What s to know about horny goat weed

There are so many herbal supplements to consider for supporting women’s health, but one wins the prize for most original name. Horny goat weed is the tongue-in-cheek nickname given to a leafy plant whose scientific name is epimedium (or yin yang huo in the Chinese). In fact, the name was given as sort of a joke: legend has it that it a Chinese goat herder noticed heightened sexual activity in his goats after they ate the plant. The nickname has stuck.

The Benefits of Horny Goat Weed Women Should Consider

Horny-Goat-Weed-Women

There are so many herbal supplements to consider for supporting women’s health, but one wins the prize for most original name. Horny goat weed is the tongue-in-cheek nickname given to a leafy plant whose scientific name is epimedium (or yin yang huo in the Chinese). In fact, the name was given as sort of a joke: legend has it that it a Chinese goat herder noticed heightened sexual activity in his goats after they ate the plant. The nickname has stuck.

Horny goat weed has been used for over 2000 years to boost libido in both men and women, but it is frequently discussed in conversations about men’s health, particularly because of its use in treating erectile dysfunction. One reason behind this is that studies have shown that horny goat weed may enhance the production of bioactive nitric oxide, a chemical that mimics testosterone.

Still more studies have examined how icariin (the active component of horny goat weed) interacted with rats with erectile function caused by nerve functions. That research indicated that horny goat weed “may have beneficial effects on erectile function” for those with nerve injuries.

However, all of the focus on horny goat weed and men doesn’t mean that horny goat weed lacks benefits for women. In fact, it’s. The horny goat weed women take may affect everything from their sexual health to their bone health. So if you’ve been wondering if you should try horny goat weed, women, listen up. Here’s what the studies have to say.

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Horny Goat Weed and Estrogen

Horny goat weed does not just affect testosterone. It also may affect estrogen. A clinical trial has shown that “an extract of horny goat weed could increase estrogen levels and improve lipid profiles in postmenopausal women without any significant side effects.”

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Estrogenic botanicals like horny goat weed, including soy, red clover, kudzu, hops, licorice, rhubarb, chasteberry, flaxseed and alfalfa, may also have additional breast cancer preventive effects “linked to hormonal, chemical, inflammatory, and/or epigenetic pathways.”

Horny Goat Weed and Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, or “porous bone” is a condition that especially affects aging women. This is brought on in part by menopause, and the subsequent drop in estrogen. Extracts of epimedium have “long been used for bone health” and can “exert beneficial effects on bone health in estrogen-deficient and other osteoporosis animal models.” Recent clinical trials also support the use of epimedium, or horny goat weed, in support of bone health.

Other studies have shown that epimedium can prevent bone loss in postmenopausal women.

Horny Goat Weed and Aging

One use of horny goat weed women (and men) may be interested in is its potential anti-aging effects. One study of the effects of horny goat weed on aging looked at the effect of epimedium on age-related metabolites in aging rats; these metabolites include unsaturated fatty acids, saturated fatty acids, nucleotides, carnosine, ergothioneine and amino acids. Each metabolite showed “age related changes” that “were reset to a younger level” after administration.

Conclusions

Overall, a literature review concluded that “modern pharmacology studies and clinical practice demonstrated that Epimedium and its active compounds possess wide pharmacological actions, especially in strengthening yang, hormone regulation, anti-osteoporosis, immunological function modulation, anti-oxidation and anti-tumor, anti-aging, anti-atherosclerosis and anti-depressant activities.”

There are many ways to enjoy horny goat weed. It can be made into a delicious herbal tea, either homemade or in store-bought tea bags.

Some prefer capsules or tablets, or even tinctures. Many of these come in forms specifically for targeting women’s libido, or supporting ideal estrogen levels.

What’s to know about horny goat weed?

Horny goat weed is a traditional Chinese medicinal herb. Some claim it can help treat erectile dysfunction and osteoporosis.

People used the herb as an alternative medication for:

Human research data to support the use of horny goat weed is limited at best. However, some anecdotal evidence and animal and cell studies claim health benefits.

This article explores the uses, dosages, and side effects of horny goat weed.

