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 Horny Goat Weed
(Epimedium)


open quote logo quotation Anecdotal reports and animal studies show that epimedium is helpful in treating impotence.  close quote quotation logo




horny goat weed epimedium plant leaf natural remedies
For the herb epimedium, we did extensive research reviews and we could not find good evidence of the benefits for anything but for osteoporosis. Even so, there was only one study done that lasted for 24 months for preventing osteoporosis. Animal studies on epimedium for treating erectile and sexual dysfunction, depression, fatigue were done on animals and they all show positive results.

Does it really work? One website promoting horny goat weed said there was a study done in 38 men. We were unable to locate that research study so it is possible that it is an in-house study done by one of the manufacturer of the product. We are unable to comment on this "study".

Why would a company selling epimedium put forth a research to show that one of the products they are selling doesn’t work? We believe the study might be biased and that they are not telling you all the truth.

And of course, everyone would experience different levels of benefit. Luckily, it is most likely safe. We would like to see some studies done in human. Good quality research studies on epimedium in humans is not currently available but it does not mean that it's not effective.

leaf natural remedies review rating benefit side effect

Should you buy horny goat weed to try? It may be worth trying. Fortunately, a study showed that taking it for 2 years didn't create any safety concerns.

If you are looking for a natural remedy to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), there are other herbs that can be used.

We have written a detailed article about ED along with natural remedies that can be used to treat ED.

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Table of Contents




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Evidence of Benefits (Leaf Rating System)

Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Erectile Dysfunction (ED) / Impotence

Studies done with a new herbal product called Etana in rats shows that this supplement increases the rat's sexual response and activity levels. This multi-ingredient supplement also includes ginseng, Tongkat Ali and Gotu Kola.

Click here for a list of other natural remedies used to treat ED.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Osteoporosis / Bone Loss

A 24 month study in postmenopausal women showed a decrease in bone loss compared to the group taking a placebo (sugar pill).
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Depression

The studies were done in animals only and it showed positive benefits.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Heart Attack (MI) / Myocardial Infarction

The studies were done in animals only.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Fatigue / Tiredness

Animal studies show that this supplement was able to fight off fatigue.
 
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Breast Cancer

The studies were done in a lab setting and it showed that it can inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells.
 

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Facts about Horny Goat Weed

What is horny goat weed? It is a leaf from the Japanese epimedium (Epimedium grandiflora). Other species of Epimedium are also used.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), this herb is used to support the liver and kidney, build bone and muscle and as a bodybuilding supplement. It is often combined with other herbs as is often the case in TCM.

Epimedium contains many active ingredients. The ones believed to show the most promise are icariin, genistein and daidzein, a type of plant-based estrogen (female hormone).

One study shows that a specific formulation of epimedium reduced bone loss in postmenopausal women after 24 months of treatment.

The remaining information came from animal studies or studies done in vitro (on tissue samples in a test tube). In animals, epimedium seems to increase semen secretion, lower blood pressure and increase blood flow to the tissue responsible for allowing erection of the penis to occur (behaving much like what Viagra does).

“Dell'Agli and his colleagues tested the four plants in vitro to see how efficient they were at inhibiting PDE5. Just one - Epimedium brevicornum, also known as horny goat weed and Bishop's Hat - had an effect. This confirmed previous studies showing that icariin, a compound found inside the horny goat weed, is a PDE5 inhibitor."

As reported from the magazine New Scientist: "Viagra's active compound, sildenafil, works by inhibiting an enzyme called phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5). Because PDE5 helps control blood flow to the penis, inhibiting PDE5 promotes male erection.

There are several research studies in animals that suggest epimedium might thin the blood like Aspirin and increase blood flow to the heart. As well, epimedium seems to stimulate the immune system and research suggests that it might be effective against the AIDS/HIV virus. It also seems to have some effects like the female hormone estrogen.

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Suggested Benefits and Traditional Uses

Orally
  • aphrodisiac / increase libido (sex drive)
  • back pain
  • breast cancer
  • depression
  • erectile dysfunction (ED) / impotence
  • fatigue / tiredness
  • heart disease
  • heart attack (myocardial infarction)
  • HIV / viral infection
  • increase semen secretion
  • increase testosterone secretion
  • involuntary ejaculation
  • joint pain / inflammation
  • kidney problems
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • mental alertness
  • memory loss / Alzheimer's disease
  • osteoporosis / bone loss
  • sexual function and health enhancement
Topically (on the skin)
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Side Effects, Toxicity and Warnings

Side effects reported in research studies include nausea, vomiting, dizziness and dry mouth.

Do not overdose on epimedium as it may cause breathing difficulties and possibly cause the heart to beat very fast (tachyarrhythmia). Overdose might cause muscle spasm and co-ordination problems.

Safety - In one research study, an extract containing 60 mg of icariin was used in humans for 2 years.

Pregnancy and Lactation - Avoid using in pregnancy as epimedium might have estrogen-like and other hormonal effects that could harm the fetus.

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Common Drug & Health Condition Interactions

Warfarin - theoretical

In theory, it is possible for epimedium to cause the effects of Aspirin and blood-thinners like warfarin to be enhanced. Consult with your healthcare provider before starting or stopping epimedium.

Blood Pressure Medications / Low Blood Pressure - caution

In theory, epimedium might decrease blood pressure. This might be a possible concern in those people who already have low blood pressure. Monitor blood pressure when starting or stopping epimedium.

Heart Disease - theoretical

If you have an existing heart condition (e.g. heart attack, stroke), consult with your healthcare provider first before starting epimedium

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Dosage & How to Take It

Typical Dosage Used

Raw Herb: Dosage of 6 to 15 grams daily have been used.

Tincture: Take 5 mL (1 teaspoon) of a 20% tincture three times daily.

Decoction: Simmer 5 grams of the herb in about 1 cup (250 mL) of water for 15 minutes. Drink three times daily.

Osteoporosis

The only available data on dosage of epimedium is from the osteoporosis study. That particular formulation contained 60 mg icariin, 15 mg daidzein and 3 mg genistein.

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) / Impotence

What is the expected time it takes to get results after a dose of the epimedium supplement? There is no research study done to determine this but we may hypothetically expect similar result as with Viagra as epimedium works similarly to Viagra.

It is best to take it at least 1-2 hours prior to the expected time of sexual intercourse.

There is no info on how effective the tea extract would work compared to the pill formulation.

Topically (on the skin)

Does the epimedium cross the skin? We don't know. If not, then the gel formulation would probably have no effect. Avoid the gel formulation and choose the pill form instead.


Related Topics

Treat Impotence with Natural Remedies

Natural Remedies for Boosting Libido




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