Nutrition Made Simple


April 05 2021



Epimedium is a herb which is endemic to China and is commonly known as “Horny Goat Weed”. These are evergreen hardy perennials and have four parted flowers which grow in spring. The flowers appear spider-like. The species which is used commonly in supplements is called Epimedium grandiflorum which contains icariin which is a PDE5 inhibitor which means that it can be indicated for erectile dysfunction. 

Other names of this herb include yin yang Huo, bishop’s hat. fairy wings etc.  

Effect of Horny goat weed on Erectile Dysfunction 

The herb is popularly used as a supplement for erectile dysfunction. One study was performed in the lab to collect evidence with this regard. The study was performed on rats by looking at the effect of the herb on the damaged nerve and nerve cells. 

ED or Erectile dysfunction is a common problem faced by many men throughout the world especially in those between the age group of 40 to 70 years. Moreover due to this condition men have a greater tendency to develop other problems like anxiety, depression etc.

There are two main types of ED

  • Primary ED: This is mainly due to some physical abnormality or due to some psychological cause. In this type, the person is unable to sustain or even have any penile erection. 
  • Secondary ED: This particular type may occur due to the presence of some other condition such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, stroke or maybe because of some physical injury. This particular group of men may have had some penile erections in the past but may not be able to develop it later.

Moreover, due to consumption of some other drugs such as those used for the treatment of diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), Thiazide diuretics, clonidine, spironolactone, antidepressants, opioids, anxiolytics, a\use of alcohol or narcotic substance abuse such as cocaine, LSD etc, hormonal therapies or some anticholinergics. These particular types of medications may result in ED in some individuals as a side effect of these drugs. 

Although it is claimed that horny goat weed may lead to symptomatic improvement in the condition of ED, more relevant study and research data are required to properly validate the claim. 

What is ED and how does it happen?

Medically ED is defined as the inability of a person to either get or maintain an erection. Most men experience such a thing sometimes but it does not necessarily mean that they are suffering from ED. However, if this happens frequently with someone then they may have ED and should consult with a doctor for a proper diagnosis. 

The process of erection occurs when NO (which is Nitric oxide = a vasodilator) is released which sends signals to something known as cGMP (cyclic guanosine monophosphate) which causes the smooth muscles to relax due to which blood flow into the area is increased and ultimately results in an erection. With ED an enzyme which is known as PDE 5 (phosphodiesterase 5) interferes with NO and cGMP and tends to relax the smooth muscles of the arteries. Due to this blood cannot move through the arteries and results in an erection. 

How does this herb act to show possible effects in ED?

The active ingredient present in this herb is called icariin (as mentioned earlier in this article) which is found in this herbal extract in the range from 5% to 60% potency. 

This ingredient acts by releasing certain chemicals in the body such as NO (Nitric oxide) which helps to relax the smooth muscles. One such study revealed that icariin helped in the relaxation of rabbit penile tissue by realising NO and also by augmenting PDE 5 activity. Also, other studies showed that giving direct injection this ingredient into the penile tissue improves blood flow to that area. 

Icariin inhibits the activity of PDE 5 similarly to that of Sildenafil or more commonly known as Viagra.

How can this herb be used?

The herb is available in many different types of formulation in the market today ranging from: tablets, capsules, raw herb or even in combination with some other herbs as well such as with Yohimbé bark, Saw palmetto and Maca. 

Let's have a look at some of the side effects of consuming this herb?

In the initial period of consumption of this herb, it can lead to some incidences of rapid heartbeat, dizziness and nosebleeds. If a very large amount is consumed in one go, it may lead to difficulty in breathing or may result in spams. 

It is always advised to consult a doctor before starting any kind of supplementation for ED.

Some other health benefits of horny goat weed include:

  • Helps in the improvement of Bone density.
  • May help in the treatment of hypertension, heart disease, bronchitis and even polio. 
  • Since it works by relaxing the smooth muscles hence it may help in treating numbness and fatigue. 
  • Possibly for the treatment of Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
  • Low libido in both males and females.
  • Brain injury
  • Symptoms associated with menopause
  • Hay fever
  • Possible in osteoporosis.

Does Horny goat weed work to treat ED?

There are several products available in the market which claim to treat ED with this herb. Various kinds of formulations can be seen for this agent. But, there are not many studies or much research data is available to validate these claims. Some studies conducted in animal models show the effects of this herb in ED. Similar agent to this particular drug is Viagra which can be found and has evidence which shows its potential activity and effects in the treatment of ED.

So, if you are looking for a product which is safe and of good quality and you are wondering where can you possibly find such a product?

Alvizia Healthcare provides ALENUP Alvizia’s Testosterone Booster Horny goat weed 500 mg and Maca root 75 mg. This product contains 30 soft gel capsules and is easily available on the website for purchase. 

This article is the sole opinion of the author and Alvizia Healthcare holds no responsibility for the content. *

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


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