Epimedium, also known as Rowdy Lamb Herb, Barrenwort, Bishop's Hat, Fairy Wings, Horny Goat Weed, or Yin Yang Huo (Chinese: 淫羊藿), is a genus of about 60 or more species of herbaceous flowering plants in the family Berberidaceae. The large majority are endemic to southern China, with further outposts in Europe, and central, southern and eastern Asia.
Western, and Eastern Asia and the Mediterranean
Traditional Herbal Uses And Medicinal Properties:
In Traditional Chinese Medicine Horny Goat weed is used for disorders of the kidneys, liver, joints, impotence and back pain.
It appears to have a testosterone building effect and it stimulates sexual activity in men, it increases sperm production, sexual desire, libido and sensory nerves. So it does appear to have all the right qualities to be an aphrodisiac.
It is also known to alleviate fatigue and remedy adrenal exhaustion and stress. It increases blood flow to the genital area thus enhancing sexual function and awareness. It also lowers blood pressure and nurtures and restores the energy within the kidneys. In women it is known to increase sexual desire.
Folklore and History:
The Chinese refer to the herb as Yin yang huo, which means "licentious goat plant." The use of Epimedium as a medicinal herb dates back thousands of years. Epimedium is one of the most valued ingredients in their tonics. Epimedium first recorded use dates back to the ancient text, Shen Non Ben Cao Jing (ca. 200 B.C..-100 A.D.) were it was used as a warming herb that improved male fertility. The herb received its more common name, horny goat weed, when goats grazing on the herb were observed to have significantly increased sexual drive.
Pinnacle Horny Goat Weed Ingredients:
Flavanoids, icariin, lignans, Fats, saponins, and essential oil, with trace amounts of epimedins, epimedosides, icariin, magnflorin, and quercetin.
Horny Goat Weed Herbal tincture-
Extraction Ratio 1:3
Alcohol Vol. 45%
Take 3ml -10ml per day, Spread over the day
Horny Goat Weed Cut Leaf Herb
1-2 desertspoons per cup of hot water up to 3 or 4 times a day. Taken as Tea
Or as recommended by a herbal practitioner.
If Horny Goat weed is not combined in the traditional way of Chinese medicine with a Yin herb then it can cause aggressiveness, irritability, fever and other "hot symptoms". Can raise blood pressure in excessive amounts.
Many species of Epimedium are alleged to have aphrodisiac qualities. According to legend, this property was discovered by a Chinese goat herder who noticed sexual activity in his flock after they ate the weed. It is sold as a health supplement; usually in raw herb, tablet, or capsule form and sometimes blended with other supplements. The over-exploitation of wild populations of Epimedium for use in traditional Chinese medicine is having potentially serious consequences for the long-term survival of several species, none of which are widely cultivated for medicinal purposes.
The "active ingredient" in Epimedium is icariin, which can be found in standardized extracts from 5% up to 60% potent. Strengths above that are usually reserved for lab use.
Icariin is purported to work by increasing levels of nitric oxide, which relax smooth muscle. It has been demonstrated to relax rabbit penile tissue by nitric oxide and PDE-5 activity. Other research has demonstrated that injections of Epimedium extract directly into the penis of the rat results in an increase in penile blood pressure.
Like sildenafil (Viagra), icariin, the active compound in Epimedium, inhibits the activity of PDE-5. In vitro assays have demonstrated that icariin inhibits PDE-5 with an IC50 of around 1 micromolar, while sildenafil has an IC50 of about 6.6 nanomolar (.0066 micromolar) and vardenafil (Levitra) has an IC50 of about 0.7 nanomolar (.0007 micromolar) Measured differently, the EC50 of icariin is approximately 4.62 micromolar, while sildenafil's is .42 micromolar The amount of oral administration of Epidemium extract necessary to achieve these relative concentrations is unclear from the literature.
A recently published Italian study modified icariin structurally and investigated a number of derivatives. Inhibitory concentrations for PDE-5 close to sildenafil could be reached. Moreover, the most potent PDE-5 inhibitor of this series was also found to be a less potent inhibitor of phosphodiesterase-6 (PDE-6) and cyclic adenosine monophosphate-phosphodiesterase (cAMP-PDE), thus showing it to have more specificity for PDE-5 than sildenafil.
Epimedium has been shown to up-regulate genes associated with nitric oxide production and changes in adenosine/ guanine monophosphate balance in ways that other PDE5 inhibitors do not.
1. "Epimedium Linn.". Flora of Pakistan. http://efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=5&taxon_id=111847.
2. "Horny Goat Weed may offer Viagra alternative". www.meeja.com.au. 2008-09-30.
4. Chiu JH, Chen KK, Chien TM et al. Epimedium brevicornum Maxim extract relaxes rabbit corpus cavernosum through multitargets on nitric oxide/cyclic guanosine monophosphate signaling pathway. Int J Impot Res. 2006;18:335-42. PMID 16395327
5. Chen KK, Chiu JH. Effect of Epimedium brevicornum Maxim extract on elicitation of penile erection in the rat. Urology. 2006;67:631-5. PMID 16527595
6. Ning H, Xin ZC, Lin G et al. Effects of icariin on phosphodiesterase-5 activity in vitro and cyclic guanosine monophosphate level in cavernous smooth muscle cells. Urology 2006;68:1350-4. PMID 17169663
7. Xin ZC, Kim EK, Lin CS et al. Effects of icariin on cGMP-specific PDE5 and cAMP-specific PDE4 activities. Asian J Androl. 2003;5:15-8. PMID 12646997
8. Saenz de Tejada I, Angulo J, Cuevas P et al. The phosphodiesterase inhibitory selectivity and the in vitro and in vivo potency of the new PDE5 inhibitor vardenafil. Int J Impot Res. 2001;13:282-90. PMID 12646997
9. Jiang Z, Hu B, Wang J et al. Effect of icariin on cyclic GMP levels and on the mRNA expression of cGMP-binding cGMP-specific phosphodiesterase (PDE5) in penile cavernosum. J Huazhong Univ Sci Technolog Med Sci. 2006;26:460-2. PMID 17120748
10. Dell'Agli M, Galli GV, Dal Cero E et al. Potent Inhibition of Human Phosphodiesterase-5 by Icariin Derivatives. J Nat Prod. 2008;71 Sep 9. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID 18778098