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Horny Goat Weed

Also indexed as:Epimedium brevicornum, Epimedium grandiflorum, Epimedium koreanum, Epimedium pubescens, Epimedium sagittatum
Horny Goat Weed: Main Image © Martin Wall
Botanical names:
Epimedium brevicornum, Epimedium grandiflorum, Epimedium koreanum, Epimedium pubescens, Epimedium sagittatum

Parts Used & Where Grown

The leaves of various species of epimedium have been used as the herb known as yin yang huo, which literally translates as horny goat weed, in traditional Chinese medicine. The various species grow naturally from southern central to northern coastal China as well as Korea. Other species of epimedium are found in many parts of the world, though their similarity to horny goat weed is uncertain.

  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for AmountWhy
Atherosclerosis
5 grams three times per day2 stars[2 stars]
Horny goat weed has historically been used in people with symptoms caused by hardening of the arteries. Preliminary research has suggested that it may improve markers of artery health in seniors.
Erectile Dysfunction
5 grams three times per day2 stars[2 stars]
Horny goat weed has long been used in traditional Asian medicine for people with sexual difficulties. It has been shown in at least one study to increase libido.
Hay Fever
5 grams (1 tsp) simmered in 250 ml (1 pint) of water for 10 to 15 minutes, three times daily2 stars[2 stars]
Horny goat weed has been shown to relieve hay fever symptoms.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Horny goat weed has played a vital, multifaceted role in traditional Asian medicine for at least 1,000 years. It is considered a yang tonic, particularly for the "energetic organ" known as the kidney (which corresponds to some extent to the Western concept of the kidney). Enhancing kidney energy in this setting correlates to improving sexual function and fertility.1 Animal studies conducted in China have investigated the use of this herb within the traditional conception of a yang tonic and found effective for that purpose.2 It is also considered helpful for combating what is known as wind-damp-cold blocking circulation of the body’s dynamic life energy, or qi, which in Western terms is similar to hardening of the arteries and related complications. It is particularly used to help people recover from strokes.

In most cases, herbs in traditional Asian medicine are not used singly, but rather as a component of multiherb formulations. One animal study in China found that a combination of horny goat weed and three other herbs was effective at reducing osteoporosis resulting from the use of cortisone-like drugs, but none of the four herbs used alone was effective.3 This finding supports the traditional notion that horny goat weed may be particularly beneficial when used in combination with other herbs.

Copyright © 2014 Aisle7. All rights reserved. Aisle7.com

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.


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