Scientists Say Watermelons Work Like Viagra Scientists say watermelon yields Viagra-like effects, and some of the most e-mailed, viewed and commented on stories on the Web.
NPR logo

Scientists Say Watermelons Work Like Viagra

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Scientists Say Watermelons Work Like Viagra

Scientists Say Watermelons Work Like Viagra

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Singer: (Singing) Uh-huh, uh-huh, clap your hands!


OK. Fine.

(Soundbite of clapping)

PESCA: Welcome back to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News, online all the time at Without fear or favor, we scour the Internet, and have you been on the Internet lately? It needs scouring. Dirty, dirty websites out there.

IAN CHILLAG: Mm, it's gross in there.

PESCA: Yep. And we find the most-emailed, the most-shared, the most-tweeted, the most-Twittered, the most-shocked, the most-smothered, scattered and covered - see the through line? It's The Most.

(Soundbite of music)

PESCA: Here to share some of these Mostestestes (ph) is actually a couple friends of mine. Mark Garrison, are you a friend of mine?


PESCA: Then you get to say something.

GARRISON: When you're nice.


GARRISON: When you bring beer, like the stuff you brought two weeks ago.

PESCA: Oh, I've got to buy things for you.


CHILLAG: Two weeks ago?

GARRISON: Yes. Anyway, I have a most-e-mailed at Yahoo! News. Watermelons, it turns out, are nature's Viagra. How's that? I'll actually go through the science. Watermelons contain citrulline. Citrulline begat arginine. Arginine begat nitric oxide. Nitric oxide begat relaxed blood vessels. Relaxed blood vessels beget increased blood flow. Increased blood flow does, you know, that. So, also if your erection lasts more than four hours, you should probably choose other fruit to eat. Now, I want to give a warning...

PESCA: Cantaloupe.

GARRISON: Yeah, yeah, cantaloupe, melon, fruit like that. But in any case, before you start to get, like, you know, emails from spammers, you know, offering you cheap deals on watermelon, couple of warnings. The scientists said it's not as organ-specific as Viagra. So...

PESCA: Right. Your feet could swell up.

GARRISON: You know, it's just blood flowing everywhere. It's not as focused.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GARRISON: And the other thing is you have to eat six cups of it to actually produce the magic arginine, that starts this whole thing going on, so that's a lot, and also warning to people, you may not know, watermelons, they were once used as a diuretic, so...


PESCA: A lot of caveats.

GARRISON: It's not as good as it's made out to be, so I just want to make sure all of this goes out there, you know, because again, like, if your Viagra ad - you have a lot of fast words at the end. Call your doctor if this. Don't do that like that...

PESCA: Yeah.

GARRISON: So, I just want to - I want to kind of, you know, keep the medical-advertising ethic going in that. So, I'm giving you all the caveats.

PATRICIA MCKINNEY: He sounds nervous.

IAN CHILLAG: Yeah. The 2003 Chillag family picnic was really uncomfortable, and now...

MCKINNEY: Too much information.

GARRISON: It all makes sense.

PESCA: Apparently, nature not as focused as Pfizer, and watermelon is available in seedless variety. I don't know how that affects the Viagra effects.

GARRISON: The yellow one contains the most of the stuff...

PESCA: Mm-hm.

GARRISON: So, that kind of creeps me out, the color...

PESCA: Yeah.

GARRISON: But that's the one to get if that's what you're looking for.

PESCA: Tricia, take us somewhere.

MCKINNEY: I will - I - you know, I don't think I'm going to take you anywhere good. I got into a Google Trends mystery this morning.

PESCA: Yeah.

MCKINNEY: Right up there on this - on - among the top ten was the word "esoteric."

PESCA: Yeah.

MCKINNEY: So, you know, that's a tough one. It's always a tough search term on Google Trends because it could be anything, and they don't really tell you what people are searching for. They just tell you the item, but they don't tell you what they found, or why they were looking for it. So, you know, then I go on this search.

PESCA: Yeah.

MCKINNEY: One of my clues usually is the related searches. Well, they were no help today. They were things like "crocodile tears."

PESCA: Yeah?


PESCA: Kambo (ph)? (Unintelligible), OK.

MCKINNEY: And here was my favorite, ubersetzung Deutsch English, with the umlaut on the uber.


MCKINNEY: I tried Googling "esoteric ubersetzung Deutsch English," came up with nothing, crocodile tears, nothing. Kamus is - it's spelled like Albert Camus, but with a K.


