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Stiff drinks lift male spirits

By: Nguy Ha Posted: August-23-2009 in
Snake wine
Nguy Ha

“This transforms an 80-year-old man into an 18-year-old boy. When a husband drinks it, his wife will absolutely worship him. After drinking one small cup, you can have sex for a whole night without rest.” Hoa, a seller of medicinal wine shop says.

Both men and women prick their ears up to listen to conversations with friends or vendors of ‘medicinal’ wines. All men want to be heroes in bed, and the effects promised by these home-brewed herb or animal based wines offer some two million Vietnamese men suffering from erectile dysfunction hope, according to the country’s leading urologist, professor Tran Quan Anh.

Some local men who suffer poor sexual health believe that medicines such as Viagra are somewhat expensive, short-lasting in their affects, inconvenient to use, and prone to certain side-effects, while others feel embarrassed if people know that they have to resort to the medical help. So many Vietnamese men rely instead on drinking alcohol containing the juices or sex organs of sexually active animals and medicinal plants which are widely believed to be capable of enhancing people’s stamina, especially men’s sexual health.

The most common ingredients used in these traditional medicinal drinks are the sex organs or whole bodies of seahorses, geckos, snakes, scorpions, and the click beetle (characterised by the ability to right itself from an overturned position by flipping into the air with a clicking sound) and its not uncommon to find goat’s testicles and fetuses or tiger’s penis in the brews. Less commonly used are bird legs and monkey placenta.

The true connoisseurs believe that eating or drinking certain parts of animals make their own parts stronger. Having two penises between its thigh and tail, a gecko finds it easy to copulate either on left side or right side. Goat testicles are much favoured, as a male goat often copulates with dozens of female goats.

While the sexual health-enhancing features of few animals, including seahorses have been confirmed by Oriental physicians, scientific evidence is lacking when it comes to other animals. However, many local men are convinced of the benefits of the slow but long-lasting effect of their alcoholic panacea. “Click beetles are very hard. From the ground, they can flip up to one metre into the air. Birds’ legs are small but very hard, too. What do men and their wives like, hardness or softness?” smiles Nguyen Quang Chuc, former vice director of a leading construction firm in Vietnam.

Fuelled by the belief, many restaurants, taverns and bia hoi (Vietnamese draught beer) shops nationwide sell medicinal wines. In Hanoi, they include Ham Pho at Le Duan Street, Que Minh at Phung Hung Street, Minh Quan Tuu at Tran Vu Street, Song Cau at Ngoc Khanh Street, and Chieu Que at Hang Chieu Street. Their prices range from 20,000 VND to millions of VND (1 dollar = 16,600 VND) a bottle depending on the alcohol’s animal ingredients.

The popularity of the medicinal wines means there are street vendors who sell animals and their parts to those who are involved in home-brewing. “We sell click beetles at 5,000 VND, geckos for 65,000 VND, a fresh tiger penis costs six million VND, while a one kilo live cobra costs two million dong. Tiger penises or bear paws are higher because they are very rare. We mostly buy them from residents of areas bordering Cambodia,” says a street vendor, calling himself Canh.

Besides animals, Vietnamese people soak medicinal plants such as dam duong hoac (Epimedium macranthun Mooren et Decne) and ba kich (Morinda offcinalis How) in alcohol. Many follow the recipe Minh Mang Thang (an alcoholic prescription of the Nguyen Dynasty’s King Minh Mang who had a total of 142 children). The king was believed to having had sex with six wives on one night, of whom five became pregnant.

The real effect of the various brews is known only by drinkers. Many Vietnamese men still use them because of the psychological benefits. When visiting the central province of Phu Yen, a Hanoian academic bought home a jar of seahorse alcohol. He merrily showed off the alcohol, bragging about its effectiveness. His guests praised the alcohol profusely. After finishing the bottle, he had a more careful examination of the seahorses only to realize that they were made from plastic.

Hai, who used to own a medicinal wine shop in Hanoi, revealed “Many just buy herbals sold at traditional medicine shops at Lan Ong and Thuoc Bac streets, put them in alcohol, create curious names and sell them extortionate prices. Some restaurants even add a small amount of Viagra into their alcohol.”

Professor Duong Trong Hieu at the Central Traditional Medicine Hospital says: “We can’t deny the effect of traditional medicines on human health. However, we have to use them carefully. Seahorse, ba kich, and dam duong hoac have a good effect on men’s sexual strength. However, young and healthy men shouldn’t use them. Regarding erectile dysfunction sufferers, they should see a doctor for careful examination and specific prescription because alcohol isn’t good for everyone. In addition, ingredients such as tiger penis, click beetle and bird legs have never been analysed and there’s no evidence that they have any affect on sexual health”.

Read more articles by Nguy Ha


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