Horny Goat Weed Extract: Nature’s Miraculous Aphrodisiac?

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When you first hear of it, the name might elicit a small chuckle, or maybe a quizzical look. Although the name has some linguistic merit, Horny Goat Weed traces its name back to a Chinese legend.

Supposedly, a long time ago, a Chinese goat herder noticed something strange about his goats. His flock would sometimes act quite strangely; energetic, lustful, horny. He eventually figured out that his herd acted this way after eating a certain type of weed. 

He took a patch of this weed and used it for himself to discover the libido increasing effects of this very strange yet powerful herb.

And thus, the legend of Yin Yang Huo was born. Today, it’s formally known as Epimedium, but more commonly known as Horny Goat Weed in the West. Though there are 65 species of Epimedium, the Chinese specifically only use a few of the species (such as Epimedium wushanense, Epimedium sagittum) for traditional medicine. 

So what makes Horny Goat Weed so special? It contains a chemical compound known as Icariin. This compound is common to Horny Goat Weed. Its primary use is to produce aphrodisiac effects. Research has proven that there are quite a few ailments that Horny Goat Weed supposedly helps treat, these include:

  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Osteoporosis
  • Postmenopausal conditions
  • Fatigue
  • Memory Loss

How Does Horny Goat Weed Work?

Remember Icariin? That’s the magical compound that does wonders for your body. How it exactly works is very complicated (if you’re interested, you can read it up here). But the gist of it is that it contains several enzymes that help balance your endocrine system, and reduce inflammation. It helps achieve this through certain antioxidants called flavonoids, which help with the maintenance of the body and have been proven to actually help the body fight against cancer. 

But the thing that really gets your libido going is the phosphodiesterase type 5 (or PDE5) inhibitors. These chemicals are usually found in pills such as Viagra, and will greatly improve the blood flow to your genitals. As such, you can expect Horny Goat Weed to work in a similar fashion, with perhaps the most obvious difference being that Horny Goat Weed is all-natural, where male enlargement pills may be partially or wholly synthesized and artificial. 

The Power of Horny Goat Weed

Horny Goat Weed is indeed a very special herb. The Chinese have been using medicine based on it for centuries, and only recently have there been in-depth studies by both Western and Chinese research groups conducted. Let’s go for a quick rundown on what’s known:

1. Natural Aphrodisiac

Ever have a really bad day? Bad early-morning traffic, a rough day at work, a never-ending list of bills that need to be paid. These all add up and eventually cause our body stress. And it is well known how stress wreaks havoc on our body: It causes our mental and physical fatigue to suffer, our energy levels feel low, our sex drive and performance greatly diminish. 

Horny Goat Weed has been found to help fight against the effects of stress. By normalizing cortisol levels, it is able to dampen some of these symptoms, if not outright eliminate them. It also balances testosterone and estrogen levels, which can help combat embarrassing sexual impairments such as premature ejaculation and vaginal dryness. It has also been found that Icariin has some anti-inflammatory properties. 

2. Erectile Dysfunction

The number one thing men don’t want to have in the bedroom. Most men are terrified of erectile dysfunction, and for good reason! According to research, about 5% of men over 40 years old suffer from complete erectile dysfunction. That number goes up to 15% by the time men hit 70! And this is just complete erectile dysfunction. Some men suffer from partial erectile dysfunction, with the chances increasing by approximately 1% for every year they’ve lived (i.e if you’re a man who has lived 35 years old, there’s a 35% chance for you to have partial erectile dysfunction)

So how does Horny Goat Weed help in this case? It boosts Nitric Oxide in your body! Nitric Oxide is the chemical responsible for ensuring that the penis gets enough blood flow to become erect. Lack of Nitric Oxide causes the penis to not get enough blood to have an erection. Adding it all up, Horny Goat Weed combats Erectile Dysfunction by adding Nitric Oxide to the body, which is essential in keeping the penis erect while it does its job.

3. Testosterone Production

Testosterone is the key male hormone. It’s responsible for a lot of things in your body: It affects your bone and muscle growth, your facial and body hair growth, red blood cell production. It even affects your mood (there are some studies out there that link low-testosterone levels with depression). But of course, it’s most well-known responsibility lies in how it affects a man’s sex drive and fertility.

Horny Goat Weed was found to increase testosterone production (at least in rats). Additionally, the same research even suggests that Icariin (which is in Horny Goat Weed) could potentially be used for repairing nerve damage. But of course, more research needs to be done in that aspect.

4. Menopause

While men only some have to deal with the chance of getting erectile dysfunction, every woman out there will eventually face a far more important experience: Menopause. Unlike Erectile Dysfunction, Menopause happens to every single woman out there. While there are some conditions that can cause menopause to happen earlier in a woman’s life (such as a hysterectomy, damage to the ovaries or cancer-curing chemotherapy), most women will experience this event past the age of 40s. And unlike men, where erectile dysfunction only affects one aspect of their life, menopause is a major shift in a woman’s body. Once a woman enters menopause, there’s no going back. Their body will radically change as it stops producing estrogen, the key hormone linked to women. Women become prone to a lot more health issues such as bone density loss, depression, heart diseases and so on. 

