Sexual health is an important issue in quality of life. In males’ sexual well being, dissatisfaction in sexual life is significantly caused by erectile dysfunction (ED), which is defined as a consistent or recurrent inability of a man to attain and/or maintain penile erection sufficient for sexual activity. Or in layman’s description: difficulty maintaining an erection sufficient for sex.
Due to various reasons, including taboos and cultural restrictions, most men with ED do not seek for treatment. Still, ED-sufferers in Asian countries consider traditional herbal medicine as a reliable treatment for improving the overall well being. Hence, the presence of advertisements for erectile dysfunction herbs or supplements to “increase your sexual performance.
Erectile dysfunction herbs and other natural remedies have long been used in Chinese, African and other cultures. The lack of published clinical studies on their benefits may have pushed them to the bottom of MDs’ prescription lists, unlike prescription ED medications such as sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis). Still, there are users who swear by these herbs’ beneficial effects. Let’s take a closer look at one of the famous ED herbs and supplements: HORNY GOAT WEED.
Epimedium grandiflorum commonly known as horny goat weed is named after the legendary discovery of its aphrodisiac properties, by a Chinese goat herder who noticed an increased sexual activity in his herd after they ate the plant’s leaves. It is known for being an aphrodisiac and advertised as a testosterone booster. Its active ingredient, Icariin (also an alternative name for the herb), is known as a prenylated flavonoid compound and has been shown to exert much of the aphrodisiac effects of horny goat weed.
Why do people take horny goat weed?
Similar to other herbs horny goat weed has been a traditional remedy for low libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, pain, and other conditions in China for centuries. In fact it became a natural alternative to drugs for erectile (ED). This herbal supplement can be used to increase male sexual potency and also serve as a powerful aphrodisiac, thus boosting the libido in men. Similarly, the benefits are not limited to just boosting libido and sexual energy, it is also noted to increase lean muscle production to help men achieve a more muscular physique. This mechanism is the reason why it is an active ingredient of numerous supplements used by athletes and body builders. It helps produce healthy energy levels, supports endurance, and decreases the physical effects of stress to the body.
How does it work?
A potent vasodilator with anabolic and anti-catabolic effects from Icariin, works through several different mechanisms:
- increasing nitric oxide (NO) through PDE5 inhibition,
- acting as a potent anti-catabolic agent that increases the testosterone to cortisol ratio,
- increasing muscle contractility by deactivating AchE (Acetycholinesterase),
- boosting endogenous testosterone levels through increasing cAMP and luteinizing hormone and decreasing prolactin. It also is considered a Phytochemical Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator or P-SARM. A P-SARM is a phytochemical (plant-derived) compound that mimics the effects of androgens on muscle mass, strength, bone growth, drive, and sexual function, while at the same time not negatively effecting blood lipids or blood pressure.
How much horny goat weed should you take?
There is no established dose. Since there are more than 10 popular specifications of the epimedium extract, there is no unified dose. In addition, different people and different purposes of taking epimedium may result in different dosage. The appropriate dose depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions.
Can you get horny goat weed naturally from foods?
There are no natural food sources of horny goat weed. However, they’re sold in preparation under food supplements.
Horny Goat Weed Extract can be combined with other libido booster supplements to increase its potency such as with Eurycoma Longifolia (Tongkat Ali) and Tribulus Terrestris (Puncture Vine). Tongkat Ali, also known as Long Jack is another natural testosterone supplement that has been used for centuries. It comes from a plant found in Southeast Asia. The active ingredient in Tongkat Ali is popular in alternative medicine for its so-called testosterone enhancing properties – it helps release free testosterone in a man’s body. It is being used in alternative medicine to treat erectile dysfunction. The Puncture Vine on the other hand is a natural testosterone supplement that has been around for many years, and contains components that can increase testosterone levels in men. It is most often used for infertility, erectile dysfunction, and low libido.
The combination of these libido herbs may help increase sexual performance and activities. Still, for those who suffer from extreme sexual decline or erectile dysfunction (ED) , it is wise to seek professional medical advice.
Erectogenic and Neurotrophic Effects of Icariin, a Purified Extract of Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium spp.) In Vitro and In Vivo /J SEX MED. 2010 April ; 7(4 Pt 1): 1518–1528. doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01699.x.
Effects of icariin on phosphodiesterase-5 activity in vitro and cyclic guanosine monophosphate level in cavernous smooth muscle cells . Urology. (2006)
Epimedium brevicornum Maxim extract relaxes rabbit corpus cavernosum through multitargets on nitric oxide/cyclic guanosine monophosphate signaling pathway / INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF IMPOTENCE RESEARCH (2006; 18:335-342)