For some people, drinking a hot cup of cuppa – blended with male enhancement herbs – can be reinvigorating; but in the unfortunate case of one consumer, it was far from having a sexual peak. It was a sip of death.

Caverflo Natural Herbal Coffee, containing extracts of the stimulating tonic plant Tongkat Ali, has been recalled by its distributor in US, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The company is also notifying its customers by mail.

“FDA laboratory analysis confirmed the presence of Sildenafil and Tadalafil which are the active ingredients in two FDA-approved prescription drugs used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED),” the announcement on the FDA website said.

The product is advertised on its website as a natural male enhancement, with no disclosure of the active ingredients.

These undeclared ingredients, according to the FDA, could react with the nitrates found in some types of prescription drugs (products like nitroglycerin which is a potent vasodilator to treat heart conditions). There is the possibility that the additives, in combination with prescription drugs, could lower blood pressure down to dangerous levels.

A prescription of nitrates will put males with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease at risk. Those with an allergy or high sensitivity to milk could develop an allergic reaction.

“ has received a report of an individual death after use of the coffee,” the FDA said, adding that the merchandise may also contain undeclared milk.

The FDA urged “consumers that have Caverflo Natural Herbal Coffee which is being recalled should stop (discard) it and contact their doctor”.

Herbs in coffee said to be an instant libido enhancer

Marketed as a “natural herbal aphrodisiac”, the instant herbal coffee – packaged in 25-gamme foil packs – contained three herbs, which were allegedly to aid in sexual prowess.

“This way, people can enjoy their favourite drink while simultaneously addressing a sexual let down,” the company website claims.

The three herbs – Tongkat Ali, maca and guarana – grow wild in the jungles of Malaysia and have been used for centuries by the people of Asia and South America to improve sexual health, libido, and overall wellness in men and women.

The website says, “The combination of these ingredients produces an awesome effect that can last up to 3 – 4 days per 1 pack, with phenomenal results!”

“For most just a couple of teaspoons in your ‘hot cup’ of water is enough to feel the full effects, for all others use just one half of the package. You should see results in around 15 minutes.”

Distributor claimed brand not possibly linked to death

According to STAT, a US-based online news publication, the distributor and owner of the website was a Dallas-based truck driver Brian Richardson, who started promoting the product between August 2016 and February 2017.

Richardson reportedly said he had no idea the supplement was tainted. On his site, he had advertised the product as “an absolutely all herbal beverage containing instant coffee and three herbs,” including Tongkat Ali.

“The FDA is making it like I’m some super manufacturer of this stuff when I just bought like 50 packs of it from the corner store and I said, “Well, I can sell it somewhere else on the other side of town.”And now it’s led to this,” expressed Richardson, reiterating that he did not repackage the product in any way.

He also claimed he knew the consumer who died, but did not believe the death was linked to his brand of coffee. In his defence, he argued that his website did caution that people with heart conditions should always consult a doctor before beginning any “regimen” – though, it added that the product will not have any toxicity.

A standard disclaimer in the website stated that the product has not been evaluated by the FDA and was “not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”

Regarding its violation of Federal food labelling regulations by using white text over a white background for its disclaimer, Richardson said it was accidental.

It’s unclear how many others distribute the coffee, which was marketed as Caverflo. A product called Caverflo appears to be available from other online sellers, including on Amazon.

The FDA has recalled similar tainted products, including six in May 2017. In September 2016, the agency warned customers not to buy or use a specific instant coffee mix after it tested the package — which claimed to use all the same herbs as Caverflo — but only to have found it was also tainted with a compound similar to Viagra.

In 2015, former professional basketball player Lamar Odom nearly died after taking several tabs of a tainted “herbal” enhancement product that also contained sildenafil.

Despite the risks and complications associated with the plant that is mostly found in Indonesia and Malaysia, the Tongkat Ali business continues to flourish as male consumers still believe that it would raise their testosterone levels – especially with demands from the Middle East, North Africa and South-east Asia. MIMS

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