Medicinal plants

Epimedium Extract: Benefits, Uses and Side Effects

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Discover the Benefits of Epimedium extract.

Epimedium extract is a popular aphrodisiac supplement and herbal sexual performance enhancer.

It has a long history of traditional use in China for the relief of erectile dysfunction and to improve libido and fertility.Epimedium Extract: Benefits, Uses and Side Effects


Also known as barrenwort, bishop’s hat, fairy wings, horny goat weed, or yin yang Huo, this supplement supposedly got its name after a farmer noticed that his herd of goats was particularly awake after eating flowers of a specific type.

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These Epimedium flowers contain icariin, which is a natural compound that increases blood flow to the sexual organs and promotes sexual desire.

Icariin has been found to increase nitric oxide synthesis, as well as inhibiting the activity of the PDE-5 enzyme.

Epimedium extract is sold online in several different formats, including teas, capsules, bulk powders, and liquid tinctures.


While Horny Goat Weed supplements are generally well-tolerated, there have been some reported side effects and it is important to adhere to dosage guidelines.

Epimedium extract is derived from plants of the genus Epimedium. At least 15 Epimedium species are believed to possess medicinal characteristics.

These Epimedium species are used to produce a supplement known by various names, including Barrenwort, Horny Goat Weed, and Yin yang Huo.

Yin yang Huo is the Chinese name for the supplement, which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over a thousand years.

Within Chinese herbal medicine, Yin yang Huo is considered a tonic Yang and given to alleviate the symptoms derived from a decrease in Yang, the energetic versus Yin.

Therefore, in traditional Chinese medicine, horny goat weed is used to improve sexual function and fertility as well as to ensure the body’s energy or Qi can flow unimpeded.

Horny goat weed is used today primarily to stimulate sexual desire, enhance athletic and sexual performance, improve circulation, protect the kidneys, and correct erectile dysfunction, to name just a few of its contemporary uses.

Benefits of Epimedium extract

There is currently insufficient evidence to determine the therapeutic efficacy of Epimedium. Researchers continue to investigate horny goat weed for its ability to:


•Fight mental and physical fatigue;

•They induce vasodilation and improve circulation;

•Lower blood pressure in hypertensive patients;

•Improve the symptoms of erectile dysfunction (ED) through its action as a PDE5 inhibitor;

•Improve the use of free testosterone in the blood;

•Increase libido;

•Relieve the symptoms of depression and stimulate the improvement of cognitive function;

•Protect against neurological degeneration.


Although the research is in the preliminary stages, Epimedium Extract supplements have been used for over 1,000 years in Korea and China and are still popular to this day.

Icariin in Epimedium extract

Epimedium powder extracts contain an active phytochemical called icariin.

Icariin has been observed to exhibit several useful characteristics, including renoprotective (liver protection), hepatoprotective (kidney protection), cardioprotective (heart protection), and neuroprotective (brain protection) effects.

It is also an antioxidant and can cause vasodilation. It exhibits antimicrobial properties and is thought to act as an aphrodisiac.

Icariin is classified as a flavonol glycoside, which is a type of flavonoid. Specifically, Icariin is the 8 Lucas derivation of kaempferol 3,7-O-glucoside, a common and important flavonoid.

Epimedium as a PDE-5 inhibitor


Icariin from Epimedium extract is the natural plant substance that has been observed to inhibit PDE5 (cGMP-specific phosphodiesterase type 5). PDE5 may not be a known enzyme, but it may play a central role in erectile dysfunction.

In reality, many of the drugs on the market today for erectile dysfunction are made up of synthetic PDE5 inhibitors.

PDE5 stops blood from entering the corpora cavernosa, the tubular formations in the penis that swell with blood to cause an erection.


By inhibiting the action of PDE5, blood can flood the corpora cavernosa and cause the penis to be erect. Icariin works by inhibiting PDE5 as synthetic chemical agents in common sex-enhancing drugs.

Epimedium and rough sex

Many people prefer the natural PDE5 inhibition benefits of Epimedium Extract over conventional ED medications.

In addition to improving erectile dysfunction symptoms, Icariin has been observed to increase libido.

Synthetic PDE5 inhibitors only prevent the action of PDE5; they do not stimulate the sex drive.

Icariin in Epimedium extract supplements may also enhance the use of free, circulating testosterone.

Testosterone is closely related to sexual libido, sexual performance, stamina, tactile sensitivity, and other factors that are related to improved sexual and athletic abilities.

Some of these effects of Epimedium

Supplements are attributed to its vasodilator mechanisms. Vasodilation is the diametric enlargement of the inner lining (endothelium) of the lungs, heart, blood vessels, and other components of the circulatory system.

When these components are relaxed, circulation can be improved without a corresponding increase in blood pressure.


This means more nutrients from the blood, such as hormones, vitamins, and minerals can be delivered throughout the body.

This can lead to several benefits, from reducing recovery times after workouts and supporting organ health, to building healthy bones and improving cognitive function. It can also improve libido in men and women.

Side effects of epimedium extract

Is Epimedium extracts safe?

Reports based on traditional and current uses suggest Epimedium is generally well tolerated when taken properly.

Certain Epimedium extracts containing 60 mg icariin per dose have been used without adverse side effects for periods of up to two years.

When used properly, Icariin is probably safe. However, high doses for prolonged periods should be avoided because they can cause several adverse side effects.

Synthetic PDE5 inhibitor drugs on the market can cause the following side effects. It is not clear if Epimedium can also cause these side effects if abused:

Headaches or an upset stomach;


Wash chest, face, or neck;

Nasal congestion or abnormal vision;

Back pain or muscle pain;

Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea;

Ringing in the ears;

Abnormal heartbeat or chest pains;

Difficulty breathing;

Swelling in the feet, legs, hands, ankles, wrists, or gonads.


Be sure to speak with your doctor before using Epimedium Extract.

There are possible side effects, drug interactions, and other considerations that should be discussed with your doctor before implementing supplementation.


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