Horny Goat Weed: Side Effects, Uses, Benefits

The first thing that may come across your mind is probably what a silly name.

The name horny goat weed, (also known as Barrenwort) tells a lot about the herb already since it is often used as an aphrodisiac.

An aphrodisiac is used to assist in boosting a person’s libido, a term that refers to sexual drive.

Horny goat weed is much more than just a libido booster, however.

The herb has been linked to other improvements in sexual health and may also contribute to the general well-being of the body.

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What Is Horny Goat Weed?

Horny goat weed is a herb that has a very long history in Chinese medicine. The leaves of this plant are used for medical purposes.

There is a legend that says this silly name came from a goat herder. He noticed that after ingesting this plant, goats were starting to become more sexually active, so that’s why he gave it this appropriate name.

It’s also called “Natural Viagra,” and it is an ingredient of many natural male supplements.

Horny goat weed is also known as epimedium. There is a chemical in the herb, known as icariin, that contributes to many of the medicinal properties that have been associated with the extract.

The main action of the icariin is an improvement in blood circulation. This is why the plant extract could potentially lead to such a large number of health benefits.

The plant also contains compounds known as phytoestrogens. These are natural chemicals that have a similar action to the hormone known as estrogen in the female body. It may provide further benefits when consumed by women.

What Does Horny Goat Weed Do?

The main reason why horny goat weed is considered such a powerful natural supplement is due to the icariin chemicals that are found in the plant. When ingested in the human body, these chemicals causes blood flow to increase.

Blood circulation plays a critical part in keeping the body healthy. Blood contains both oxygen and nutrients, which are delivered to tissue throughout the entire body through this system.

If there is a restriction in blood flow, then several potential problems can develop. In some cases, this may even lead to life-threatening complications.

The improvement in blood circulation that comes with using horny goat weed supplements contributes to several advantages.

In addition to this effect, horny goat weed has also been found to act as an aphrodisiac. This may help the user experience improvements in their sex life, including sexual desire.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the significant benefits that horny goat weed supplements may offer.

Erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction, or also known as impotence, is a common problem among older men. It is an inability to achieve or maintain enough firm erection for sexual satisfaction.

The condition has many potential causes – there are even some foods that can contribute to erectile dysfunction.

The Asian Journal of Andrology reports that up to 88% of certain populations in the country suffer from erectile dysfunction.

Luckily there is a variety of treatments available now, and one of them is horny goat weed. Icariin – the active moiety from Epimedium (Horny goat weed) is the one that is responsible for all healing properties of this remedy.

This is largely due to its ability to boost Nitric Oxide level. Acting like a chemical transmitter Nitric Oxide provides successful blood delivery to the erectile tissue of a penis.

Osteoporosis

Icariin is also used for osteoporosis and healing the bone fracture. It can stimulate the formation of a new bone and boost bone density by joining vitamin D and calcium – making a powerful weapon against this disease.

Low libido

Horny goat weed can boost free-forms levels of testosterone, and that way enhance sex drive, powerful ejaculations, improve sperm production, and increase sperm count.

Stress

Icariin can also antidepressant-like benefits and may help people to deal with stress and even depression.

Other reasons why people may turn to horny goat weed include:

  • To help reduce the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on the brain

  • To fight against fatigue

  • To assist in improving performance and output during bodybuilding programs

  • To protect against heart disease

How Effective Is Horny Goat Weed For ED?

Horny goat weed has become one of the most recommended supplements for men who experience signs of erectile dysfunction.

It is also often recommended as a great natural way to get stronger erections.

The condition is unpleasant and can have a significant impact on a man’s life. Thus, looking for alternative treatment is important, due to the side-effects that have been associated with erectile dysfunction drugs.

Even though the use of horny goat weed for men with erectile difficulties is heavily promoted, it is important that we turn our attention toward scientific studies to find out more about how effective the herbal extract really is.

Before we look at the studies, it is essential that we consider how horny goat weed works to assist in reducing the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

The icariin content not only helps to boost blood flow in the body but also blocks an enzyme known as PDE5.

This enzyme is known to cause a restriction in blood vessel dilation within the penis and surrounding areas.

When the enzyme’s activity is blocked, then these blood vessels can dilate more effectively. In turn, more blood can enter the penis – this would then lead to improved erectile function.

Currently, studies on how effective icariin in horny goat weed is for erectile dysfunction are somewhat limited.

One study did describe that icariin content used in a test was able to block Phosphodiesterase-5 in human samples effectively.

This is the same activity that Sildenafil, one of the most common drugs for ED, targets to produce improvements in the man’s ability to have a healthy erection.

There is also an animal-based study that showed potential. Scientists tested the effects of a purified horny goat weed extract on rat models. There was a significant improvement in erectile function among these rats.

Even though an animal-model study, the results did indicate the potential of horny goat weed extracts and called for further research to be conducted on the subject.

Does Horny Goat Weed Have Side Effects?

This herb is considered safe if it’s used in appropriate doses; if not, then it can be toxic to the liver and kidney.

