Spanish Fly

If you have ever considered eating frogs legs to raise your libido, there is a story that might make you think again.

The admission by the French soldiers that they had been supplementing their food rationing with frogs, which helped the doctor to conduct research that would help him find if there was any link between Spanish fly and the frogs. This took him to the water edge where he found the frogs, busy devouring on the swarm of emerald-colored beetles. This was an instant lead even before further research that whichever element was inside the Spanish Fly must also be inside the frogs, which was driving the French troops crazy.[1]

Spanish Fly

Spanish fly is an ancient and legendary aphrodisiac. It was made from dead, crushed insect bodies, especially the Spanish fly, which is a type of beetles from the family, Meloidae. Today, Spanish Fly is widely known as the generic world for many kinds of aphrodisiacs. These substances usually contain plants and chemical constituents, which have already been used to raise testosterone such as Maca root, Tribulus Terrestris, Crocus sativus, Turnerra difussa.

For increasing libido, ambrein, a major constituent of Ambra grisea[2], is used in Arab countries. It contains tricyclic triterpene alcohol, which increases the concentration of several anterior pituitary hormones and serum testosterone.[3]

Spanish Fly is the bicyclic terpenoid

The scientist has found that the active ingredient found in Spanish Fly is the bicyclic terpenoid[4], commonly known as the cantharidin. It is usually a colorless solid when kept in room temperature, and its impacts on humans have been discovered long ago. You will notice that early physicians such as Hippocrates used round blister beetles as a prescription medicine for dropsy condition. In ancient China, round blister beetles were used for treating ulcers, piles, and rabies. This was used in ancient times, therefore, confirming whether the medicine worked is totally unclear. Something is totally clear that the Spanish Fly content of substances is a powerful substance. If a beetle blister lands on you and bites you, it instantly emits cantharidin drops that cause instant blisters, especially if it’s angry.

Cantharidin enters the skin and gets absorbed by the lipid layers. Thus, disrupting the natural formation of the transmembrane proteins that holds the cell together, causing lesions and blisters. From the 1950s, it has been used in treating molluscum contagiosum skin condition and warts also.[5] This is only prescribed under heavy restriction, and you are not supposed to go around, rubbing your skin with beetles. There are many products that tried to synthetize the effect of original Spanish fly, but many of them are considered as dangerous, e.g. Chao Jimengnan. The Food and Drug Administration is advising consumers not to purchase or use Chao Jimengnan, a product promoted for sexual enhancement on various websites.[6]

It is even more dangerous when you consume blister beetles. If this happens, cantharidin causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract where, if the dose is very high, it can tear the entire stomach lining. The kidneys try to remove the toxin elements from the blood, causing swelling to the urinary tract, which may appear to sexual arousal, but its something very far away and more dangerous than you may think. This means that swallowing 2 to 3 blister beetles might even kill you. You should know that Cantharidin is as toxic as strychnine and cyanide where the worst thing is that there is no antidote for it. It was used by the notorious French aristocrat, Marquis de Sade, who made prostitutes eat a box full of chocolate mixed with Spanish fly, and they luckily survived, but the notorious aristocrat was sentenced to death for attempting to murder the women.


National Center for Biotechnology Information and U.S. National Library of Medicine state that Cantharidin is natural toxin produced by the blistering beetle. It has both vesicant and keratolytic features by inducing acantholysis through targeting the desmosomal dense plaque, leading to detachment of the desmosomes from the tonofilaments. There are two available liquid preparations for dermatologic use, Canthacur (0.7% cantharidin) and Canthacur PS (1% cantharidin / 30% salicylic acid / 2% podophyllotoxin).[7]

The preparation in the past was used for the treatment of strongly expanded tubercle and molluscum contagiosum. Nowadays, it has been replaced by more sufficient cures and medicines. Even though old preparations provided painless applications with outcomes similar to modern treatments that we know today for warts and molluscum contagiosum. However, cantharidin preparation has never been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The reason why FDA never approved cantharidin as official treatment is due to its toxic effects, which include ulceration of the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts, along with an electrolyte and renal function disturbance in humans and animals. The mechanism of action, dermatologic indications, application techniques, and complications of cantharidin preparations are discussed.[8]



CASRN: 56-25-7
Reviewed by SRP on 9/14/2000



Cantharidin, among the blister beetles in nature, is considered as a love potion for beetles. Before finding a mating partner, the male beetle produces cantharidin from his knees, rolls it into a sticky crystal, and places it as a crystal on his head; then it goes out to seduce the female. If the female likes the smell of the crystal, she lets the male mount on her and takes the cantharidin as an offering and uses it to smear on her unhatched eggs. The cantharidin releases a noxious substance that protects the unhatched eggs from being eaten. The males of different beetle species such as the fire-colored beetles also use cantharidin to potential mates.

