Erectile dysfunction isn’t a new problem, but there weren’t any effective treatments for the condition until the middle of the 20th century. Before then, desperate people turned to sympathetic magic, patent medicines, fad treatments, and convincing frauds to try to get it up.

Here are the worst treatments ever.

1. Chewing on small pieces of roasted wolf penis (13th century).

2. Mixing phosphoric acid with orange-peel and ginger syrups, sometimes with a grain of strychnine, and drinking it (mid-to late 1800s).


3. Injections of liquified guinea pig testicles (1890s).

4. Smearing a poultice of ground acacia leaves and Christ’s-thorn in honey over the penis (1700 BC).


5. Eating the brains of male sparrows mixed with filberts and billy goat grease (11th century CE).

6. Applying an electric current to the spine, perineum, scrotum, and penis (1880s).


[Hammond 1887 | Brown-Sequard 1889 | Acton 1894 | Delany 1969 | Shokeir and Hussain 2004 | Maclaren 2007 ]

Image: Shedrick Mask via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

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