(Newsweek) Botanists are raising the alarm about a common lichen being used as an alternative to Viagra.
Xanthoparmelia scabrosa, a type of lichen that grows in New Zealand and the Pacific, naturally produces PDE5 inhibitors, which block an enzyme that constricts blood flow. PDE5 inhibitors are also used in erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, which work to increase blood flow to the penis.
The fungus "contains a chemical somewhat analogous to Viagra—and somewhat toxic," lichenologist Allison Knight, who coined the phrase "sexy pavement lichen" to refer to the species, told Newsroom. "I always say in my talks that I don't recommend going out and licking the
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