Nutrition Made Simple

HORNY GOAT WEED

March 09 2021

HORNY GOAT WEED - Alvizia

HORNY GOAT WEED - Alvizia

Horny goat weed is a flowering plant species known by various other names like Barrenwort, bishop’s hat, and yin yang Huo. It is native to China but is also available elsewhere in other Asian countries like Korea and Japan. It belongs to the genus Epimedium. The plant species commonly used as a supplement is Epimedium grandiflorum. E-grandiflorumis a deciduous plant with bright red stems and green colored heart-shaped leaves. The beautiful spider-shaped flowers may be pink, yellow, white, or purple in color and bloom in spring during April- May. 

SIGNIFICANCE IN TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE

E.grandiflorum has been revered in Traditional Chinese Medicine for nearly 2000 years for the myriad of benefits it offers for restoring vitality and impotence in men. Women have also used the herb for relieving postmenopausal symptoms and strengthening bone mass. Nowadays, this herb is utilized extensively in the western world in the form of capsule supplements.  

This herb is rich in various constituents like flavonoids that play a role predominantly as antioxidants or oxygen-scavengers. Apart from flavonoids, the herb is rich in lignans, phenol glycosides, and sesquiterpenes.  

BENEFITS OF E. GRANDIFLORUM

Horny goat weed is termed as an adaptogen. It works by acting on the hypothalamus region of the brain and controlling reproductive function, energy, and metabolism by acting on testes/ovaries and thyroid gland respectively. 

  • Horny goat weed for Sexual Health: 

The primary role of horny goat weed is in improving the sexual function of men. The chemical component majorly responsible for this is Icariin. Icariin is a flavanol glycoside. It is a PDE5 inhibitor invitro and mimics the role of testosterone in rats. There is also evidence suggesting it has a weak antioxidant effect. In both genders, it is used as an aphrodisiac. For this reason, it has been used for many centuries in China for erectile dysfunction. In women, it normalizes the ovarian cycle without any effect on the increase in testosterone levels. This is due to the presence of both icariin and desmethlicaritin that are phytoestrogens. So, for all the women reading this, you don’t have to worry about any masculine effects even if you ingest horny goat weed. 

  • For Muscle and Bone Mass: 

Research in animal models has shown that epimedium suppresses osteoclasts or bone destroying cells and stimulates osteoblasts or bone-building cells. This positively shifts the balance to maintain bone mass. This might prove to be useful in women to prevent osteoporosis and preserve bone mass. Epimedium also promotes cartilage formation and increases the level of nitrous oxide owing to the presence of icariin, making it a favorite among bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness freaks. Nitrous oxide might have been decreased due to aging, hormonal imbalance, or stress. 

  • For Cardiovascular Health: 

Studies conducted on Epimedium have found that it promotes the healthy function of blood vessels by preventing the hardening and maintaining elasticity. It normalizes blood viscosity and irregular cardiac rhythm. A study in menopause women found out that epimedium decreased cholesterol levels, thereby increasing heart function. 

  • Epimedium as an Antioxidant: 

Antioxidants are substances that prevent superoxide species from damaging cellular machinery. Flavanoids compounds present in Epimedium act as antioxidants and protect the mitochondria and other organelles in our cells that act as an energy production unit. The substances in Epimedium also enhance the synthesis of two very important enzymes, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase. These are responsible for protection against oxidative stress. 

  • For Managing Stress: 

Epimedium has been mentioned in traditional Chinese medicine to kill fatigue and stress burnout. During stressful situations, our body secretes a lot of cortisol. This flow of cortisol in the body can cause adrenal fatigue and hormonal imbalances resulting in tiredness and low energy. Epimedium helps by regulating this stress hormone and elevates energy levels. 

  • Epimedium supports Immune function: 

Epimedium has been found to stimulate the thymus. The thymus is an organ responsible for producing T-cells for combating infections. Epimedium also promotes phagocytosis which is a cellular activity to engulf cell debris and waste material and modulation of cytokines that help the immune system in targeting the infectious cells. Due to this reason, it also reduces the severity of bronchitis. 

  • Epimedium may stimulate hair growth and reinvigorate dead nerves.

A study of epimedium in mice resulted in hair growth by stimulating dead hair follicles and gave life to dead nerve cells. This research seems promising to combat all your hair fall worries.  

Now that we have established the unparalleled benefits of horny goat weed, where can you obtain it from? This herb is available as a supplement in the market to meet your needs. The supplements consist of the extract of leaves of Epimedium grandiflorum

SUPPLEMENTS, SAFETY, AND RISKS  

It is imperative to look at the safety profile of a drug before ingesting it. Horny goat weed is safe when used for a short term. There might be a possibility of mild side effects like upset stomach and mouth dryness. In rare cases, horny goat weed might result in irregular heart rhythm, nosebleed, and low blood pressure. Since it is an adaptogen, it must be used cautiously if you have sleep disturbances like insomnia. It may aggravate it.  

It is essential to consult a physician before starting a horny goat weed supplement. If you’re on blood-thinning medication like aspirin, horny goat weed might worsen it. 

Various supplements are claiming good quality horny goat weed extract. However, not all live up to their expectation and might cause unintended effects. Alvizia’s Alenup is a premium quality supplement containing a combination of Horny goat weed (500mg) and Maca Root (75mg) at an affordable price. Maca root also offers benefits similar to horny goat weed. It is called Peruvian ginseng and helps in improving stamina and sex drive. Combined effects of horny goat weed and maca root potentiate the reproductive health function in men by increasing blood flow to the male genital area and treating impotency. Alenup is available as a bottle packaging containing 30 soft gel capsules. 1 capsule per day before meals is recommended for experiencing its benefits. 

 

Tagged: Horny-Goat-Weed, Men-Health, Softgels

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