Inside the body of every law-abiding American is a freewheelin' skeptical anarchist who thinks he or she can singlehandedly take down the pharmaceutical industry by pursuing holistic, wannabe health guru-endorsed miracle cures. These miracle tinctures and potions promise to solve every ailment from allergies to erotic misfortune while also ridding bodies of unknown "toxins."
Enter Moon Juice's Sex Dust, a $60 powder promising to satisfy the needs of every unsure, upset, and unsexy person out there. It smells like dirt, tastes like old cinnamon, and resembles heroin -- or, at least, the heroin I've seen in movies. Oh, and it's supposed to get you horny.
Endorsed by hippie-dippie celebrities along the lines of Gwyneth Paltrow, Shailene Woodley, Rooney Mara, Rachel McAdams, and Zoë Kravitz, Sex Dust contains a plethora of ancient Chinese herbs and plants and claims to "send waves of blood to all the right places" by "supporting brain chemistry [and] hormone production."
The problem that Sex Dust faces -- along with myriad other holistic cures -- is that it's uncontrolled, unregulated, and cannot guarantee what it promises on the label. So, why do people keep buying this stuff? I tried some for myself and got to the bottom of this dusty mystery.
What's in this stuff?
Raise your hand if you've ever heard of the following ingredients: ho shou wu, cistanche, cacao, shilajit, maca, epimedium, schisandra, organic stevia. Yeah, didn't think so.
Most of these are traditional Chinese herbs that -- in some cases -- have been used for centuries to cure any variety of ailments. Schisandra comes from the berry of a climbing vine, native to Northeast China and parts of Russia, and is traditionally used as a sexual tonic.
Epimedium is a pungent ornamental herb found in Asia and the Mediterranean that got its nickname, "horny goat weed," after a herder noticed his goats becoming more sexually active after eating the plant. Cistanche supposedly strengthens male erections and can intensify the orgasms in both men and women.
And stevia? Well, that just makes everything taste sweet. If you spend even a little bit of time searching for this stuff online, one could conclude that this dust and its active ingredients are potentially helpful and practically harmless.
I put a couple of spoonfuls of the stuff into my tea every morning for a few weeks to see if anything would actually happen to me.
So, why are people so skeptical?
For one thing, none of the above ingredients are approved by the FDA.
"The products throw a lot of Chinese medicinal products together for which the evidence is primarily anecdotal," Daniel Commane, a human nutrition expert at the University of Reading, told WIRED.
Not only are these ingredients not approved, but the few number of studies that record the benefits of homeopathic remedies show that there actually is no conclusive evidence indicating any of the stuff you buy from GNC or Target actually works.