The Effects of Horny Goat Weed on Sexual Function

When you hear the word, “horny….”, the first thing that crosses the mind is sex. Clearly the Chinese sheep herder noticed an unusually high amount of sexual activity from a flock that was grazing on this plant which made him give it that name. And that name stuck to the beautiful flowering plants.

Horny Goat Weed

Horny Goat Weed

Horny goat weed can also be called epimedium and its genus name was given to it by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. Its other common names are fairy wing or Yin Yan Huo. The weed is endemic to Asia and to the Mediterranean region.

Effects Of Horny Goat Weed On The Body

First of all, epimedium contains Icariin. Icariin is a weak PDE5 ( phosphodiesterase type 5) inhibitor. It is mostly taken through the mouth.

So what does Icariin do?

  • It blocks the degrading action of CGMP- specific PDE5 in the smooth muscle cell lining blood vessels that supply the penis. This effect on the penis helps in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
  • It enhances the levels of cyclic guanosine monophosphate in sodium nitroprusside, to treat cavernous smooth muscle cells like the ones in the penis.
  • It mimics the effect of testosterone in the body. Studies in rats provide some evidence that icariin possesses testosterone mimetic properties. It has an impact on serum testosterone, but, icariin does not impact pituitary luteinizing hormone expression. It is, therefore, possible that icariin influences aromatase or 5-alpha-reductase activity in vivo and thereby modulate serum testosterone levels without directly impacting luteinizing hormone secretion.
  • A study by Zhen‐Bao Zhang et al.  reported the improved condition of reproductive organs and increased circulating levels of testosterone. Therefore, icariin may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of hypoandrogenism.

Other effects Horny Goat Weed

It also contains other chemicals such as phytoestrogens which are like the female hormone estrogen. It is very effective in postmenopausal women as it also reduces bone loss. The horny goat weed is also considered as a natural aphrodisiac. It may be able to help normalize cortisol level, which causes lowered sex drive, mental fatigue, and various hormone related issues. By helping to normalize testosterone and estrogen levels, it may be useful for combating symptoms like low energy, involuntary ejaculation, and vaginal dryness.

References

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