…a plant widely available in garden centres has the same effect on men as Viagra
The latest gardening craze was triggered by a discovery by a 55-year-old furniture restorer, Michael Ford, on his allotment.
He was always experimenting with drinks made from different plants and one day he tried an infusion from his winter-flowering heather.
He said: “The effect was almost immediate. I had to stay in my potting shed for an hour or so before I could decently walk down the street.”
He then contacted the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, famous for their work with the heather family, to see if they could offer an explanation. They could. Botanist Alan Bennell said: “This first surfaced when East European chemists reported finding a Viagra-type chemical in the floral tissues of winter-flowering heaths. They were able to isolate measurable amounts of material that is an analogue of the active principle in Viagra.”