Whole Foods has some silly products, and a salad bar that will make you fat, if you try hard enough. It also has an absolutely booming homeopathic drug department. We sent our fearless -- yet not-free-of-anxiety -- formerly-straight-edge correspondent to select 10 natural pills, elixirs, and drops with all sorts of claims to virility, energy, and the ever lusted-after “potency”. We wanted to see what would happen if he took them all in one night. And so he did. Here are the results.
1. African Black Soap
Supposed Effects: Anti-blemish, detoxifying, and healing
After a particularly irresponsible night drinking at least 300 Bud Light Limes, with extra limes, I woke feeling as though a blue whale had taken a dump on my chest, and smelled 100% the opposite of how James Franco looks.
I decided to "detox" my alcohol-saturated skin with Nubian Heritage Natural African Black Soap. I couldn't quite pinpoint the scent that was permeating the air, but I did notice my skin became softer and softer with each scrub. Despite its deep black color, the soap did not lather up to the mud-colored liquid that I was hoping for, so I did not get the chance to play out that scene from Predator where Arnold covers himself in mud.
Result: I found my skin to be soft like the underside of an armadillo, but I did not feel any less toxic than I did upon waking.
2. Sensual Lust and Passion Oil
Supposed Effects: “This exotic blend is arousing and seductive. It awakens desire and envelopes you in beauty.”
The funny thing about Kate’s Magik Sensual Lust and Passion is that it's really less of a liquid and more of a thick, yellow, oily goo. I covered my chest with the musky concoction and put the remnants through my hair. I didn’t feel arousing or sexually awakened, though I did feel myself enveloped in beauty.
Throughout the night, I kept smelling my hands and, whenever I’d touch my head, I’d rock a moderate semi. To be honest, I expected the oil to make women ovulate all over the dance floor. However, when I asked my best female friend to describe how I smelled, she sniffed and told me I smelled like Whole Foods’ hot bar.
Result: I’m pretty sure the only person aroused from the Lust and Passion Oil was myself, so... good thing I was pretty aroused.
3. Lobelia Inflata
Supposed Effects: Nausea from tobacco withdrawal
Knowing I was going to spend the night smashing whiskey sours into my talk-hole, I also knew that I’d inevitably feel the urge to light up a ciggie.
I took Lobelia Inflata to curb my nicotine addiction and keep me from getting bursts of tobacco-fueled, angsty rage. Apparently it’s long been used as a psychoactive drug in ancient religious and shamanic ceremonies. This particular pill conquers the nausea associated with nicotine withdrawal and, according to the Internet, acts as a bug repellent when burned. Because what’s even worse than nicotine withdrawal? Mosquitos.
Results: For the most part, I actually did not find myself craving a cigarette! I didn’t feel nauseous or anxious, and, when I saw my friend smoking, I only asked if I could smell his fingers a couple of times.
4. Bacopa Monieri Herb
Supposed Effects: Unparalleled potency
While funneling odd drugs into my body, I needed to ensure I could think clearly and -- best case scenario -- inflate my brain to the size of the Hindenburg. Aside from one study where this particular substance was found to reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer's in a lab rat, there actually wasn’t too much out there on the effects of Bacopa monieri.
I took a few droppers of the thick liquid straight into my mouth and waited for my brain to get super-creative. Soon I felt like I was at the end of a long hangover -- the kind of feeling where you’re super-introspective and can’t help but spew out pontifications about the type of person you’ve become. I felt myself grow deeply calm and content and every racing thought in my brain halted to a stop. Also, I ate some crackers shortly after I drank the Bacopa and the sound of my jaw crunching was, like, a thousand times amplified. They should market that on the side of the bottle.
Results: Call me crazy, but I think this stuff really works. I felt as though my thoughts were clearer than usual and I had the ability to see through time. Well, at least see into the past.
5. Male Sexual Vitality Tonic
Supposed Effects: Promotes healthy sexual function in men
Now that my brain was sufficiently enlarged and my hair smelled like a Kurt Vonnegut novel, I decided to up my sexy-game for my night out. This tonic contained a plethora of ingredients assured(-ish) to make my night chock full of mean boner jams: Asian ginseng root, sarsaparilla root, maca root, and cardamom.
I gave myself two droppers (twice the recommended dosage -- #yolo) and mixed it in with a modest glass of Tab. Now, call me crazy and blame the placebo effect, but I immediately felt something. It was as if my inner sexual demons were roused and hungry for attention. I felt like a crotchety old pervert and 12yr-old boy all at once. It made my heart pound and everything around me became amplified. I could smell greed and taste thoughts. I probably would have rubbed against the couch had I not been in a room full of people. Hey, at least I hadn’t had a cigarette yet.