MCKINNEY: So, I was like, ooh, well, I don't know, and then I found out there's actually a website called, which is, like, an Indonesian-to-English dictionary...

PESCA: Of course it is.

MCKINNEY: And that was its own little rabbit hole - this is so awesome - because today's English word of the day on that site is foot-dragging, or really foot draging (ph), because they spell dragging with one G instead of two, so that was no help. So, you know, then I kept clicking, kept checking back throughout the morning, and now the related searches have changed. Now, among the related searches for the word esoteric are Japanese religion, rizona (ph), botulism, Evangelical, and modish.

PESCA: Yeah. So it would seem to me that whoever can figure it out - I mean, the knowledge is just kind of, of or relating to a very limited group of people. Yeah.

MCKINNEY: Yeah. It is kind of an esoteric search.

PESCA: Oh. I didn't even think of that, but yeah, you're right. All right. So, speaking of crocodile tears or crocs, the Atlanta Journal Constitution's number one story is "Crocs cited in lawsuit over girl's injuries at airport." Have you heard about this? This is a little bit of a trend. A Louisville mother is blaming the manufacturer of the popular Crocs shoes for injuring her three-year-old daughter. She was riding an escalator in the airport in Atlanta. It got caught. They described the injury, seems horrific. This article cites another example where, I think, a four year old was wearing Crocs, once again, got foot caught - foot caught in elevator. Blame the Crocs. Dan Pashman wears a lot of Crocs.

CHILLAG: He does.

PESCA: He rides a lot of elevators.

CHILLAG: At least two.

PESCA: He has the emotional control of a three year old. I fear for him. Watch out, Crocs. Laura Silver.

LAURA SILVER: Hey. I have good shoe-wear on today.

PESCA: Uh-huh.

SILVER: I'm pleased to say, and...

PESCA: Good. Let me check under the table.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: Very sensible.

SILVER: Verified?

PESCA: Quite sensible.

SILVER: Three cheers for yesterday, folks. You know, we're gearing up for a big holiday, but actually in 1776, John Adams wrote that he was looking forward to a day that would become really important in the history of America. He said, I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations - that's us - as the Great Anniversary Festival - Festival with a capital F - pomp, parade, shews - S-H-E-W-S - games, sports, gun, bells, bonfire and illuminations.

"I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding Generations" - that's us - "as the great anniversary Festival" - Festival with a capital F - "Pomp... Parade... Shews" - S-H-E-W-S - "Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations..."

CHILLAG: Was that "gun" in there? It does sound like a party.

SILVER: There was a gun. Open- carry, not specified, and...

PESCA: Yeah. I think they had a lot of muskets then, so they had to be shown out in the open.

SILVER: Anyway, which day was this? The second of July. Yesterday, so...

PESCA: Why do you think July 2nd, not July 4th, would be the go-to day, full of illuminations?

SILVER: Well, it was before the actual signing of the Declaration of Independence.

PESCA: Right.


SILVER: So, he thought it would be - he thought that day would be hot, because that was the...

CHILLAG: Just like we celebrate Christmas on the 23rd, two days before Jesus was born.

SILVER: Right. Well, something - no.

PESCA: Right.


SILVER: That's when the legislative act creating independence came into being.

PESCA: Right.

SILVER: So, anyway, the author of this article, Andrew Trees, he proposes that we celebrate some mistakes that the founding fathers made, such as Andrew - Alexander Hamilton thought that the Senate and presidential terms should be for life. Imagine that.

PESCA: Mm-hm. Well...

SILVER: But...

PESCA: He was accused of being a regisist (ph). Of course, Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird.

SILVER: Right. But today is not a bad day either. Just want to tell you, 130 years ago today, George M. Cohan was born.


SILVER: He wrote "Send my Regards to Broadway," and in honor of Rachel, Idaho, or maybe before Rachel, Idaho became the 43rd state in 1890. So, today's not too bad either.

PESCA: July 2nd, nice.

SILVER: Well, today's July 3rd.

PESCA: Oh, yeah. That's right.

SILVER: It all blends together.

PESCA: Yeah. Tom Cruise was born today. I know that.


PESCA: Yeah. Montel Williams. Go ahead, what do you got, Ian?

CHILLAG: Hey, I got a most-popular from the Columbus Dispatch. You know, a lot of flooding problems there in Ohio.

PESCA: Mm-hm. Well...

CHILLAG: Apparently one of the floods in Clintonville. The Marzetti's factory is there. You know, they make the salad dressing. Floodwaters mixed with the salad dressing, and many basements were coated with a ranch-dressing-like substance.


