I asked Antonio if he used these plants himself. He smiled again. "Sometimes. After all, I've been married to the same woman for 43 years."