by The Chocolate Dictionary
Chocopharmacology is the study of the active ingredients in chocolate and their effects on the mind and body. In Why Women Need Chocolate, Debra Waterhouse writes of chocolate containing more brain-pleasing chemicals than any other foodstuff we know: there’s Phenylethylamine, the so-called “love drug”; Theobromine, a caffeine-like stimulant; Anandamide, a mood enhancer (ananda is Sanskrit for “indescribable bliss”); and Tryptophan, a relaxant. Chocolate is also known to trigger the body’s own opiates, or endorphins, and is seen as the reason why chocolate is so enjoyable. Or, as an advert for BBC Radio 4 once put it: “Often people get palpitations, euphoria, increased hormone secretions. It’s a very strong substance, chocolate”.
However, the findings of what can be called “chocolate propaganda research” to validate a close relationship between chocolate and sexual desire have yet to be fully proved, as these chemicals are not present in large enough quantities to have a noticeable impact. Although we’re drawn to the inevitable conclution that it is chocolate marketing – i.e. its “naughty but nice” association – that perpetuates chocolate’s link with love and sex, and implies a special relevance to women, this hasn’t stopped researchers, like the team from Milan in 2004, from finding that women who eat chocolate regularly have a better sex life than those who don’t.
On the other hand, some chocolates are so tempting just looking at them, or just thinking about them, creates the desired pharmacological effect.