A horny goat weed leaf against dark background vegetation

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common problem affecting people of all ages, particularly those over 40 . Estimates claim that 30-50 million people in the United States experience ED. At times, people may experience psychological conditions, such as depression or anxiety, that may cause or contribute to ED.

Many people claim that horny goat weed can be a natural remedy for ED. However, these claims are often anecdotal, and research is lacking.

An older study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine assessed the effects of horny goat weed on nerve damage in animals and cellular trials. The researchers reported that icariin, the active component of horny goat weed, might show positive and promising effects in treating ED resulting from nerve injury.

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Although there is some evidence that horny goat weed may help treat the cellular mechanisms of ED, additional research is necessary.

At this time, there is not enough research to confirm the safety of horny goat weed during or after pregnancy. A 2020 paper published in Medicine did, however, evaluate its potential application as a treatment for infertility.

The findings suggest that horny goat weed may improve endometrial thickness in people with a thin endometrium. The endometrium is the lining of the uterus.

An endometrium less than 7 millimeters (mm) during ovulation may make embryo implantation more difficult. The researchers cite the need for more comprehensive studies.

Horny goat weed and breastfeeding

There are also unknowns about nursing while supplementing with horny goat weed. The Department of Health and Human Services advises against herbal supplements while breastfeeding or chestfeeding.

Studies have yet to identify the potential risks of horny goat weed consumption in pregnancy on fetuses, newborns, and children so a person should not use it.

Horny goat weed may have other potential benefits. However, research into other uses primarily involves animal and cellular studies and there is a lack of definitive human evidence to confirm many of its uses.

For example, a 2017 review found that horny goat weed may have antiosteoporosis properties in rats menopausal rats.

Other cell research has revealed the following possible effects :

  • anticancer effects
  • radiosensitizing effects
  • reversal of multidrug resistance in some tumor cells

Atherosclerosis is a condition where the arteries in the neck harden. For people with atherosclerosis, a mixture containing horny goat weed may be beneficial and result in improved symptoms and clinical tests.

People with hay fever may experience symptom relief from an herbal preparation featuring horny goat weed, according to older findings cited in ISRN Allergy .

However, those in the study took a supplement containing several other herbs, making it difficult to assess the value of horny goat weed for allergies on its own.

As with any medications, herbs, and supplements, it is important for people to speak with their doctor before using horny goat weed. A doctor can work out its safety and dosage based on an individual’s needs and medical history.

Alternative medication should not take the place of traditional medication. People should also follow recommendations from their primary care practitioner.

As with any medication or herbal supplement, some people may experience side effects or adverse reactions when using horny goat weed. Possible side effects may include:

  • breathing problems
  • racing heart
  • increased energy
  • sweating
  • feelings of being hot

It is important for people to speak with a doctor about these or any other side effects that occur with the use of horny goat weed.

Horny goat weed may have negative interactions with certain medications, including:

  • warfarin
  • amitriptyline
  • cyclosporin
  • phenytoin
  • glyceryl trinitrate and other nitrates
  • estrogen
  • clarithromycin and erythromycin
  • drugs causing hypotension
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People should not take horny goat weed if they:

  • have hormone-sensitive cancer, as the herb has been shown to promote estrogen production
  • have heart disease, as it can potentially lead to rapid, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, and excitability
  • have a known sensitivity to Epimedium
  • are taking aromatase inhibitors such as anastrozole, exemestane, and letrozole
  • a doctor advises against it

Anyone considering using horny goat weed should discuss it with their doctor first. Health experts can determine if horny goat weed is right for someone and what the appropriate dosing would be.

There have not been enough studies to recommend the use of this herb and to ensure its safety.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other government agencies do not monitor the quality, purity, or safety of herbs and extra caution is recommended.

More studies are needed to guarantee safety and identify potential side effects. If anyone does purchase herbs, they should be sure to buy from a known and reputable source.

Horny goat weed is commonly used as an alternative herbal medicine for ED.

The herb has ties to traditional Chinese medicine. However, clinical studies on the purported benefits of horny goat weed have yet to confirm its efficacy.

Last medically reviewed on April 19, 2022

  • Men’s Health
  • Vascular
  • Sexual Health / STDs
  • Complementary Medicine / Alternative Medicine