From the Greek meaning 'heavy with wine'
A blog devoted to science and reason
Written after a glass or two of Pinot Noir.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love Is A Drug

This article isn't really about the biological/physiological response we call love.  It's about Valentine's day.  No, it's not about Valentine's day either.  It's about what we romantics usually give to our significant others on Valentine's day.

What makes chocolate so special?  Maybe it's the theobromine it contains.  Theobromine is a chemical classified as a alkaloid.

Since ancient times, alkaloids have been a favorite of humans.  People have used them for both their therapeutic properties, as well as for purely recreational purposes.

What other alkaloids do humans like?  Below is a list of some of humanity's favorites. [DISCLAIMER: I am not endorsing the use and/or abuse of any of the chemicals listed.  Some are just dangerous; others are quite useful and help me get through the morning.]

  • Caffeine - My Wonder Drug.  What would I do in the morning with my three or four cups of coffee?
  • Cocaine
  • Nicotine
  • Morphine/Heroin -  A little trivia for you.  The word Heroin was trademarked in the early 20th century by the Bayer pharmaceutical company.
  • Codeine
  • Serotonin - a neurotransmitter in your brain
  • Psilocybin
  • Ergotamine - possibly responsible for the witch accusations in Salem, MA, but many historians discount this.
  • Histamine - if you suffer from allergies, you can blame this alkaloid.
  • Capsaicin - spicy food lovers know this chemical

So give your beloved a box of chocolates, and enjoy the mild effects of this vasodilator.

By the way, make sure to the click the link embedded in the song lyrics above -  Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music.

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