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What is Epimedium?

Epimedium is commonly known as horny goat weed, it is a genus of flowering plants in the family Berberidaceae.

Epimedium: Benefits, Side Effects, Doses and Interactions

The epimedium plant contains icariin, which is a PDE5 inhibitor similar to the active ingredient in Viagra, sildenafil.

It is thus considered as a potential aphrodisiac and used in the treatment for erectile dysfunction. It is also known by other names such as Bishop’s Hat, Rowdy Lamb Herb, Fairy Wings, and Barrenwort.

Where Epimedium Comes From?

Epimedium first became popular in China; there is now a wide array of new Chinese species being cultivated in many western countries such as the United States.

Benefits of Epimedium

Epimedium is a versatile Chinese herb that has been used to treat infertility, impotence, forgetfulness, arthritis and back pain.

According to the study, it can also dilate capillaries and so it is used to improve blood circulation to the sexual organs as well as the brain, it also helps to lower blood pressure. It stimulates the production of men sex hormones. [1]

Epimedium is also beneficial for treating many health conditions. It helps to bring urinary incontinence under control.

It helps to stimulate germ eating immune cells known as macrophages and it reduces the risk of developing Gonorrhea. It improves blood flow to the heart by dilating the coronary blood vessels; this also helps to maintain blood pressure.

Epimedium also has testosterone-like effects which increase libido in both women and men. It stimulates the production of sperms, increases sexual desire as well as stimulates the sensory nerves. It helps to prevent loss of sexual function in men by improving blood flow to the penis.

This herb has been tested in the laboratory and found that its chemical components even fight against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) itself.

Side Effects

There are many types of Epimedium that may not be safe if used for a longer period, high doses can cause various side effects such as dry mouth, dizziness, nosebleed, thirst, and vomiting.

Taking it in large amounts might lead to serious complications such as breathing problems and spasms.

According to research, commercial products that contain horny goat weed along with other ingredients can cause abnormal heartbeats, such changes might increase the risk of getting heart arrhythmia. [2]

Recommended Doses and Timing for Epimedium

Nothing can be said about the specific recommended dosage for Epimedium due to lack of human trials, however, some animal studies suggest taking 1 to 2g daily. It is best to take before a workout or before bed.

Epimedium Supplements

Many testosterone boosters contain Epimedium; however, it is also found as a standalone supplement and comes in the form of tablet or capsules.

Epimedium Interactions

Epimedium seems to lower blood pressure; taking blood pressure medications might be risky; your blood pressure can go too low..

It can also interact with medications that slow blood clotting.

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Final Verdict

Epimedium contains chemicals which might help improve blood flow and sexual function.

It also contains phytoestrogens, chemicals that act like estrogen and might help to decrease bone loss in postmenopausal women.

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2 Sources

We review published medical research in respected scientific journals to arrive at our conclusions about a product or health topic. This ensures the highest standard of scientific accuracy.

[1] Xiang L, Li Y, Deng X, Kosanovic D, Schermuly RT, Li X. Natural plant products in treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Pulm Circ. 2018;8(3):2045894018784033. doi:10.1177/2045894018784033
[2] Beik A, Joukar S, Najafipour H. A review on plants and herbal components with antiarrhythmic activities and their interaction with current cardiac drugs. J Tradit Complement Med. 2020;10(3):275-287. Published 2020 Apr 6. doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2020.03.002