I hate spiders. As a wise woman once said:
When I was younger, my mom would say, “Sweetie, don’t be afraid. You are way bigger than a spider.” Well, guess what, Mom? I’m bigger than a grenade too. Were you trying to raise me to be some sort of unconquerable war machine that isn’t even afraid of grenades? If you were trying to do that, you failed. I’m afraid of a lot of things that are smaller than me—like bees and wolverines and centipedes.
Though I’ve since kept my arachnophobia in check, I still wouldn’t want one near me—and especially not near my nether regions.
But oddly enough, researchers have found that the spider venom from the Brazilian wandering spider could cure erectile dysfunction—that is, if it doesn’t kill you first.
Also known as the armed spider or banana spider, a single bite could cause a loss in muscle control and breathing problems, which can lead to paralysis and asphyxiation. But excruciating pain aside, one of the symptoms from the venom is priapism—a very long (four-plus hours) and painful erection.
Physiologist Kenia Nunes from the Medical College of Georgia believes that because of this effect, the venom could treat sexual dysfunction in men and women. When treating flaccid rats with the venom’s active ingredient, PnTx2-6, the test rats showed some, uh, signs of life.
We found the toxin responsible and performed experiments using hypertensive rats which have severe erectile dysfunction. The toxin was able to normalize the erectile function in these animals.
Because the venom works differently from Viagra, Nunes hopes to market this treatment for patients who do not respond to “conventional therapy.”
Although these nasty little buggers are native to South and Central America, a few have snuck into America through banana crates. But if all goes well for Nunes, they may end up sample-sized and on a shelf in your doctor’s office.