May 23, 2008

Illegal Aphrodisiac ‘Stone’ Can Be Fatal

New York health officials have issued a warning about an illegal aphrodisiac known as stone, which can cause serious poisonings and death.

Stone -- also known as Piedra, Jamaican Stone, Love Stone, Black Stone or Chinese Rock -- is a hard dark brown substance, typically sold as a solid chunk less than 1 square inch in size.

It can be packaged in a clear plastic bag with some labeling. The product is sold in some adult stores and can also be found in other neighborhood stores. Its active ingredients include several chemicals known as bufadienolides. They are derived from toad venom and some trees and can disrupt the normal rhythm of the heart.

Stone can cause serious heart problems or death when ingested but can also be harmful when applied to the skin -- its typical use. Symptoms of poisoning may include chest pain, abdominal pain and vomiting, New York City health department officials said.

The health department advises people who may have obtained and used these products to:

-- Immediately stop use.

-- Wrap and discard as garbage -- do not flush down the toilet.

-- If poisoning is suspected, call a Poison Control Center.

Last week, a New York man died after ingesting the aphrodisiac.