A chewing gum advertised on a Vietnamese website as having an aphrodisiac effect on women
Breast-enlarging cakes and sexually stimulating chewing gums for women are being sold in Vietnam, but a doctor is skeptical about their efficacy.
The cakes are advertised as being capable of enlarging breasts and making them firmer, keeping hair and skin healthy, slowing down the aging process, and reducing stress.
A box costs VND599,000 (US$29) and advertisements claim users can see the effect after using seven boxes in two months.
Tuoi Tre newspaper found one seller named Lan on Nguyen Binh Khiem Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, from her cell phone number in an online ad.
"Bigger breasts for [just] VND4 million ($192) is pretty cheap," she said.
Lan keeps the products concealed inside her house and runs a travel agency in the front.
She came to know about the cake from a Japanese friend and it worked on her, she claimed. She started promoting the product online after realizing that most Vietnamese women have small breasts.
Ten women have used the products and are happy with it since their breasts have expanded by several millimeters to two centimeters, she said.
If it did not work for someone it must have been because she lost weight or did not use the cake regularly as instructed, she said.
Its ingredients are all good for women's health and appearance, she said, listing cheese, wheat flour, oil, low-fat milk, eggs, raspberry juice, and pueraria mirifica, a root.
"So you can be sure it will help either way."
But Dr Hoang Thi Diem Tuyet, deputy director of Tu Du, a leading city hospital, said, "scientifically, the cake can hardly have the advertised effects."
Its most potent ingredient for breast size is pueraria mirifica, which has a high content of plant-derived estrogen, the main female sex hormone, she explained.
"A large amount of the estrogen can increase breast size, but it is hard to process it since it easily dissolves at high temperature.
"That is not even to mention cases where the cake making process can alter elements into something else."
There is no scientific evidence for the effectiveness of these cakes or any other cosmetics products and foods that claim to contain pueraria mirifica and have similar effect.
She was also doubtful about a chewing gum advertised as being made in France and acting as an aphrodisiac on women.
Advertisements list several ingredients including epimedium herb extract, which Tuyet says contains nitric oxide that can arouse sexual desire in both men and women.
"But that needs a large amount of the extract.
"Advertisements only say the gum has the extract, not how much there is."
People should be careful or they would have spent money for nothing, she warned.
A box of 20 sticks cost VND309,000 (US$15).
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