CHILLAG: Those of you that think that sounds like a delicious flood, they also mixed with the sewage...

PESCA: Oh, yeah.

CHILLAG: Which you don't want. Anyway, moving on...

PESCA: Unless the floors were made of celery.

CHILLAG: Yeah. No.

PESCA: It's not delicious.

MCKINNEY: Not even then, Mike. Not even then.

CHILLAG: Moving on, this was a most-viewed on NPR from yesterday's All Things Considered. Really amazing story, this is about the Afghan boy who starred in the movie adaptation of "The Kite Runner" in Afghanistan. The boy's now in hiding, because of threats from other Afghans who were offended by the movie, because it includes a rape scene. The movie is banned in Afghanistan, but it makes its way around on pirated DVDs. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson talked with the boy's family in Kabul.

(Soundbite of NPR's All Things Considered, July 2, 2008)

(Soundbite of movie "The Kite Runner")

(Soundbite of children cheering)

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON: In this scene from the Paramount-Vantage movie, "The Kite Runner," young Amir asks his houseboy, Hassan, to find the kite they've won in a kite-fighting contest.

Mr. ZEKERIA EBRAHIMI: (As Young Amir) (Arabic spoken)

Mr. AHMAD KHAN MAHMOODZADA: (As Young Hassan) (Arabic spoken)

NELSON: Don't comeback empty-handed, Amir says. Hassan replies, for your sake, I'll come back with full hands. The request leads Hassan, who is from the country's Hazara minority, to an alley where he is raped by boys, who are members of the Pashtun majority. Amir, who is also a Pashtun, witnesses the assault.

Mr. EBRAHIMI: (As Young Amir) (Arabic spoken)

NELSON: Zekeria Ebrahimi, who is 12, plays the young Amir in the movie. He calls him a coward for not helping Hassan. Many other Afghans who've seen the movie say it's not just Amir who did wrong. They accused Paramount and the actors at creating a movie that insults their country. They say the movie, banned or not, will raise ethnic tensions that have already caused decades of war. Fear grew that the child actors might be harmed by insurgents or mobs. So, Paramount relocated four of them, including Zekeria.

They were moved to Dubai last November, each with a guardian. Paramount put the boys in a private international school, rented them apartments, paid their families in Dubai and Kabul a monthly stipend, and searched for work for their guardians. Studio executives made the guardians sign contracts, stating that if they talked to the media, the arrangements might change. Rich Klein, whose firm was hired by Paramount to help relocate the families, says the clause was meant to protect the boys' anonymity, not penalize them.

Mr. RICH KLEIN (Managing Director, Middle East and Arabian Gulf, Kissinger McLarty Associates): The studio has, I think, gone above and beyond to accept responsibility for the safety and the well-being of all of these boys, and has left their promises to these boys open-ended.

NELSON: Zekeria's aunt, Waheeda Ebrahimi, feels otherwise. She says her roughly four months in Dubai were miserable, not just for her, but for her nephew, whom she's raised since infancy.

Ms. WAHEEDA EBRAHIMI: (Arabic Spoken)

NELSON: She and Zekeria feared he would be deported, because his visa had expired. Paramount was working on getting him a new one. She says the small stipends and 400-dollar-a-month job she was offered were not enough for her to support her family, even with their rent paid. So, she and Zekeria returned to Kabul in March. She says that's when the trouble began.

(Soundbite of crying)

NELSON: Ebrahimi breaks down as she recalls yanking Zekeria out of school here, because Hazara classmates threatened to kill him. She says the family moved to a new neighborhood, but quickly left after a gang of men tried to force their way into the home. It turns out someone had distributed a dozen copies of the movie to her neighbors and told them where Zekeria lived. They still live in Kabul, but Zekeria spends all of his time indoors. He's pale and rarely smiles.

Mr. EBRAHIMI: (Arabic spoken)

NELSON: His uncle, a shopkeeper, is home schooling Zekeria now. They're studying biology, the boy's favorite subject.

Mr. EBRAHIMI: (Arabic spoken)

NELSON: He says he wishes he'd never done the movie, that he wants Paramount to get him and his family out of this mess. They want to go to America. Again, Rich Klein, whose firm works with Paramount.

Mr. KLEIN: I don't think anybody is happy with the fact that they left. Nobody - and now that Zekeria is not doing well, there's very real concern.

NELSON: But Klein says the family needs to be realistic about what Paramount can do for them. He hopes they will consider moving back to Dubai.

PESCA: That was NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reporting from Kabul. You can find links to all of our Mosts on our website,

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.