Controversial ‘love potion’ available in Reno

Viagra for women?

The little blue pill for men is now in a little blue bottle for women. At least, that’s how it’s being advertised.

Niagara, an herb-based energy drink, is making its way into Reno nightclubs packaged as “Romance in a Bottle.” The 6.6-oz. bottled drink is said to increase the sexual libido of women. The drink’s Web site,, even goes as far as to claim that the product should be used only in a “marriage relationship.”

The fizzy blue drink, developed originally as a dietary supplement, contains the herbs damiana and schizandra (said to have aphrodisiac qualities), ginseng, sugar and caffeine.

Gary Osman, owner of The Stock Exchange, 535 E. Fourth St, said he was one of the first bars in town to have the drink and is pleased with the results so far. He received his first shipment earlier this month and said the product has been selling steadily, thanks in part to some marketing he has done on his own.

“I saw [a story] on Niagara on [ABC’s] 20/20 and researched it, and nobody had it,” he said, noting that his distributor took a chance on the drink. “Everybody who’s tried it likes it.”

Osman describes the taste as resembling a tangy Popsicle. He also said that some of his patrons have been mixing the non-alcoholic drink with triple sec or vodka.

A female patron sitting nearby said that she notices a tingling effect when she first drinks it.

“It definitely focuses your thoughts,” she said.

Niagara retails for about $5. Osman estimated that the price in nightclubs will be about $8. The so-called female aphrodisiac has gained attention thanks to Arkansas coffee shop owner and businesswoman Lari Williams, who has the exclusive rights to distribute the product nationally and boasted sales of more than 1.2 million bottles last month.

Claims that Niagara works with 80 percent of women have yet to be scientifically substantiated. The drink does not require FDA approval, because it is sold as a dietary supplement.

One local storeowner has some reservations about this product.

Carol Pruner, owner of The Herb Lady store in Sparks, questioned the sale of this product in nightclubs.

“I wouldn’t [sell] this in my store,” she said. “Mixing caffeine with some of these [herbal ingredients] is dangerous.”

Pruner explained that ingredients that “race the heart,” like caffeine, might not be safe for those with certain medical conditions. She said she doesn’t believe in some of these “fly-by-night products.”

“I don’t want to be involved with fads,” she said.

Pfizer Inc., the makers of the male anti-impotence drug Viagra, has attempted court-ordered injunctions against Williams for the marketing of the blue drink.

According to an Associated Press report, Pfizer contends that Williams’ marketing the drink as “Viagra for women” is a “scheme to mislead and confuse customers.”

Officials at Nordic Drinks, the Swedish company that manufactures the drink, say that there’s a difference in the pronunciation of their product (nee-uh-GAR-uh). A judge has denied Pfizer’s request, and the matter will reach the courtrooms this summer.