Horny goat weed (Barrenwort) facts and benefits

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Horny goat weed (Barrenwort) facts and benefits 

Horny goat weed Quick Facts
Name: Horny goat weed
Scientific Name: Epimedium
Origin Mediterranean and Asia, but can mostly be found in China
Taste Sweet, acrid
Health benefits Anti-Ageing Properties, Controlling Asthma, Soothes Sore Joints, Supports Skeletal Health, Cancer Prevention, Considered a Natural Aphrodisiac, Relief from Menopause Symptoms, Bone Health, Balances Hormones, Muscle Strength
Horny goat weed, which has the scientific name Epimedium grandiflorum, is a species of flowering plant belonging to the Berberidaceae family. It is also known by many other names such as Fairy wings, bishop’s hat, rowdy lamb herb, randy beef grass, and Barrenwort, xian ling pi chien-hsieh, yin-yang-hua, Horny Goat Weed, Inyokaku and Herba Epimedii. Its origins are rooted in China but it is also cultivated in other parts of Asia as well as the Mediterranean. The genus of these herbs contains about 60 different types of plants. This herb is traditionally used for its aphrodisiacal qualities and is often called the poor man’s Viagra. The plant contains the active ingredient called icariin, which is responsible for most of its health-promoting effects. The legend says that it got its name when a Chinese shepherd noticed his male goat’s affectionate reaction to the female goats after digesting the weed. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners have been using horny goat weed for its various medicinal purposes for 2,000 years now.

Plant Description

Horny goat weed is a dense, rhizomatous, clump-forming, usually deciduous perennial plant that grows about 10-15 inches tall and 18-20 inches wide. The plant is found growing in moist deciduous woodlands in the hills as well as calcareous rocks in moist woodland. The plant prefers average, acidic, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. It also prefers loose, organically rich loams with consistent moisture in part shade. The plant has bright red stems.

Leaves

Leaves are both basal and cauline and can either be biternate or triternate. Narrow ovate to broad ovate leaflets (to 2-4” long) have spiny-toothed margins, cordate bases and acuminate to acute tips. New leaves emerge in spring with beige to bronze cast but quickly mature to medium green.

Flower

Individual flowers are divided into 4 parts with 4 smaller sepals outwardly. These are greenish in color and shed as the flower opens. On the inside, there are 4 large petal-like sepals which are mostly brightly colored. Inside these sepals are the true petals of the flower. They have a complex shape along with a ‘spur’ which produces nectar. This spur is longer than the sepals and the flower has 4 stamens. A particular genus called the ‘bishop’s hat’ has a peculiar shape of the flowers with the spurs longer than the petals.

Health benefits of Horny goat weed (Barrenwort)

Horny goat weed has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to treat a wide array of conditions and ailments. Currently there is no scientific confirmation backing up the following claims, however, anecdotal evidence recommends taking Horny goat weed may be effective for the following health conditions:

1. Muscle Strength

Horny goat weed consists of Icariin which is actually a powerful active ingredient that is responsible for many of its effects, including the increased production of proteins, which can boost cell growth and help to increase muscle strength at a rapid rate.(1)

2. Bone Health

Research has discovered that regular consumption of this herb is able to improve mineral uptake and lower the risk of osteoporosis. By increasing bone mineral density and preventing the leakage of minerals by the body, this herb can keep you strong and flexible as you age.(2)

3. Aphrodisiac

Perhaps the most famous use of this herb, it is able to regulate the levels of stress hormones in the body, which can prevent symptoms of low sex drive and menopause. Additionally, the antioxidants present in this herb can dilate the blood vessels and increase circulation. This means that proper blood flow to sensitive reproductive areas will be increased, thus alleviating the symptoms of erectile dysfunction in some men.(3)

4. Cancer Prevention

With antioxidant properties in this potent herb, supplementation can aid in preventing many different chronic diseases, such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and coronary heart diseases. Antioxidants can eliminate free radicals in the body before they can cause cellular mutation.(4)

5. Balances Hormones

Horny goat weed naturally balances hormone function without being an actual hormone itself. This could be helpful for women experiencing hormonal fluctuations during PMS or menopause. The herb may also reduce the incidence of dangerous side effects related with many hormone therapies.

6. Relief from Menopause Symptoms

Horny goat weed may encourage balanced estrogen and estradiol levels in women, hopefully providing a beneficial effect for those with menopause. In one animal research, researchers compared epimedium extract against a common menopausal treatment. They found that the natural plant chemicals in epimedium, like icariin, proved dynamic effects of bioactivity longer than a conventional menopause drug. Further testing is needed before we can determine if these same effects are replicable in humans.

