JOHANNESBURG – Oscar Pistorius' representatives have named the substance found in his bedroom after the shooting death of his girlfriend as Testis compositum and said Wednesday it is an herbal remedy used "in aid of muscle recovery."
A product called Testis compositum is also marketed as a sexual enhancer, good for lack of stamina. Some online retailers advertise oral and injectable forms as testosterone boosters and say it can aid sexual performance.
South African police said during Pistorius' bail hearing that they found needles in Pistorius' bedroom along with the substance, which they initially named as testosterone. Prosecutors later withdrew that statement identifying the substance and said it had been sent for laboratory tests and couldn't be named until those tests were completed.
Pistorius family spokesperson Lunice Johnston said in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday that the athlete's lawyers had confirmed that the substance is Testis compositum. In court last week, Pistorius' defense lawyer Barry Roux said the substance was not banned by sports authorities, but it had been unclear what it was and what the exact name was.
A product called Testis Compositum is made by Biologische Heilmittel Heel GmbH, based in Baden-Baden, Germany. The company website says it is one of the world's leading makers of homeopathic combination medications.
A U.S. subsidiary, Heel USA Inc., markets the product in tablet form only and spokeswoman Joan Sullivan said she didn't know if injectable versions are sold in other countries. Heel USA's website says the product provides temporary relief for men's "sexual weakness" and lack of stamina.
The U.S.-sold tablets contain 23 ingredients, including pig testicles, pig heart, pig embryo and pig adrenal gland, cortisone, ginseng and other botanicals. It also contains several minerals, according to a list Sullivan provided.
Charles Yesalis, a Penn State professor emeritus and expert on steroid use in sports, said animal steroids likely wouldn't have an athletic performance-enhancing effect unless taken in huge quantities. Even so, he said many elite athletes would be wary of using such supplements because they can be laced with banned substances and few would want to risk it.
The company website listed a South African subsidiary as ModHomCo (Pty) Ltd., based in Centurion, near Pretoria. That company couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
Pistorius was charged with premeditated murder in the Feb. 14 shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He says he shot her by accident after mistaking her for an intruder in his home. Prosecutors allege he intended to kill her.