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Spanish Fly: How Much Do You Know?

In the 18th century, an army doctor from France got his hands on what can be best described as the queerest case of his professional career.

Here’s the story: some soldiers came for a consultation and there they complained of abdominal pain, general body weakness, and aggressively persistent erections.

Most people would think that’s a good thing: being “hard” for an unusual amount of time. NO, IT IS NOT!

There’s a medical condition called priapism, which is defined as “when the male organ is persistently and abnormally erect for unusual amounts of time”.

Which is exactly what happened to these soldiers. But, what caused (or more appropriately, triggered) the hard-ons?

Wait for it.

The problem was that, these soldiers used a Viagra overdose which triggered the persistent hard-ons (pun intended, please).

On a more serious note, the reason was because the soldiers had been eating frogs from a nearby stream and funny enough, the frogs had been eating an insect that had attained “legend” status in the family of insects: the Spanish fly.

I’m fairly sure that, by now you’re probably wondering, “how does all this frog eating and spanish fly anecdotes relate?”

I’ll make it clear as day, I promise you that.

The frog wasn’t the cause. The stream wasn’t the cause.
The culprit was the Spanish fly which the frog ate (talk about one frog’s food being another man’s poison).

Although we’ve identified the root cause of the problem, the question remains, “what was in this Spanish fly that caused all these symptoms?”

Spanish Fly: A Legend In Its Own Right

The Spanish fly is a legendary insect that has courted a lot of controversy over the years (let’s not digress, we’ll talk about this later) and has been employed by various people and countries of the world.

It’s not a fly (as many people think), neither is it found in Spain. In reality, the Spanish fly is a green colored insect belonging to the family of blister beetles, Meloidae, which 3000+ species.

The blister beetles are known for the active chemical Cantharidin, which through time has been used in history as an “aphrodisiac”.

The Cantharidin which is produced by the male Spanish fly, is used for protection from predators (too bad it didn’t work on the frogs). It’s also used during mating, where it is passed to the female Spanish fly to preserve the eggs.

Cantharidin As A Vesicant

So there’s this Spanish fly crawling across your neck. And you’re already reaching out to “splat!” it across your neck?

STOP NOW! Or you’re going to regret that later, believe me.

I mentioned earlier that Cantharidin is used by the Spanish fly for protection from predators — which frankly, you are. That’s right.

The Cantharidin produced by the Spanish fly helps to protect it because it is a vesicant, meaning that it causes blisters to form on the skin of placed in contact with it.

“Splat” that insect on your neck and watch your skin swell up and form blisters just like in a 3rd-degree burn.

In addition, it also affects the mucosa (translated: lining) of the internal organs, with large amounts posing great danger to the body.

The symptoms presented by the soldiers is only a few of numerous symptoms and conditions that come with wrong use of Cantharidin.

More often than not, death is usually inevitable.

That’s why it’s very important to be cautious about the things we do in the search for satisfaction.

That it’s good for the frog doesn’t mean it’s gonna be the same for you.