The only difference is that they do not make it by themselves but has to go to the forest to look for a dying blister beetle and lick the cantharidin. Something amazing is that not only beetles and humans need/use cantharidin, but the birds such as Nuthatches also makes its nest by digging holes on trees while grabbing the blister beetles and rubbing them against the entrance of their nests, which forms a repellant, as a result of cantharidin from the blister beetles. Thus, preventing squirrels from invading their homes.

Nowadays, the use of cantharidin consumption by human beings has widely reduced, but you can still find it online. Few cases of Spanish poisoning are occasionally reported in some areas of the world.

In comparison with the toxicity of former Spanish fly, which contains Cantharidin, there are many substances that use Spanish Fly name to reflect its former libido effect. Usually, these substances are made out of different aphrodisiacs, which lead to a stronger effect. Before a person decides to buy any kind of Spanish Fly substances, he/she should be aware of these details, especially if it contains dangerous cantharidin or if it is a newer version considered as a dietary supplement. To reach the best effect within your body, many people recommend trying many aphrodisiacs one by one to see which one is most suited for you. It is sometimes difficult to find what is considered as an aphrodisiac.

In TITLE 21, chapter 1, of FOOD AND DRUGS, FDA stated that: Any product that bears labeling claims that it will arouse or increase sexual desire, or that it will improve sexual performance, is an aphrodisiac drug product.[9]

US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health made an article where they described the strongest herbal aphrodisiacs known as of today, such as Mondia whitei, Chlorophytum borivilianum, Tribulus terrestris, Crocus sativus, Myristica fragrans, Phoenix dactylifera, Lepidium meyenii, Kaempferia parviflora, Eurycoma longifolia, Satureja khuzestanica, Panax ginseng, Pausinystalia yohimbe, Fadogia agrestis, Montanoa tomentosa, Terminalia catappa, Casimiroa edulis, and Turnera diffusa known as Damiana[10]. Table 1 shows all of them, including their past use. Article here.

National Institutes of Health also created a list of products that contains most used aphrodisiacs. These products are Spanish Fly Pro, Spanish Fly Love, Maxoderm, ExtenZe, VigRX Oil, Virillity Pills, ProEnhance.

In conclusion, we can say that herbal and natural dietary supplements are preferred by experts and consumers probably because of its effectiveness, few side effects, and relatively low cost.

Herbal Aphrodisiacs as spanish fly ingredient

Aphrodisiacs are used to promote a person’s sex drive, and generally boost their arousal. They can prove very useful even for patients or couples who may be struggling with their fertility. Before deciding which products to take, most people choose to visit their doctor and get a prescription for artificial drugs. These aphrodisiacs work well for many people, but some may have inhibitions about ingesting manufactured drugs.

The alternative is herbal solutions that have been proven to have an aphrodisiac effect, for both men and women. The herbs below have been used by communities all over the world for many generations, making them great natural aphrodisiacs for those looking to boost their sexual mood and performance. Many of these aphrodisiacs are used as Spanish fly ingredients, what makes Spanish fly one of the best enhancer products on the market.

Maca extract

This aphrodisiac is obtained from the root of the Maca plant, which is a perennial ground cover. The herb is gaining popularity as Spanish fly ingredient and a sexual performance-enhancing drug because of its ability to tweak one’s sexual desire. Maca extract has the advantage of being an all-natural product, and it can be used without requiring any processing or alterations. Also, it works for fertility as well, by boosting a man’s sperm count with every dosage.

Experts recommend taking 1500 mg[11] of the herb daily. Some people prefer maca extract because it works gradually, not as suddenly or immediately as other products as Spanish fly. This also means that it takes some time before beginning to wear off. That might sometimes be seen as a disadvantage for those who want a quick boost, but it also means that it has little or no side effects on the body.

L-arginine HCL

Arginine is an amino acid, one of the building blocks used to manufacture protein. It is found in foods such as meat, nuts, eggs, and even cheese. L-arginine HCL is the chemical extract of the amino acid, which is packaged as a supplement and sold in pharmacies. As an aphrodisiac, doctors recommend taking around 500 mg and 3000 mg daily, for as long as the effects are desired.[12] The amount is increased depending on how much stimulation a person’s body needs, and doctors usually advise on this. It works by increasing libido, thus making a couple desire to have sex more often.

The best thing about this root is the fact that it has a wide range of positive sexual effects, unlike most herbs which only work of one function in the body. For example, in Spanish fly it can be used to enhance arousal as well, making sex a good experience. However, L-arginine HCL can cause gastrointestinal discomfort if too much of it is used. That being said, as long as users keep their dosages within recommended limits, the aphrodisiac is very effective.


