No one really knows why the gleaming, metallic green beetle with the Latin name Cantharis vesicatoria ever came to be known as “Spanish fly”. It is assumed that the term goes back to the legendary hot-bloodedness of Spanish Latin lovers. At all events, the powered remains of the dried fly have the reputation of being able to drive sexual desire to the highest peaks.
The Spaniards usually call the aphrodisiac insect cantárida, but the term mosca de España is also known. Spanish fly contains the poison Cantharidin, and as far back as the Middle Ages the milled beetle powder had the reputation throughout Europe of also being an effective remedy against rheumatism. What is certain is that the substance stimulates the circulation of the blood, and it is this which led it to enjoy a real boom as an alleged aphrodisiac in the first half of the 20th century.
However, in the 1950s, the sale of Spanish fly was prohibited because more and more people were poisoning themselves by taking large doses, which serious consequences. Even a tiny amount (4 milligrams) of cantharidin is a fatal dose for human beings.
Spanish fly can still be obtained in minimal amounts as an ingredient in aphrodisiacs sold in sex shops. So, scatter it hopefully into the beloved’s soup – but remember, the actual effect remains seriously in dispute!!!