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Horny Goat Weed – 10 Benefits, 4 Side Effects, And Dosage

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Horny Goat Weed – 10 Benefits, 4 Side Effects, And Dosage February 14, 2018

Quite popular for being a natural aphrodisiac, horny goat weed is known to improve hormone production and boost libido. It is a traditional Chinese herb that is called Epimedium in botanical terms (and yin yang huo in Chinese). There are a few other ways this herb can make one’s life easier – and we will see all of that in this post.

Table Of Contents

What Is Horny Goat Weed Used For?

Horny goat weed is used as a popular treatment for erectile dysfunction. In fact, one study concluded that it could be a promising treatment for erectile dysfunction caused by nerve injury (1).

The herb is also used to boost immunity, promote bone health, and for its anticancer and anti-HIV activities (we need more research for this). This herb appears interesting, doesn’t it? But wait, how does it work?

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How Does Horny Goat Weed Work?

Since the most important benefit of the herb is to treat erectile dysfunction, we will look at how it works in this regard. But even before that, we need to first understand how erection happens.

When one is sexually stimulated, the nitric oxide in the body signals a chemical called cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) – and this process results in an inflow of blood into three cylinder-like structures in the penis. This leads to an erection.

But during erectile dysfunction, an enzyme called protein phosphodiesterase type 5 interferes with the nitric oxide and cGMP – this prevents the blood from flowing to the penis, and as a result, prevents an erection.

And now, we get to the details.

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What Are The Benefits Of Horny Goat Weed?

Thanks to its icariin content, horny goat weed works wonderfully well for treating erectile dysfunction and boosting libido. It also improves testosterone production. The herb can also lower blood pressure levels and enhance energy levels to a considerable extent.  

1. Treats Erectile Dysfunction

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We already saw how the herb works. In fact, it has been used for treating erectile dysfunction in traditional Chinese medicine for several years. This ability of horny goat weed can be attributed to its icariin content – icariin is an active ingredient found in the herb that has beneficial properties.

Studies (preliminary, but promising) have shown that icariin can also help sustain an erection – and the herb can be used as a potential treatment for erectile dysfunction, and that too, with few or no side effects (1).

2. Increases Testosterone Production

Certain studies have stated that the icariin in horny goat weed can help increase testosterone levels. This also helps combat low energy levels and involuntary ejaculation.

Icariin has testosterone-mimicking properties, and this helps improve sexual desire and athletic performance. Studies have also shown how the herb can work as a sex enhancer by increasing libido.

According to a few top doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine, horny goat weed is the best sexual tonic for both men and women (2).

3. Improves Neural Health

Some sources say that horny goat weed can also help treat depression, which might also contribute to erectile dysfunction in some cases. And the icariin in the herb acts as a neuroprotectant – it prevents inflammation, which can otherwise lead to cognitive decline (3).

4. Prevents Osteoporosis

Reports suggest that horny goat weed can be used to treat osteoporosis and bone loss post menopause (4). Other studies found that the herb could restore the bone density of the spine. Icariin can also be used as an osteogenic compound in bone tissue engineering (5).

As per a study conducted by the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the icariin in horny goat weed could improve bone formation (6). 

5. Enhances Liver Health

Icariin has often been used in medications for primary liver cancer (7). However, we need more research before we can conclude if horny goat weed can improve liver functioning.

6. Might Boost Energy Levels

According to certain sources, horny goat weed can boost energy levels upon ingestion. But there are very few studies supporting this fact. Hence, we recommend you talk to your doctor before using the herb for this purpose.

7. Can Lower Blood Pressure

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Some sources say that the herb can help regulate blood pressure levels, and this is especially true in menopausal women (8). But be careful about its use – as studies also state the herb might interact with blood pressure medications (9).

8. Treats Insomnia

There is very little information on this. But horny goat weed can calm the nerves and ease anxiety – and can prevent the resultant insomnia.

