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Horny Goat Weed

Horny Goat Weed | Yin Yang Huo
COMMON NAME (Chinese Name)

Horny Goat Weed (Yin Yang Huo)

BOTANICAL NAME

 Epimedium Grandiflorum

COMMON NAME

Horny Goat Weed; Large-Flowered Barrenwort; Bishop’s Hat, Epimedium

BOTANICAL NAME

Epimedium grandiflorum; Herba Epimedii 

USES

The most common (and most talked about) uses for horny goat weed supplementation are the treatment of erectile dysfunction and low sexual desire in men. Yet there are some significant risks associated with the purchase of unregulated commercial supplements claiming to contain any amount of this particular supplement. That’s because, though horny goat weed itself can help alleviate the symptoms of sexual dysfunction, it (and the other herbal supplements it is most often paired with) can also have serious psychological side-effects. It is believed this risk is likely a direct result of its interaction with other included (unregulated) herbs and pharmaceuticals.

The other, less eye-catching potential uses of horny goat weed supplements include the treatment of general fatigue, limb weakness, amnesia and/or memory loss, and female infertility. What’s more, the primary active ingredient in horny goat weed extract (icariin) is hugely osteoprotective (preventing the loss of bone mass and density), especially when used by post-menopausal women. This, the potential anti-breast-cancer effects of horny goat weed supplementation, and the effects on diminishing female fertility suggest that horny goat weed extracts may have some significant estrogenic properties. This would make these supplements a promising potential alternative to hormone replacement therapy for post-menopausal women and a potential functional therapy for women suffering from painful or irregular periods. Much more research is needed to confirm this potential.

Epimedium is an herb classified by Chinese medicine as a Yang tonic.  It is warm, spicy and sweet, and affects the Liver and Kidney meridians.

PREPARATION & ADMINISTRATION

The leaves of horny goat weed plants are harvested, dried, then crushed and/or decocted for use in medicinal applications. These supplements are most effective (most bioavailable for absorption) when ingested.

PRECAUTIONS

There are no studies or case reports where side effects were monitored from horny goat weed alone. However, when not used as directed, side effects of sexual supplements which contain horny goat weed as well as other substances can include mood changes, and anger. What’s more, there is some risk of addiction to horny goat weed supplements which typically contain a variety of declared and undeclared substances. Given the potential estrogenic properties of horny goat weed supplements, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid use.

You should consult with a certified herbalist, physician or other qualified healthcare professional before taking horny goat weed.

REFERENCES

Corazza, Ornella, et al. “Sexual Enhancement Products for Sale Online: Raising Awareness of the Psychoactive Effects of Yohimbine, Maca, Horny Goat Weed, AndGinkgo Biloba.” BioMed Research International, vol. 2014, 2014, pp. 1–13., doi:10.1155/2014/841798.

Jiang, Jun, et al. “Phytochemistry and Ethnopharmacology of Epimedium L. Species.” Chinese Herbal Medicines, vol. 7, no. 3, 2015, pp. 204–222., doi:10.1016/s1674-6384(15)60043-0.

Li, Chenrui, et al. “Pharmacological Effects and Pharmacokinetic Properties of Icariin, the Major Bioactive Component in Herba Epimedii.” Life Sciences, vol. 126, 2015, pp. 57–68., doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2015.01.006.

Partin, Jessica F., and Yaacov R. Pushkin. “Tachyarrhythmia and Hypomania With Horny Goat Weed.” Psychosomatics, vol. 45, no. 6, 2004, pp. 536–537., doi:10.1176/appi.psy.45.6.536.

Steriti. Estradiol. 2010.

Telang, et al. “San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.” San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. 2013, San Antonio.

Wang, Beibei, et al. “Anti-Fatigue Properties of Icariin from Epimedium Brevicornum.” Click Here, Biomedical Research, www.biomedres.info/biomedical-research/antifatigue-properties-of-icariin-from-epimedium-brevicornum.html.

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