Horny Goat Weed

Barrenwort, bishop s hat, fairy wings, horny goatweed epimedium grandiflorum in japan
Horny Goat weed (Epimedium grandiflorum) photo by feathercollector, c/o 123-rf

The Horny Goat Weed is a herb that literally got its name because animals that ate the plant found it increased their libido immeasurably. It is well known for increasing male potency ! Extracts have been employed in traditional Korean and Chinese herbal medicine for centuries because of their effect on improving male libido.

The main plant of interest is scientifically known as Epimedium sagittatum but there are another 14 species in the same genus which can lay claim to some extraordinary properties. E. koreanum has also been used as a potent enhancer of erectile function (Makarova et al., 2007).

The one shown in the picture is E. grandliflorum which is grown more as a popular garden plant. The flower structure is similar in all species. E. sagittum grows throughout Asia and all the way to the eastern Mediterranean countries.

The alternative names are:- Barrenwort, Herba Epimedii, Japanese Epimedium. The Chinese use it in their herbals where it is known by two forms, Xian Ling Pi and Yin Yang Huo.

The parts used are mainly the leaves.

Traditional Uses And Health Benefits

The powers of the Horny Goat Weed gave been known for well over 2,000 years. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) it has been used for centuries to enhance libido and to treat various other ailments such as bone or kidney disease. TCM practitioners consider this herb to have a strong “yang” quality that can increase blood circulation, improve the kidneys, dispel flatulence and wind, and eliminate dampness. It’s not clear at times what this alludes to however in some treatises.

Male Sexual Health

Treatments

  • improving libido in men and women 
  • reducing high blood pressure or hypertension
  • reducing the hardening of the arteries as seen in atherosclerosis
  • reducing symptoms associated with the menopause
  • reducing osteoporosis
  • reducing brain injury
  • reducing the impact of hay fever
  • reducing feelings of fatigue.

Horny Goat Weed was administered as an aphrodisiac because it raises increases libido and improves erectile function. The compound believed to be responsible for this is a flavonoid known as‘icariin’.  Icariin (ICA) acts like beetroot in boosting the production of the transmitter nitric oxide. This is the principal chemical transmitter required for the successful and ample delivery of blood to the penis tissue which enlarges it.

Icariin is an inhibitor of an enzyme called phosphodiesterase (PDE-5). The activity of PDE-5 is to block dilation of the arteries in the penis. This allows blood to enter the arteries more easily and the three cylinders which make up the penis. The result is an erection. It’s worth noting that Viagra (sildenafil) operates in precisely this manner. It is also the case that Viagra is 80 times more potent than icariin.

Secondly, it increases the natural circulation of testosterone around the body, not only boosting libido but also helping to keep the prostate gland healthy. It plays a prominent role in the production of healthy sperm.

In terms of studies, there are not any suitable human clinical trials available to draw upon so much of the evidence comes from animal studies.

Many supplements with similar claims are also used in combination with Horny Goat Weed. These include maca root, ginseng, Tribubulus terrestris, Muira Puama and the amino acid supplement L-arginine.

Safety

Generally, Epimedium is regarded as possibly safe which is not great comfort but there are special precautions and warnings to note.

The general health conditions to note are:-

  • those with high blood pressure who are on medication.
  • medications that produce an irregular heart beat or arrhythmia.
  • blood thinning medication such as warfarin.
  • cardiovascular disease (heart disease)
  • hormone-sensitive cancers such as ovarian and breast cancer.
  • thyroid diseases especially hyperthyroidism.

For pregnant women and those breast-feeding, horny goat weed is possible unsafe when take by mouth during pregnancy. There is some suggestion it harms the growing foetus. It is not recommended for use during this time.

Dosage levels are ill-defined and depend on the quality of the active ingredient. Anyone with heart disease or a hormone-sensitive cancer needs to consult with a doctor before use. There are a couple of cases where a man taking the herb with gingko experienced, rash, pain and a burning sensation. One man with congestive heart failure required hospitalisation having shown symptoms of chest pains, breathlessness and arrhythmia following ingestion of the herb. It is worth noting that such cases are rare.

Avoid Horny Goat weed is taking ibuprofen or other over-the-counter pain relief.

Horny Goat Weed can produce an allergic reaction is those who have allergies to plants in the Berberidaceae family. The symptoms include hot flushes and sweating with rashes.

No information presented on this website has been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and none of the products discussed or presented are intended to cure, treat or prevent any disease. It must be borne in mind that the results of any supplement as with any performance drug varies from person to person. All supplements need to be taken in conjunction with a balanced and healthy diet. If you are unsure about taking any supplement, consult a doctor or pharmacist before use.

Products Using Horny Goat Weed

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References

Makarova, M. N., Pozharitskaya, O. N., Shikov, A. N., Tesakova, S. V., Makarov, V. G., & Tikhonov, V. P. (2007). Effect of lipid-based suspension of Epimedium koreanum Nakai extract on sexual behavior in rats.Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 114(3), pp. 412-416 (Article). 

1 Comment

  1. I get horny just thinking about goats. Oh boy does it work and real good. My biggest complaint is it makes me really silly and even hornier than I am already. Been hitting Pornhub too.

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