Jun 09, 2007 at 12:47pm IST

Love lorn? Try the new love drug!

New Delhi: In love? Over the moon? Want to cement all ties with the one you are crazy about?

Well, this is not J K Rowling''s world and you cannot really whip up a love potion to enchant the chosen one. However, you can try the next best thing - take some oxytocin.

Oxytocin is the hormone the brain releases during sex and at childbirth. It helps sexual partners build intimacy and seals the bond between mother and child. There is also a generic drug by the same name.

LOVE ME DO: Scientists are finding that love is a chemical addiction between people.

Lain McGregor at the University of Sydney in Australia, and his colleagues studied the effects of the love drug in rats, which, like people, become more companionable on the drug.

The team gave the rats the equivalent of two to three ecstasy tablets in an adult human and found that the drug triggered oxytocin-containing neurons in the hypothalamus area of their brains. When they gave the rats a drug that blocked brain receptors for oxytocin, the increased sociability nearly vanished.

McGregor points out that rodent studies have shown a massive rush of oxytocin after orgasm in males.

"It’s interesting that guys on ecstasy feel more sensual than sexual. It could be that raising oxytocin levels puts them in that sort of post-orgasmic state where they’re actually not very good at performing sexually but they feel really good about the person they’re with," McGregor said.

And McGregor is not the only one experimenting. Other scientists are also experimenting to see whether the drug can improve estranged relationships and whether it can save failing marriages.

University of New South Wales psychologist, Adam Guastella, is administering oxytocin through a nasal spray during some marriage guidance counseling sessions.

"We think oxytocin may offer a new method to enhance treatment rates," Guastella told The Australian newspaper. "If couples get their points across more effectively in the therapy room it could lead to long-term benefits."

It seems that scientists are finding that, love really is, after all, just a chemical addiction between people.

(With inputs from agencies)

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