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Male sexual enhancers from the Peruvian Amazon

Ethnopharmacological relevance: Selected Peruvian Amazon plants are macerated into sugar cane distillates toprepare alcoholic beverages used to improve male sexual performance. The tree bark from Campsiandra angustifolia Spruce ex Benth (Fabaceae), Swartzia polyphylla DC (Fabaceae), Minquartia guianensis Aubl. (Olacaceae)and Thynantus panurensis (Bureau) Sandwith (Bignoniaceae) usually are used as crude drugs in mixtures ofseveral ingredients.

Aim of study: Describe the chemical composition of the most traded traditional male enhancer beverages, namely“Levántate Lazaro” and “Siete veces sin sacarla”, and their single crude drug constituents, as well as their inhibitory activity towards the enzyme phosphodiesterase-5. The presence of pro-sexual drugs such as Sildenafil®and derivatives was assessed in the samples.

Materials and methods: Single plant constituents and the preparation mixtures were purchased in the MercadoBelen (Iquitos, Peru). Chemical profiling was carried out by HPLC-DAD-ESI-MS/MS. The extracts were assessedfor phosphodiesterase-5 inhibition. The occurrence of pro-sexual drugs was determined by HPLC-DAD-ESI-MS/MS.

Results: Chemical profiling allowed the identification of condensed tannins as the main constituents of C. angustifolia and S. polyphylla, hydrolysable tannins for M. guianensis, and C-glycosides for T. panurensis. The traditional preparations showed similar composition compared to the crude drugs. At 200 µg/mL, the traditional preparation “Levántate Lázaro” and “Siete veces sin sacarla” inhibited the phosphodiesterase-5 by 49.88% and 27.90%, respectively. No adulterations with pro-sexual drugs were found in the samples. From the crude drugs,low effect was found for the extracts of S. polyphylla and T. panurensis and high activity for C. angustifolia which inhibited the enzyme by 89.37% and 81.32% at 200 and 100 µg/mL, respectively.

Conclusion: The traditional preparations used to improve sexual performance in the Peruvian Amazon showed activity as phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors. The most active ingredient of the traditional preparations was C.angustifolia, with some contribution from T. panurensis. These results encourage additional studies, includinganimal models to confirm the male enhancer effect of the preparations.