On the flip side, the herb has stimulating effects. Hence, if not taken in limited doses, it can instead cause insomnia.

9. Can Make Skin Glow

Though there is no specific use of horny goat weed to treat any particular skin ailment, it might improve skin health as it stimulates blood flow. The blood flow improves the transportation of oxygen throughout the body, making your skin glow naturally. This also soothes the skin.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the herb can also cure herpes. But we suggest you consult your doctor before using it for this purpose.

10. Can Strengthen Hair

The growth of our hair depends on the condition of our scalp and hormones. In some cases, especially in men, hormones are the main cause of hair loss. Imbalances in testosterone levels can also lead to hair issues. Since horny goat weed can boost testosterone levels, it might, in a way, boost hair growth.

However, this benefit hasn’t been scientifically proven yet. So, consult your doctor first.

These are some ways horny goat weed can make your life easier. But if taken in excess, it can make your life difficult too.

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What Are The Side Effects Of Horny Goat Weed?

1. Bleeding Disorders

The herb slows blood clotting and can increase the risk of bleeding. It can also increase this risk during surgery – hence, avoid its use at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

2. Low Blood Pressure

Since the herb can lower blood pressure, individuals already on blood pressure medications can experience dangerously low levels of blood pressure if they take it. This can lead to fainting.

3. Hormone-sensitive Conditions

The herb can act like estrogen and increase its levels in some women. This can aggravate cancers of the breast or uterus, which are conditions sensitive to estrogen.

4. Issues During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

Ingesting horny goat weed during pregnancy might harm the fetus. Not enough is known about its effects during breastfeeding. Hence, avoid use in both the cases.

These are the side effects. But you sure can avoid them by taking horny goat weed in limited doses. And wait, how can you take it in the first place?

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How To Take Horny Goat Weed

You can take 250 to 500 milligrams of horny goat weed every day with water. This can include horny goat weed tablets or the leaf extract. You will also get the extract powder in the market.

Or you can prepare horny goat weed tea. Simply steep the leaves (remember the dosage) in hot water for about 10 minutes. Strain the liquid and remove the leaves. Have it in the morning and evening.

Ensure you take a week-long break for every month you take this herb. But keep in mind the dosage. An overdose can lead to the side effects that we discussed. The upper limits of the dosage for the herb are:

  • 900 milligrams of icariin for an individual weighing 150 lbs
  • 1,200 milligrams of icariin for an individual weighing 200 lbs
  • 1,500 milligrams of icariin for an individual weighing 250 lbs

The doses might vary as per the health conditions of an individual. Hence, it’s better if you consult a doctor.

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Conclusion

We are not sure if you will like the name, but you sure will like its effects. Sexual health (the herb’s most important benefit) can also have an impact on several aspects of your life. Which is why making horny goat weed part of your routine is a good decision.

Tell us how this post has helped you. Simply leave a comment below.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

How long does horny goat weed take to work?

Depends on what it is used for. If used for improving sexual desire, it can work within 60 to 90 minutes. For treating the underlying cause of erectile dysfunction and other ailments like weak bones, etc., it can take a week or more.

Can women take horny goat weed?

Yes, the herb can have similar beneficial effects for women too. But they need to be wary of its estrogen-like effects. Hence, it’s better if they consult their doctor first.

What is the best time to take horny goat weed?

Though there is no established timing, you can take it once in the morning and once late in the afternoon.

Where to buy horny goat weed?

You can get it from your nearest pharmacy or online on Walmart or Amazon. But please talk to your doctor before making the purchase

References

  1. Erectogenic and…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  2. 2. “Improve your sex life…”. Fox News.
  3. Icariin inhibits…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  4. “Icariin promotes tendon-bone healing…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  5. Icariin: a potential…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  6. Icariin augments bone formation…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  7. Anti-cancer properties of the…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  8. Horny goat weed”. Herbal Safety.
  9. Allergic rhinitis”. University of Maryland Medical Center.

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