Horny Goat Weed and Erectile Dysfunction - Is it a Herbal Viagra?

Posted by Men's Health Restoration Team on Jun 24, 2016 2:14:57 PM

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Horny Goat Weed | Erectile Dysfunction History

Horny Goat Weed allegedly got its name from goat farmers who noticed that their herd would become notably 'frisky' after eating the weed. We have no idea if that's true, but we've checked out the research on some of the other claims surrounding this herb.  It comes from the plant genus epimedium and has been used in traditional Chinese medications for 1,000 years.  It grows naturally in both China and Korea. In the US, it is a supplement sold over the counter as tablet, capsule, powder or tea and is not regulated by FDA.  The supplements containing epimedium typically are targeted as an herbal remedy for ED, low libido, fatigue and pain (creating the horny goat weed / ED linkage). It may also be advertised as testosterone booster as was supported in one rat study. 

Horny Goat Weed | ED Link

The active ingredient found in horny goat weed is called icariin. Icariin’s mechanism of action is believed to be similar to phosphodiesterase (PDE-5) inhibitors such as Viagra®, Levitra®, and Cialis® but weaker in comparison. By acting as a PDE-5 blocker, it allows blood vessels to dilate and thus increases blood flow to the penis. Although its effects haven’t been studied on humans, rat studies have revealed its erotogenic properties. Icariin also promotes nitric oxide signaling which may work synergistically with PDE-5 inhibition to dilate blood vessels. This supports the horny goat weed / erectile dysfunction linkage.

Icariin was found to have pro-erectile properties at 10mg/kg body weight in mice which is equivalent to taking a 110mg dose for a 150lb human. It was also found to have higher effectiveness with repeated doses in the same rat study.  This being said, rats are not humans, so taking any dosage to treat health problems such as erectile dysfunction should only be done with the recommendation of your physician.  

According to the University of Michigan website "Traditionally 5 grams (1 tsp) of horny goat weed was taken three times per day, usually after being simmered (decocted) in 250 ml (1 pint) of water for 10 to 15 minutes", for horny goat weed / ED.

Horny Goat Weed | Erectile Dysfunction Side Effects

Known side effects for horny goat weed include nosebleeds, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat. Large amounts taken at once can result in spasms and breathing problems.  Taking horny goat weed while on other medications or having other medical conditions may place you at greater risk of each of these side effects, as well as if you take medications for high blood pressure, have heart disease, irregular heartbeat, and thyroid disease among others.  It is also recommended to avoid ibuprofen and other pain relievers while taking horny goat weed.  It can also cause allergic reactions.

Although horny goat weed / erectile dysfunction are linked in marketing an over-the-counter herbal remedy for ED, there are side effects and reaction concerns to be aware of and human studies are needed to show the effectiveness and safety.  

Horny Goat Weed | ED Alternatives

Read about other popular herbal remedies for erectile dysfunction here: 

Or, if you are looking for the Ultimate Guide to Natural Remedies for ED - Download our eBook:

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Talk to your doctor before beginning any supplement.  Other, more proven options are available to cure ED.  You may only be aware of oral ED medications, however there are a number of options out there.  For one, plaque build up in your penile arteries could be causing restricted blood flow to the penis. Removing those blockages may restore blood flow and return your sexual health. Get an ED Evaluation to find the right solution for you!

The Evaluation includes:

  • Two office visits
  • Penile Ultrasound conducted by a Board Certified Radiologist
  • Testosterone levels testing and results
  • 1 on 1 private consultation with one of our physicians
  • Trial medication dosage
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Topics: Erectile Dysfunction, herbal medicine, Herbal Viagra

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