Caffeine is a stimulating compound found in food items such as coffee. Most of the population is no stranger to caffeine because multitudes of people around the world consume coffee daily as a way to boost their adrenaline and brain activity. As a herbal aphrodisiac, coffee boosts sexual activity by giving the body a lot of energy and stimulating blood flow.[13]

A cup of coffee daily should generate positive results, although coffee junkies might need to take more of it for the effects to start kicking in. The advantage is that caffeine as an aphrodisiac is readily available in almost every household, and the effects start to kick in within minutes.[14] However, taking too much of it can have the opposite effect, decreasing sexual drive. Here, moderation is key. As long as a person can stay within the limits, coffee is the perfect natural aphrodisiac and that is the reason why is it used widely in Spanish fly.

Panax ginseng

This herb is more popularly known as red ginseng. It is widely grown in Korea, where it has been used for centuries as a herbal medicine for the skin, the digestive system, as well as an aphrodisiac. One can buy the red ginseng root and cook it for eating. Unlike other supplements or stimulants, it does not need to be taken daily. It should be consumed when needed. Panax ginseng works by relaxing the muscles and improving blood flow during sex. The herb may have negative side effects if too much of it is used. For example, it can cause insomnia due to its stimulant properties. That being said, as Spanish fly ingredient it is great for enhancing sexual activity in an all-natural way.


Guarana is a climbing shrub with origins in South America. The extract is added to soft drinks and alcoholic drinks to act as a stimulant. It works by exciting the nerves, heightening the sexual experience. It can be taken while in a soft drink, making it enjoyable to consume. The guarana begins to take effect almost immediately, except if a person has cultivated a high tolerance for it. The con is that guarana does not have any effect on a person’s hormones, so it cannot be used effectively as a long-term stimulant. Even so, it is extremely easy to consume.

Tribulus Terrestris

This herb is also a herb that grows as a ground cover. Tribulus terrestris (TT) is a traditional herbal medicine used to enhance sexual activities.[15] It is best used as an aphrodisiac by women because it promotes sexual arousal. One should take around 750 mg daily, for about four months to improve overall sex drive. The herb is great because it affects many sexual functions, including desire, arousal, and performance. The drawback is that it can cause discomfort in the digestive tract if too much is taken. The herb works really well and with a wide scope.

Zinc gluconate

Zinc gluconate is a supplement containing zinc, a very important mineral for great sexual health. It should only be taken if the body has a zinc deficiency, otherwise, it will not have the desired effects. Zinc gluconate is taken daily as a tablet until zinc levels in the body are restored.


These herbal aphrodisiacs have been tried and tested for decades and even centuries, making them a safe and healthy option for those in need of better sex lives. The most important thing is always to take them in the recommended amounts and for the stated number of days to avoid any undesired side effects. The best herb for a person depends on their specific needs because all of them have different effects. Also, it is wisest to purchase them from reliable sources like well-known pharmacies, organic food markets, or from established company brands. This way, a customer can be sure that they are getting exactly what they want.


[1] G.F. KingVenoms as a platform for human drugs: translating toxins into therapeutics

Expert Opin Biol Ther, 11 (2011), pp. 1469-1484


[3] Sandroni P. Aphrodisiacs past and present: A historical review. Clin Auton Res. 2001;11:303–7.

[4] Article in Organic Geochemistry 7(3-4):231-238 · December 1984

[5] Wang HZ, Lee SW, Christ GJ. Comparative studies of the maxi-K (K (Ca)) channel in freshly isolated myocytes of human and rat corpora. Int J Impot Res. 2000;12:9–18.



[8] Grant, W.M. Toxicology of the Eye. 3rd ed. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, 1986., p. 174





[13] aphrodisiac-men

[14] El-Shimi MS, Awad HA, Abdelwahed MA, Mohamed MH, Khafagy SM, Saleh G. Enteral L-Arginine and Glutamine Supplementation for Prevention of NEC in Preterm Neonates. Int J Pediatr. 2015;2015:856091. doi: 10.1155/2015/856091. Epub 2015 Mar 12.

[15] Paice JA, Penn RD, Ryan WG. Altered sexual function and decreased testosterone in patients receiving intraspinal opioids. J Pain Symptom Manage. 1994;9(2):126–131. [PubMed]


About Author

TJ Gusman has all formal qualifications include a PhD from The University of Texas, USA. The PhD, entitled to structural changes of Aphrodisiacs compounds: A Case Study of aplicable aphrodisiacs and their influence on human body. These influences are not always deterministic. The study also showed use of aphrodisiacs in mixtures such as spanish fly drops.

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