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How is your sex drive, honey?

30 May 03 11:40 GMT

Life was simpler thousands of years ago. In Biblical times, the secret to a happy marriage was nothing more than a honey-based alcoholic drink.

Newly-weds were encouraged to drink mead every night for one lunar month after they tied the knot.

The fruits of their so-named honeymoon would then appear nine months later, in the form of a bouncing baby.

Sex life

Now scientists at the Royal Society of Chemistry in London are setting out to determine whether there is any truth in the ancient myth that mead is, indeed, the key to a healthy sex life.

Researchers are seeking the help of prospective honeymooners willing to drink mead every evening for 30 days after they exchange their vows.

They will select one couple who will be asked to keep a nightly record of the effects or otherwise of the ancient brew.

The findings will be published in November to coincide with UK Chemistry Week, which will highlight the role of chemistry in daily life.

The society has already placed an order for a dozen bottles of mead to help the couple on their way.

Mead is an alcoholic liquor made by fermenting a mixture of honey and water.

The drink has its roots in Babylon more than 4,000 years ago. While popular with newly-weds, it was also hailed by soldiers who poured it on wounds in the belief it helped them to heal more quickly.

"Mead was not just drunk as a wine but was believed to have magical powers revitalising and healing," said Jerome Schooler, who runs Britain's largest mead maker, Lurgashall Winery in Sussex.

"As a result of this, Mead was the elixir to prolong life. People thought if they drank it they would be immortal."

Researchers at the Royal Chemistry Society are hoping their study will unearth some of the science behind the myth.

"There is some serious science in it," said Claire McLoughlin of the society.

"Mead was believed to increase virility and fertility and as in many myths and legends there is a basis in science because mead is rich in B vitamins and also rich in amino acids which are the building blocks of protein so do increase stamina."

Couples who are interested in volunteering to take part in the study can email the society at emsleyb@rsc.org

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