7. Considered a Natural Aphrodisiac

Horny goat weed may be able to help normalize cortisol levels and reduce some of the negative effects of stress on the body, which can include lowered sex drive, mental fatigue and various problems with hormonal balance or sexual performance. By helping to normalize testosterone and estrogen levels, it may be useful for combatting symptoms like low energy, involuntary ejaculation and vaginal dryness.

8. Supports Skeletal Health

Research has demonstrated that icariin, among other active phytochemicals in epimedium, may prevent bone loss in postmenopausal women. One research found a significant difference in bone health between groups of women taking an epimedium supplement than the group taking placebo.

9. Soothes Sore Joints

Traditional Chinese medicine often make use of epimedium as a natural therapy for joint discomfort — a condition that can negatively affect a person’s quality of life and be a huge, constant energy drain. Mainstream research has been a little slow in reviewing the traditional use of the herb, but so far animal models support the traditional application against the condition.

10. Controlling Asthma

Research carried out in China has shown that Epimedium can be helpful in alleviating airway inflammation by decreasing the activities of some proteins that are responsible for the production of leukocytes in inflammatory areas in the lung, thus helping with controlling the effects of asthma.

11. Anti-Ageing Properties

Flavonoids contained in the Epimedium extracts reset the age related metabolites to a younger level such as saturated fatty acids, unsaturated fatty acids and amino acids. Hence it can be used as an effect anti-ageing drug.

Traditional uses and benefits of Horny Goat weed

  • Epimedium has long been used in Chinese medicine to promote wellness and to boost mental acuity.
  • Barrenwort plants have been used for centuries to stimulate the libido, improve sexual and athletic performance, ameliorate symptoms of infertility and enhance cardiovascular function.
  • In traditional Chinese medicine, Barrenwort is considered a yang tonic and is used to stimulate kidney function.
  • The plants’ leaves are mainly used to produce supplements, but, on occasion, the petioles and stems of the plant are also used to produce dietary supplements.
  • Horny goat weed has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years to promote male potency and as an herbal aphrodisiac.
  • It has been used to increase seminal emissions and premature ejaculation as well.
  • Horny goat weed is probably one of the most popular herbs used for the treatment of low male libido.
  • It is not just used as an herbal sexual stimulant for men but also used for the same purpose with women.
  • It has been used as an herbal remedy for bronchitis, asthma, antibacterial, antirheumatic, antitussive, hypoglycemic, tonic, and vasodilator.
  • Herbalists have used it to naturally lower blood sugar levels, to treat lumbago, arthritis, numbness, and weakness of the limbs.
  • Horny goat weed is supposed to be able to increase levels of epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine and could be effective as an herbal remedy for anxiety and stress.
  • Horny goat weed, when combined with Morinda citrifolia, could be a good herbal remedy to treat menopause and related symptoms.
  • Aerial parts of the plant are anti-asthmatic, antibacterial, antirheumatic, antitussive, aphrodisiac, hypoglycemic, tonic and vasodilator.
  • Its use lowers blood sugar levels.
  • It is used in the treatment of impotence, seminal emissions, lumbago, arthritis, numbness and weakness of the limbs, hypertension and chronic bronchitis.
  • It has an action on the genitals similar to the male sex hormone and can increase the weight of the prostate gland and seminal vesicle; it has increased copulation in animals and increases the secretion of semen.
  • Leaves are used as an aphrodisiac. Administered orally, the leaf extract increases the frequency of copulation in animals.
  • In women it helps in treatment for Menopausal symptoms and irregular menses.
  • It is a good treatment of osteoarthritis and gives relief from pain and stiffness in the joints.
  • It decreases inflammation in arteries and gives relief from symptoms of Atherosclerosis.
  • It reduces excess calcium and cholesterols deposits and prevents hardening of Arteries.
  • It treats anxiety and depressions. It relaxes nerve muscles and fights stress.

