Benefits of Epimedium (aka “Horny Goat Weed”)
Horny goat weed, also known as epimedium, is a genus of 21 related plant species. The Chinese refer to epimedium as “yin yang huo,” which has been loosely translated by some as “licentious goat plant” and explains why Western supplement companies have adopted the intriguing name by which it is known in the U.S. (horny goat weed).
Epimedium is grown as an ornamental herb in Asia and the Mediterranean region, and various species are used for health-related purposes. The use of epimedium as a health-related herb dates back to as early as 400 A.D. when it was used as a powerful tonic to support libido and relieve fatigue.
Horny goat weed is thought to work via modulation of cortisol levels, the primary stress hormone. Under conditions of high stress, increased cortisol
levels are known to cause fatigue and depress sex drive — so maintaining normal cortisol levels back into normal ranges is also thought to help maintain a normal metabolism, libido and enhance energy levels. Horny goat weed helps the body maintain healthy levels of testosterone, which supports libido, helps maintain relaxed, smooth muscles and promotes healthy blood vessel dilation. A constituent, icariin, found in horny goat weed has also been demonstrated to promote normal erections.*
Recent studies surrounding Epimedium and its active ingredient “icarriin” have resulted in scientists saying it could be the next Viagra. (Source: J. Nat. Prod., 2008, 71 (9), pp 1513–15)
Xin, Z. C., et al. Effects of icariin on cGMP-specific PDE5 and cAMP-
specific PDE4 activities. Asian Journal of Andrology. 5:15-18, 2003.
Cirigliano M. and Szapary P. Horny goat weed for erectile dysfunction.
Alternative Medicine Alert 4:19-22, 2001.