There seems to be something better than Viagra for erectile dysfunction – venom of wandering spider or banana spider (Phoneutria nigriventer) – as bite for this spider found in South America can cause hours of erections in men.
“The venom of the P. nigriventer spider is a very rich mixture of several molecules,” says Dr. Kenia Nunes, a physiologist at the Medical College of Georgia who is currently studying the odd side effect. “These molecules are called toxins, and then we have various toxins in this venom with different activity. Because of this, when a human is bitten by this spider, we can observe many different symptoms including priapism, a condition in which the penis is continually erect.”Source: bodyodd.msnbc.msn.com
The venom doesn’t only cause hours of erection but also can cause loss of muscle control, severe pain, difficulty breathing and, if not treated, death, due to oxygen deprivation. Though with an anti-venom, victim can be cured in a week.
“In Brazil, we have several reports of human accidents involving this spider and priapism as a symptom,” says Nunes, who recently published a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine on the spider venom and its potential use in treating ED. “So we started to investigate which part of the venom – which toxin – would be responsible for this symptom. We found the toxin responsible and performed experiments using hypertensive rats which have severe erectile dysfunction. The toxin was able to normalize the erectile function in these animals.”
After isolating the toxin (known as PnTx2-6), Nunes and her colleagues then studied the mechanism of action and found that the toxin acts in a different pathway as compared with other erectile dysfunction drugs, such as Viagra.
“This is good because we know that some patients don’t respond to the conventional therapy,” she says. “This could be an optional treatment for them.”
Wandering where to find this potent variety of spider? You can usually find it on banana plantations in the tropics but it has been recent reported to have been seen at a Whole Foods in Tulsa, Oklahoma and an IGA store in Russell, Manitoba and a biting reported in Somerset, England in 2005.
Any benefits for women? Nunes need to perform experiments, which she plans to do very soon. Any volunteers?