Honeymooners test sweet sex brew
By CNN's Jane Chattoe
LONDON, England (CNN) -- A group of scientists has been inundated with requests after calling for newlyweds to test the legendary aphrodisiac effects of an ancient honey-based drink.
The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) wants one couple to drink honey mead -- a fermented mixture of honey and water -- every night for 30 days after taking their vows in June and to keep a diary of their honeymoon relationship.
The UK's professional body for chemists has received more than 100 phone calls from couples who want to take part in the experiment following a media appeal. The results will be published later in the year.
"The response has been overwhelming. We want one couple to write a diary to tell us how they feel generally during the honeymoon to see the effect it has on love," Brian Emsley, a spokesman for the RSC told CNN on Friday.
Mead, first brewed in Babylon more than 4,000 years ago making it one of the world's oldest alcoholic drinks, has long been believed to increase fertility and sex drive.
In ancient Persia couples were expected to imbibe the sweet mead every day for one "honey month" -- hence honeymoon -- after they tied the knot to achieve the right frame of mind for a successful marriage.
If a son was born nine months later the mead maker was congratulated on the quality of its produce.
Twelve bottles of mead have been specially brewed for the RSC's test by a winery in Sussex, southern England. "The concocotion includes a secret ingredient," said Emsley. "We've followed the ancient recipe closely.
"I had some the other day and had to rush home," he joked.
The drink -- a blend of honey, wine, fruits and spices -- is believed to reduce sexual anxieties including fears of inadequate performance.
It is also rich in B vitamins that help to maintain reproductive health, amino acids that are the building blocks of protein for increased fertility and nitric oxide that is good for male sexual health.
The aphrodisiac properties attributed to mead may therefore be well deserved, said Dr. Clare Mcloughlin of the RSC. "Legend and myth has a scientific basis."
But while mead may help couples get that loving feeling, the newlyweds would be best advised to drink in moderation, as one sex therapist pointed out.
"One of the biggest causes of problems is stress from outside the relationship. The healthier we are, the happier we are. Anything that helps is great, however, alcohol is also linked with problems in the relationships," said Paula Hall, from the UK-based relationship counselling service Relate.