The word aphrodisiac is derived from ‘Aphrodite’, the Greek goddess of love, beauty and sexuality, and aphrodisiacs are the substances which stimulate sexual desire. The possibility of bioactive aphrodisiacs which may be derived from plants, animals or minerals, bas been attractive throughout recorded history. Punica granatum has been a symbol of love, fertiligy and immorality in oriental regions. The yohimbine rich bark of Corynanthe yohimbe, has been employed for centuries as an aphrodisiac whilst Chelidonium majus, Heracleum sphondylium and Satureja montana have been formulated into topical preparations by the European community for vaginal douches to increase sexual desire in women. Similarly, Hindu medicine still claims Aristolochia indica, Crocus sativus, Alpinia galanga and Allium cepa as potent aphrodisiacs.
In Malaysia, Eurycoma longifolia Jack commonly known as Tongkat Ali, is well-known among various ethnic groups in Malaysia for treating disease and enhancing health and as such, it is sometimes referred to as 'Malaysian ginseng'. Besides this, it has also gained reputation as male aphrodisiac since it is claimed to increase virility and sexual prowess when it is taken as a decoction of roots in water. Over the years, pharmacological evaluations of this plant showed that it exhibited antimalarial, cytotoxic, antiulcer and antipyretic activities.
ln this paper, we investigated the effects of different fractions of E. longifolia roots on sexual qualities in middle aged male rats using an electrical copulation cage after treating them and were observed for 12 consecutive weeks.