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African pepper raises testosterone level

Extracts of the West African pepper scientific name Piper guineense increase the production of testosterone, researchers at the University of Yaounde discovered from tests on rats. The researchers wanted to know how Piper guineense stimulates the libido. Traditional healers in West Africa have used the pepper - picture below - as an aphrodisiac for centuries.

Piper guineense
The researchers dried the fruit of the Piper guineense plants, ground it and mixed it with water. They then introduced the filtered extract into the stomach of three-month-old male rats via a tube. For a period of eight days the rats were given a daily dose of 122 or 245 mg extract per kg bodyweight. Healers give people with low libido one or two teaspoons of powder.

The table below shows what happened to the testosterone production after eight days of treatment.

African pepper raises testosterone level

The concentration of testosterone in the blood and in the testes rose. The components in Piper guineense speeded up the manufacture of steroid hormone from cholesterol in the testes.

What the figure doesn't show is that after eight days the concentration of alpha-glucosidase had risen. This was probably due to the increased testosterone concentration.

The rise in the testosterone level was sufficient to increase the bodyweight of the rats. The table below shows the animals' rise in body weight after eight and fifty-five days.

African pepper raises testosterone level

The course of Piper guineense also had side effects. After fifty-five days the testes and seminal vesicles were heavier and the concentration of alpha-glucosidase had decreased. The fertility of the rats decreased by twenty percent. On the other hand, there were no androgen effects: the rats' prostates did not become heavier.

Indian Journal of Pharmacology 2005 37(1):30-2.