There's a popular belief that celery increases male sexual performance (some claim that it influences penis size, others that it increases semen count, or that it helps men maintain an erection for a longer time).

Is there any truth to this? Have there been any studies to test for any of these effects?

  • I've been doing informal research on Chinese Medicine for many years, and Celery is categorized as a Neutral food that acts on the Liver, Stomach, and Spleen. I wonder if there is any known connection with these organs and what you're asking about? Jun 3, 2011 at 6:44
  • See also: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/13814/…
    – landroni
    May 6, 2014 at 21:37

1 Answer 1


Celery is believed to be an aphrodisiac because it contains androstenone.

Source wikipedia:

Androstenone (5α-androst-16-en-3-one) is a steroid found in both male and female sweat and urine. It is also found in boar's saliva, and in celery cytoplasm. Androstenone was the first mammalian pheromone to be identified. It is found in high concentrations in the saliva of male pigs, and, when sniffed by a female pig that is in heat, results in the female assuming the mating stance. Androstenone is the active ingredient in 'Boarmate', a commercial product made by DuPont sold to pig farmers to test sows for timing of artificial insemination.

In humans, androstenone also has been suggested to be a pheromone; however, scientific data to support these claims are scant.

Source: Kirk-Smith, M.D., and Booth, D.A. (1980) "Effect of androstenone on choice of location in others' presence". In H. van der Starre (Ed.), Olfaction and Taste VII, London: Information Retrieval Ltd., pp.397-400.

It is also suggested that we would be unable to sense its presence:

The vomeronasal organ is an auxiliary olfactory sense organ responsible for the detection of pheromones as more than just an odor. Most adult humans possess something resembling this organ, but there is no active function. Humans lack the sensory cells that exist in other mammals needed to detect pheromones beyond a smell. Humans also lack the genetic ability to produce these sensory cells actively.

Spinney, Laura. "Five things humans no longer need". New Scientist. Retrieved 2008-05-20.

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