Background: Cyperus esculentus tubers (tiger nut) are one of the ancient food sources known to humanity. It is traditionally used in the Middle East to stimulate sexual arousal in men. However, there has been no scientific evidence about its assumed aphrodisiac properties. This study aimed to investigate the influence of tiger nut on the copulatory behavior of sexually active male rats.
Methods: Two sets of sexually active male rats -highly active and moderately active- were identified depending on baseline sexual activity. Rats in each set were randomly divided into a control and treated groups. Highly active rats were treated with doses of 1 and 2 g/kg/d of raw tiger nut powder, while moderately active rats were treated with a dose of 2 g/kg/d. After 30 days' treatment, copulatory behavior and serum hormonal levels were measured and compared between the groups within each experimental set. Phytochemical analyses including liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry and atomic absorption were performed to elucidate the main constituents of tiger nut that may be responsible for altering serum hormones.
Results: Tiger nut stimulated sexual motivation in both highly and moderately active rats, indicated by reduced mount and intromission latencies in these rats compared to controls. Furthermore, tiger nut improved sexual performance, indicated by increased intromission frequency and ratio, in treated moderately active rats compared to controls. Serum testosterone levels increased significantly after tiger nut administration. Lastly, phytochemical analyses revealed the presence of quercetin, vitamin C, vitamin E, and mineral zinc in tiger nut.
Conclusions: Tiger nut has positive effects on the copulatory behavior of adult male rats.