We’re tired, we’re stressed, and we’re humans—all with an innate desire for pleasure. So, when a square of chocolate claiming to increase your sexual performance goes viral on TikTok, people naturally have questions. How? Why? Does it work? Tabs Chocolate is a brand that calls itself chocolate for couples. Split one square with your partner and wait 30 minutes for increased pleasure and a higher sex drive for both parties, or so the website claims. 

Tabs Chocolate isn’t the only product on the market that claims to help boost your libido with just a bite or a swig. Health and beauty brand Aphina sells an elixir formulated to support sexual arousal for both long-term libido support and as a quick enhancement when the drinker wants to get in the mood. You can mix it with water, soda, or juice.

Tabs Chocolate and the Aphina elixir are in a category of their own. Not a pleasure-boosting supplement, pill, or powder, but a food product meant to be enjoyed for both its flavor and its effects. Can a piece of chocolate or a fun little bevvy actually make you horny? We did the research and talked to dietitian Joanne Larsen to find out.

What is Tabs Chocolate?

At its core, Tabs is a chocolate company. The chocolate contains 60% Belgian-sourced cocoa, but that’s not why the brand wants people to buy it. What first intrigued us about the brand was the raunchy and sometimes subtle TikTok videos made to promote the product that receives tens of thousands (sometimes millions) of views. They often follow the same format. It starts with a person or couple in mood lighting with text over it explaining they are trying Tabs Chocolate. The next clip is normally of the person or persons saying "it worked" in text or voiceover or even just through implication. Interestingly,  #tabschocolate has over 70 million views on TikTok. 

The four “aphrodisiac ingredients” are what set this chocolate apart from any other. The brand heavily pushes the fact that its chocolates contain Epimedium, maca root, DHEA, and cocoa as the reasons why it can get you horny. But what even are these ingredients and what do they do? Let’s break it down.

Epimedium is a flowering plant with a lot of different names — the most important being horny goat weed. The Tabs Chocolate website claims Epimedium contains “icariin, known for igniting desire and strengthening sensation.” Icariin is the active ingredient in Epimedium and is commonly used in over-the-counter supplements claiming to help those with erectile dysfunction, but research on it is limited. "[It's} a traditional Chinese herb used to improve erectile function but may take up to 4 weeks for improvement," Larsen said. In the Sexual Medicine Reviews journal, Epimedium extract was described as an aphrodisiac that may also help with erectile function in men. It also increases blood flow.

Maca root is a root vegetable also called Peruvian ginseng and has been used for thousands of years in medicine. There is very little information about how maca root affects sexual libido, but a few studies have found it can somewhat improve erectile dysfunction. A 2015 study found that maca root helped improve sexual dysfunction caused by antidepressants in women. However, both studies were conducted over 12 weeks and did not look at immediate effects.

DHEA stands for Dehydroepiandrosterone, a hormone that makes androgens and estrogens, the male and female sex hormones. According to the Tabs website, DHEA is “essential in activating sex hormones testosterone and estrogen in both the male and female body.” There have been very few studies on the effects of DHEA supplements and how it can affect libido. One older study from 2007 found that it can improve sexual drive in older women, but not much other information is available.

Tabs also includes cocoa as one of the “aphrodisiac ingredients,” as a natural stimulant because of the caffeine, which is true according to several different studies. Chocolate releases phenethylamine and serotonin in your body, which can have aphrodisiac effects.

It’s worth noting that while Tabs Chocolate does have the amount of the aphrodisiac ingredients listed on the nutrition facts, it is listed as a proprietary formulation with 650 milligrams of combined Epimedium extract, DHEA, and maca root extract. The claims have also not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration, which is not uncommon in supplement products. And Larsen strongly recommends consulting a medical doctor before ingesting any of these ingredients. 

Reviews on TikTok describe the taste of the chocolate as bitter and the libido-boosting effects as minimal to none. Others say it tasted great, worked as advertised, and gave them a “10/10” experience. Amazon reviews seem just as mixed with a rating of 2.7 stars.

As the reviews note, using this product will probably give each person a different experience. And because there is no solid research that shows these “aphrodisiac ingredients” directly affect libido, use at your own risk, but always consult a health professional.

What is Aphina Arouse Me Cherry Bomb elixir?

If you look on Aphina’s website to read up on how the Arouse Me Cherry Bomb elixir works, you’ll notice some of the key ingredients overlap with Tabs Chocolate, which includes maca to support libido. But there’s also black ginger to promote sexual and physical health, and Libifem Fenugreek (a type of standardized fenugreek extract) for sexual arousal, desire, and libido. 

"Black ginger is a traditional medicine in Asia and belongs to the ginger family which is used for its antioxidant properties," Larsen said. Some studies show that black ginger extract increases physical performance (which could definitely transfer to the bedroom). Fenugreek has been found to increase sexual satisfaction with young women. Over the last decade, randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled studies were conducted on fenugreek husk, Libifem, and maca extract, showcasing its influence on sexual function, enhanced libidos, and hormonal balance.

Other than three reviews on the Aphina website, there are no reviews that we could find online of anyone trying the elixir and giving their thoughts on if it works as advertised. The brand is transparent in the amount of each ingredient in the bottle, a full ingredient list, and links to independent studies that back up each claim.

Can these products help improve libido?

Countless tablets, chewables, supplements, powders, and gummies promise to increase libido, sexual performance, or satisfaction—and you can almost guarantee there will always be products out there claiming to be the quick natural fix to the libido problem. At the end of the day, always make sure you are speaking with a health professional before relying on any of these products.