Ayurvedic Health Benefits of Horned Goat Weed

  • Reproductive problems of Males: Buy 2-10 grams of dried horny goat weed herb in four cups of water for 15 minutes. Strain it and drink one cup three times a day.
  • Kidney Diseases: Buy 4-12 grams of dried horny goat weed herb in four cups of water for 15 minutes. Strain it and drink one cup thrice daily.
  • Joint pain: Boil 3-11 grams of dried horny wed herb in four cups of water for 15 minutes. Strain it and drink one cup three times a day.
  • Libido booster: Take 20 gram of Cnidium Fruit, 20 gram Chinese Gall, 20 gram Ligusticum Wallichii root, 20 gram leaves and stem of Horny Goat Weed, 20 gram root of Morinda officinalis, 20 gram root of Chufa, 20 gram root and rhizomes of Notopterygium, 20 gram of Magnolia Bark, 20 gram rhizomes of Galangal, 8 to 10 cloves of Garlic, gram fruit of Schisandra, 10 gram bark of Cinnamon, 30 gram Roots and Rhizomes of Spikenard. Powder them together. Have half teaspoon with milk for a few nights. This formula boosts libido, in both men and women. Better results have been found especially in females. It warms up the body and enhances sex stamina.
  • Reproductive problems in Males: Ginseng Korean, Dong Quai, Dodder, Cinnamon, Chinese Liquorice, Rehmannia, Atractylodes Macrocephala, Black Musli, Astragalus, Hoelen, Psoralea, Dipsacus Fullonum, Morinda Officinalis, Cynomorium Songaricum, Horny Goat Weed, Mondo Grass, Chinese Raspberry, Achyranthes Aspera, Fenugreek, Cistanche Deserticola, Goji Berry and Paeonia Suffruticosa, in conjunction are beneficial for Reproductive Problems of Males and act as a powerful Kidney tonic. It is also useful in increasing low levels of Libido. You may buy the formula, containing the above mentioned Herbs. Capsule form is readily available. Consume 2 capsules per day.
  • Sexual Health: Morinda Officinalis, Dong Quai, Eucommia, Aconitum Carmichaelii, Goji Berry, Garlic Chives, Ginseng Korean, Cinnamon, Yam Rhizome, Cornus Officinalis, Cnidium, Rehmannia, Cynomorium Songaricum, Cuscuta Chinensis and Horny Goat Weed in conjunction are beneficial for male and female Sexual energy. It increases vitality and stamina. You may buy the formula, containing the above mentioned Herbs. Capsule form is readily available. Consume 1 capsule 3 times a day for one month.
  • Reproductive problems in Males: Ginseng Korean, Astragalus, Dong Quai, Rehmannia, Cuscuta Chinensis, Goji Berry, Fennel, Zanthoxylum Piperitum, Morinda Officinalis, Cornus Officinalis, Polyporus Umbellatus, Psoralea, Achyranthes Aspera, Yam Rhizome, Horny Goat Weed, Eucommia, Cinnamon, Paeonia Suffruticosa, Raspberry, Chinese Knotweed, Anemarrhena , Atractylodes Macrocephala, Water Plantain, Senega, White Peony, Anemone Chinensis, Honey, in conjunction are beneficial for Reproductive Problems of Males and act as a powerful kidney tonic. You may buy the formula, containing the above mentioned Herbs. Capsule form is readily available. Consume 1 capsule 3 times a day.

Horny goat weeds Precautions and warning

Pregnancy and breast-feeding

Horny goat weed is possibly unsafe when taken by mouth during pregnancy. There is a concern that it might harm the developing fetus. Avoid using it. Not enough is known about the safety of using Horny goat weed during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid using.

Bleeding disorders

Horny goat weed slows blood clotting and might increase the risk of bleeding. However, it is not known if this is a big concern. In theory, taking horny goat weed might make bleeding disorders worse.

Hormone sensitive cancers and conditions

Horny goat weed acts like estrogen and can increase estrogen levels in some women. It might make estrogen-sensitive conditions, such as breast and uterine cancer, worse.

Low blood pressure

Horny goat weed might lower blood pressure. In people who already have low blood pressure, using Horny goat weed might drop blood pressure too low and increase the risk of fainting.

Surgery

Horny goat weed slows blood clotting and might increase the risk of bleeding during surgery.

Allergic Reactions

It is possible to have allergic reactions to this herb, such as nausea, dizziness, and vomiting, particularly if taken in large amounts. Additionally, drug interactions are possible, so any use of this herb should be discussed with your doctor first.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=500264#null

https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/107838/

https://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Epimedium+grandiflorum

https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/epimedium

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=246056&isprofile=0&

https://www.drugs.com/npp/horny-goat-weed.html

https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/699.html

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=EPIME

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl/record/kew-2791255

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epimedium_grandiflorum

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