Since almost the dawn of time, people have bestowed sexual powers on various foods, plants, scents, drugs, and devices. Among the most legendary are oysters (they do contain lots of sperm-friendly zinc) and green M&M's, which has no basis in reality! Legendary is the use of Spanish fly or cantharides. Made from dried beetle remains, its reaction is linked to an irritation of the urogenital tract, causing sex organs to become engorged with blood during sexual excitement. But Spanish fly is also a poison that can burn the mouth and throat, lead to urinary infections and scarring, and sometimes death.
More recently, studies at Chicago's Smell and Taste Research Foundation found the smell of black licorice and doughnuts increased penile blood flow by 32%, while lavender and pumpkin pie boosted response to 40%. In women, vaginal blood flow was increased by smelling a combination of cucumbers and candy, while the smell of cherries, barbecue meat, and men’s colognes caused a decrease. Some researchers however, debate the integrity of these findings.
In animal studies a substance known as yohimbine, obtained from the bark of an African tree, had results that the FDA has called "promising." But the FDA maintains there is no conclusive evidence that this, or any aphrodisiac, works on people.