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Background: Any substance that increases erectile function, sexual performance and enjoyment is considered an aphrodisiac. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of food plants Mondia whitei, Chenopodium album, Cucurbita pepo and Sclerocarya birrea extracts at a fixed dose of 200mg/kg body weight on sexual behavior, sperm parameters and testosterone levels in adult male rats. These are food plants also traditionally used as aphrodisiacs in South Africa, Zimbabwe and other parts of Africa.
Materials and methods: Sexual behavior parameters assessed in this study included an arousal component (mount latency and intromission latency); sexual potency (mount frequency and intromission frequency), erection (copulatory efficiency) and ejaculations. All treatments were administered orally daily for 28 days. Sexual behavior parameters were quantified 2 hours after a single dose, at 14 days and at 28 days of treatment.
Results: The order of efficacy in stimulating sexual behavior in male rats was M. whitei >S. birrea > C. pepo ≥ C. album. Although there was no change in number of ejaculations and sperm count (P>0.05) for all treatment groups compared to controls, all treatments increased (P<0.05) sperm motility. M. whitei and C. pepo treatments resulted in increased (P<0.05) serum testosterone levels.
Conclusion: Therefore, this study demonstrates varying aphrodisiac activities of food plants used traditionally as aphrodisiacs.
Key words: sexual behavior, aphrodisiac, sperm motility, S. birrea, C. pepo, C. album