the cantharidin in the pretty green spanish fly has been used for medicinal and erotic purposes for centuries. fortunately, with the development of viagra, men are less inclined to experiment with these and other dangerous compounds.
back in 1861, a doctor making rounds in a field hospital “discovered several French Legionnaires with a most peculiar complaint: ‘Erections douloureuses et prolongues’ – known more technically as priapism. Vezien suspected the soldiers had been taking something they should not have – cantharidin, an insect toxin better known as the aphrodisiac Spanish fly .
the unfortunate soldiers had merely been eating the local frog’s legs, but these frogs had been dining on meloid beetles and the toxins passed on through the food chain. more recently a biologist at Cornell conducted experiments with beetle fed frogs to see if they retained their appeal as food to other animals.
“Eisner offered 16 cantharidin-fed frogs to 4 broad-banded water snakes. The snakes ate all but one ‘without undue delay, as is usually the case’, Eisner reports. How about leeches? Would they feed from an affected frog? To keep the frogs from eating the leeches that he briefly attached to their hind legs, Eisner designed a unique restraint. He cut off the receptacle end of a condom and slipped it over each frog’s front legs and torso. The leeches seemed no worse for wear after feeding on frogs’ legs.
in another example of humans being affected by food their food has eaten, Paul Devereux has this to say
The reindeer of these remote wastes have a hankering for Amanita muscaria (fly agaric or magic mushrooms). When they eat it they become stupefied and stagger around. If a reindeer is killed at this point, the meat will pass on the intoxicating effects devoured by the animal — but this is merely one part of a strange menage a trois involving human beings, reindeer and the mushroom itself. When they dine on certain mosses and lichen, reindeer also develop an insatiable passion for urine, their own and that of humans.
The Koryak, and doubtless other tribes, made use of this strange fact by carrying sealskin containers they called “the reindeer’s night-chamber,” in which they collected their urine. This was used to attract reindeer who were proving difficult to gather into the herd. But there was another value in human urine: the active constituents in Amanita muscaria remain intact even when passed through a person’s bladder. “The Koryaks know this by experience, and the urine of persons intoxicated with fly-agaric is not wasted. The drinker himself drinks it to prolong the state of hallucination, or offers it to others as a treat
Richard Rugley quotes from the encyclopaedia of psychoactive substances. the article is very interesting and quite long so I’ve reproduced a couple of sentences from it to whet your appetite to read more
“Holy men in India are reported to smoke cobra venom for its psychoactive effects. Both the king cobra and common cobra are used in this way; their dried venom glands or crystallized venom is often mixed with cannabis when smoked. In Russia it was apparently a custom that if a cat ate mukhomor (the fly-agaric mushroom) it was given the hemp or cannabis plant to sober it up”