Results: If you’re interested in having the sexual attraction of the scorpion jacket from Drive + 1998-era Zorro, I highly recommend this drug.
6. Maca Powder
Supposed Effects: Peruvians use it to increase energy, stamina, virility, and vitality
I always make it brazenly clear that I don’t take illicit substances. I’m not a drugs guy, I hate having fun, and all of Bret Easton Ellis’s books make me antsy. However, the idea of filling my nose with a powder that has been known to increase one’s sex drive was too good to pass up.
Maca is the Ryan Gosling of the plant world. It wakes you up, pumps you up, and makes you go: “Hello, world; I will bone you now.” My particular bottle recommended putting a small amount into a protein shake or cookie batter. However, I cut to the chase by hiding myself in a bathroom stall at NYC’s Beauty Bar and doing a little bump off my fist.
It felt like 1982, I assume. I was getting more and more energetic and light-headed from the combination of the sexual tonic, the Bacopa herb, and now the maca. It smelled like bread-farts and burned my nose. I kept noticing little waves of pleasure every time my package brushed up against a solid object.
Results: This makes your heart race like a son of a bitch, but legitimately turns you from a regular person into a vicious horn-dog.
7. Rescue Remedy
Supposed Effect: Natural stress relief
I went outside for some fresh air and decided it was time to ease my pounding herbal-drug-laden heart. The active ingredients of Rescue Remedy are essentially a cocktail of herbal sedatives, while the inactive ingredient is “27% alcohol.” Hence the reason people take this stuff to calm down. I took a couple droppers and it tasted pretty much identical to whiskey.
Unsurprisingly, it worked. I immediately felt my heart-rate drop and, still reeling from the powerful musk that was radiating from my hair, felt a sense of calm wash over my body. I remembered the vial of St. John’s Wort, a follow-up sedative, in my pocket and took it to chase my raging low.
Results: I highly recommend Rescue Remedy when you need to take the edge off. Though, any solution that’s 27% alcohol could have the same effect.
8. St. John's Wort
Supposed Effects: Anti-anxiety
If Rescue Remedy is Nicholas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas, St. John’s Wort is Nicholas Cage in Face/Off. It took a little bit longer to hit me, but the effects were definitely noticeable. I felt happy and sleepy, which was especially obvious as I slow danced in a corner to a mix of awful trance music spun by some loser DJ.
Results: This works extremely well. I recommend St. John’s Wort to anyone who’s stressed out or even really, really depressed. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Felipe Lopez.
9. Moon Drops
Supposed Effects: Sleep aid
Looming over my head the entire night was the knowledge that I had to prevent a hangover. I had a couple of preventative measures to ensure I woke up rested and happy. A couple heaping glasses of water, a bottle of Ibuprofen for the morning, and a good night’s sleep.
Then, I took Moon Drops. The box describes them as a “soothing, organic vanilla lozenge activated by a blend of homeopathic botanicals which act on the cause of sleeplessness -- from anxiety to stimulants -- without the worry of pharmaceuticals.” They’re essentially a way to get sleep without getting hooked on NyQuil or sleepwalking off your roof from Ambien. I took a couple to make sure my dosage was sufficient. They tasted like vanilla Tic-Tacs... Tic-Tacs actually probably would have done a better job, though.
Results: A large part of me believes Moon Drops are just repackaged Tic-Tacs.
Supposed Effects: Safe and effective for a better morning after
Before I took my PartySmart pill, I made sure to read the back of the package to make sure I wasn’t swallowing anything weird like whale pubes or puppy ears. Their disclaimer was actually a little bit worse:
“*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Caution: PartySmart will not prevent intoxication and is not intended to treat or prevent the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption.”
So this pill isn’t supposed to work, and thus, did not work. Needless to say, the next morning was as rough as my previous morning. I don’t blame my Whole Foods cocktail for my rager of a hangover.
Results: Useless. Though, maybe the kiddie pool-amount of alcohol drowned out the intended effects. The world may never know.
Overall thoughts on taking tons of natural health-type pills while partying all night:
I learned a lot about my body, my mind, and how easily I could arouse myself with my own scent. I also learned that Whole Foods will never replace the good ol’ fashioned pharmacy. Or the the good ol’ fashioned drug dealer. Hey, at least we’ll always have the salad bar