Children, pregnant women, women breastfeeding, and people with heartbeat irregularities or low blood pressure should avoid using horny goat weed.

Also, it’s not recommended to use before surgery because it can slow down blood clotting.

It can also increase the level of estrogen in women, so it can make estrogen-sensitive conditions like uterine cancer or breast cancer.

Like with every other remedy, before using, you should consult with your doctor and check the label of the product.

Some of the side effects of this remedy are:

  • Thirst

  • Increased risk of bleeding

  • Vomiting

  • Fainting

  • Dry mouth

  • Upset stomach

  • Nosebleeds

  • Dizziness

  • Low pressure

  • Mood changes

  • Irregular heartbeat

If it’s used in high doses or for an extended period, it can even cause severe breathing problems, respiratory failure, or spasm.

Also, you should keep in mind that if you are taking any other supplement or medicine, you should consult with your doctor first. Interaction of Horny goat weed with other medicine can be quite dangerous and even fatal.

Specific medications that are not advised to be mixed with a supplement that contains epimedium extract include:

  • Estrogen replacement drugs, such as Premarin.

  • Drugs used to treat hypertension. These are also called antihypertensive drugs. They include Vasotec, Cozaar, Lasix, Capoten, and more.

  • Drugs that have irregular heartbeat listed as a side-effect. Such drugs may consist of Pronestyl, Tikosyn, Corvert, Cordarone, Mellaril, and Betapace, among others.

  • Anticoagulant drugs, or antiplatelet drugs, used to slow down the blood clotting process. Examples of these medications include Voltaren, Aspirin, Advil, Lovenox, Coumadin, Motrin, and Cataflam.

When combined with these drugs, there is a risk that the person may experience certain adverse effects like an increased risk of bleeding.

When such a complication occurs, then the person’s life may be put at risk, especially if medical help is not obtained quickly.

Dosage

Some studies have provided basic guidelines on how much horny goat weed extract may yield beneficial effects for certain conditions.

A daily dose of 15 grams of horny goat weed extract seems to be beneficial for improving symptoms associated with erectile dysfunction.

The same dosage has been shown to provide promising benefits for people with atherosclerosis. The dose should ideally be broken into three separate servings per day. Each serving will consist of five grams of horny goat weed extract.

After reviewing several studies, Examine.com has also made specific recommendations. The report claims that the dosage when using horny goat weed as a treatment for erectile dysfunction should be considered in terms of the icariin content – and also be based on the user’s weight.

The dose ranges between 900mg and 1.5g icariin content per dose. A person that weighs 150lb would be able to benefit from 900mg, while a larger person with a weight of 250lb will need about 1,500mg.

It should be noted that this is considered a high dose that aims at boosting testosterone levels.

If the person using the supplement just wants a boost in sexual drive and erectile function, then the dose will range from 11mg up to 180mg, depending on the person’s weight.

The recommended dose for women who are postmenopausal and wish to improve bone health is 60mg icariin on a day-to-day basis.

It should be noted that these are general guidelines, and the user will have to adjust the dose according to how they respond to the use of the supplement.

Conclusion

Horny goat weed is primarily promoted as an aphrodisiac and a herbal extract to help men improve erectile function.

While both of these are properties that may be provided with the use of these supplements, there are several other benefits offered by the plant, as well.

Summary
Horny Goat Weed: Side Effects, Uses, Benefits
Article Name
Horny Goat Weed: Side Effects, Uses, Benefits
Description
Horny goat weed is a herb that has a very long history in Chinese medicine. The leaves of this plant are used for medical purposes.
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Sources

  1. Park K, Hwang EC, Kim SO. Prevalence and medical management of erectile dysfunction in Asia. Asian J Androl. 2011;13(4):543–549. doi:10.1038/aja.2010.131
  2. Dell’Agli, M, Galli, G, Dal Cero, E, Belluti,F, et al. (2008). Potent Inhibition of Human Phosphodiesterase-5 by Icariin Derivatives. Journal of Natural Products. 71 (9), p1513-1516.
  3. Shindel AW, Xin ZC, Lin G, et al. Erectogenic and neurotrophic effects of icariin, a purified extract of horny goat weed (Epimedium spp.) in vitro and in vivo. J Sex Med. 2010;7(4 Pt 1):1518–1528. doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01699.x
Alternative Text

Dr. Ahmed Zayed

Dr. Ahmed Zayed holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Founder of ZayedMD, Dr. Ahmed believes in making the knowledge as accessible as possible to patients. He had his work featured in reputable publications such as The Huffington Post. Other than his passion for writing, Dr. Ahmed spends​ his time outside the hospital at the gym or with a good book.

2 Comments

  1. Steve kalman

    With all the benefits Dr. Ahmed cites about Horny Goat weed I’m surprised it is not included in any of Ben’s formulas.

    • Ben's Natural Health Team

      Hi Steve, it is included in our Male Boost formula, under the name Barrenwort. For a full list of our natural ingredients in Male Boost please you can follow this link https://www.bensnaturalhealth.com/male-boost-tincture.html. Wishing you good health, The Ben’s Natural Health Team.

 

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