So how does Horny Goat Weed help against this? Remember, while Icariin is the well-known compound in Horny Goat Weed, it’s not the only one. It also includes prenylflavonoids, which act as phytoestrogens. Yep, you might have read the estrogen part there. Phytoestrogens are estrogens found in plants. If you’re wondering where else phytoestrogens might come from, they can be found in nuts and oilseeds. Soy and soy-based products are also known to be high in phytoestrogens. Once a woman’s body stops producing estrogen, it lacks a key mechanism in maintaining the body. Luckily, phytoestrogens exist which help in minimizing the damage done by menopause.

5. Estrogen Production

While men produce testosterone, women produce estrogen. Estrogen is an important hormone for women as it regulates a woman’s sex drive and the organs related to it. One more important factor is how estrogen plays in bone growth and maintenance. 

While Horny Goat Weed is used by men because of Icariin and how it helps in increasing testosterone, women can also use Horny Goat Weed as it also has desmethylicatrin and anhydroicaritin. These two are quite similar to Icariin but work quite differently from it as the two are known to help with hormone production for women.

6. Osteoporosis

As our body grows older, our maintenance system becomes weaker. Our muscles aren’t as strong as they used to be, we run out of breath far quicker, our memory isn’t as sharp as they used to be. While there are multiple ways to keep our body healthy, it’s just one key fact of life that older bodies are more fragile. This includes our bones, which eventually weaken. You might notice that as people get into their senior years they lose height, and it’s because of bad posture. This is because our bones become more brittle as they lose density as our bodies can no longer reproduce the bone densities of our younger years.  Osteoporosis is commonly found in older folks, but it is more common in women. According to research by the Cleveland Clinic, women are four times more likely to suffer from osteoporosis as compared to men.

Luckily, we have a variety of means to combat osteoporosis now. There are now a lot of products on shelves (with the most well known being formulated milk aimed at older women) that help fight against this disease. It also happens that Horny Goat Weed could perhaps become a potential weapon against osteoporosis. Researchers from Japan have found in tests with mice that subjects treated with Icariin have thicker bones and have significantly increased bone formation after just four weeks. Similar research was held by a group in China, which reports how Icariin helps in increasing bone density and formation. A third study also reports that post-menopausal women who took horny goat weed extract for 24 months had less bone loss on the spine and on the hips. 

The Risks of Horny Goat Weed

It doesn’t go without saying that there’s always a risk involved. Even your over-the-counter everyday drugs such as Paracetamol/Acetaminophen (which is more commonly known as the brand Tylenol) has some risks involved. As such, taking Horny Goat Weed has its own set of challenges. 

So, what risks do you face when you’re taking Horny Goat Weed? For one, you can’t assure the quality of the Horny Goat Weed to be consistent. If you’re curious as to why, it’s because Horny Goat Weed is an herbal remedy and supplement. What this means is that the quality is not directly supervised nor controlled by the FDA. You’re then highly advised to purchase only from reputable and trusted suppliers and manufacturers. Carefully read the ingredient list to make sure that you’re getting the right type and amount of Horny Goat Weed. Remember that certain supplements have other herbs or ingredients added to them. While most of those added are usually tested to be safely added to Horny Goat Weed, you may have an individual reaction to anyone the ingredients so take your time to find out the exact and complete ingredient list each supplement with Horny Goat Weed has.

As for reports on the safety of Horny Goat Weed, it has been reported that a specific extract of horny goat weed has been safely taken by mouth by a person for two years. Another report has stated it to be safe to be taken for up to six months.

Additionally, it’s impossible to overdose on Horny Goat Weed. But taking too much might cause nausea, thirst, nosebleeds, and dizziness. These are all relatively minor and should only be temporary, and can be outright avoided by taking just the right amount of Horny Goat Weed every day.

If you’re looking for the negatives, there have been reports of Horny Goat Weed slowing down blood clotting. If you have an open wound or are expecting surgery in the near future, then it is advised to avoid using Horny Goat Weed as it may cause the bleeding to increase as the blood cannot clot fast enough to seal away the scars.  For those going into surgery, it is advised to avoid taking Horny Goat Weed 2 weeks before the scheduled surgery.

Additionally, for those who are pregnant, it is advised to not take Horny Goat Weed at all. There has been no research done on how Horny Goat Weed affects pregnant women or the fetus that they carry. This means that it is unknown whether Horny Goat Weed affects the fetus, or, if it does, how it affects the fetus. While it is possible that there is a positive effect, there is also a risk that it may cause a form of impairment on the fetus. At this point in time, it is just safer to avoid taking Horny Goat Weed while pregnant. 

And as always, consult your doctor, especially if you have hormone-related conditions. Those with problems with the heart, liver, kidney, or are diabetic should definitely heed their doctor’s advice before taking any amount of Horny Goat Weed.

Final Thoughts:

Horny Goat Weed is an incredible herb that shows a lot of promise as a natural aphrodisiac. The Chinese have been using Yin Yang Huo for centuries; it is only now that formal research is able to start to prove the immense benefits of this oddly-named plant. 

If you’ve been suffering from erectile dysfunction, Horny Goat Weed should be the first supplement you try to get your equipment back in working order. It’s very safe and very effective. Have fun!