Epimedium plant, also known as fairy wings, barrenwort, or the more popular ‘horny goat weed’, contains aphrodisiac properties as well as certain chemical compounds, which include flavonoids that have antioxidant properties. This is in addition to containing phytoestrogens which exhibit effects similar to the estrogen.
Although there is limited scientific research to support this, epimedium is most often taken by mouth for sexual performance problems, including low libido and erectile dysfunction (ED). The herb is known for its ability to strengthen weak knees and back, as well as treat arthritis, memory loss, joint pain, mental stress, fatigue, and many other health conditions.
The herb has chemicals which might be effective for increasing blood flow and improving sexual performance. And like we stated earlier, epimedium contains phytoestrogens, which are chemicals that act similar to the female hormone estrogen. These chemicals might minimize bone loss in women experiencing menopause.
The Health Benefits of Epimedium
Let’s take a look at the health benefits of Epimedium.
Epimedium extract has been proven to be effective in reducing the risk of cancer cells invading the body as well as the migration of the metastatic cancer cells, thus showing that it contains the properties of an extremely potent anti-cancer drug.
For so many years, epimedium has shown to be a very powerful aphrodisiac. Icariin, a compound that is present in epimedium, functions by relaxing muscles, improving the nitric oxide levels, and boosting the blood flow to the reproductive organs. Icariin also increases libido and sexual urge. This is definitely one of the primary benefits of epimedium.
Icariin, a compound in Epimedium has been proven to support the growth and development of the osteocyte cells and is effective for bone remodeling, thereby showing that it can be used as an effective drug in the management and treatment of osteoporosis.
According to studies, epimedium can be effective in treating airway inflammation by minimizing the activities of certain proteins that support for the production of leukocytes in inflammatory areas in the lung, which helps to regulate the effects of asthma.
Enhances Athletic Performance
Icariin has proven to be a very powerful and potent supplement for people who engage in athletics and bodybuilding, primarily because it contains testosterone and Nitric Oxide enhancing properties, which both play a vital role in athletic performance, particularly in the area of bodybuilding and endurance.
Contains Anti-Aging Properties
Studies indicate that the flavonoids gotten from the Epimedium plant are very effective. It was proven that certain age-related metabolites, including amino acids, unsaturated and saturated fatty acids are potent. Therefore, epimedium icariin does contain some anti-aging properties and can one look younger.
Treats Erectile Dysfunction
In addition to being an aphrodisiac, Epimedium has been effective in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. As a matter of fact, studies suggest that the icariin in epimedium has the same effect as Viagra on the erectile tissue in the penis. Icariin can significantly boost testosterone, as well as improve sperm count and fertility. In fact, the icariin in the herb can go even further by inhibiting reproductive performance dysfunction in men by preventing PDE5 (phosphodiesterase type 5), an enzyme responsible for reducing blood flow.
Relieves Menopausal Symptoms in Women
The icariin present in epimedium has been proven to have amazing effects of bioactivity for a longer period than conventional menopausal treatments. Epimedium is also known to support balanced estrogen levels in women, giving a healthy effect for menopausal women. According to studies, epimedium is able to directly help the body synthesize estrogen, which is particularly effective in situations where there is an unusual lack of the hormone. This also has to do with female health symptoms connected to infertility, menopause, or other reproductive issues.
Promotes Learning Ability
Studies have shown that the when icariin is administered, it can significantly increase the blood flow to the brain and improve memory and learning ability. The effect is mainly due to the plant’s antioxidant abilities and its beneficial effect on the nerve impulses as well as the circulatory system.
Improves Heart Health
Epimedium’s icariins are potent for boosting blood circulation, which means a better, stronger heart and cardiovascular health.
In fact, according to research, the herb has the potential as a remedy for health problems that are connected to the heart and blood vessels. These issues include high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, heart palpitations, as well as heart failure and heart attacks.
Fights Fatigue and Stress
Hormonal imbalance, whether in males or females, can contribute to a lack of energy which, in turn, weakens the nervous system. Thankfully, studies show that epimedium can be effective as it helps the body recover from stress, fatigue, and burnout in so many ways. According to studies, the herb can help regulate cortisol, a special kind of stress hormone. When the body goes through enormous stress, it releases a lot more cortisol. Unfortunately, when excess cortisol circulates, this can result in thyroid and endocrine imbalances, tiredness, adrenal fatigue, low energy, and some other mild health issues.
Similar to other adaptogenic herbs like schisandra, gynostemm, and ashwagandha, epimedium restores energy and fortifies the body against stress.
Side Effects and Precautions
Generally, Epimedium has no significant side effects and is well-tolerated. However, some people may experience diarrhea, dry mouth, vomiting, and muscle spasms, that generally improves with time.
It is also important to note that:
- Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should steer clear of epimedium as it can unsafe if taken by mouth. The herb might also be harmful to the developing fetus. Thus, to stay on the safe side, avoid using the herb.
- Epimedium can lower blood pressure and so, people who already suffer low blood pressure are advised not to use the herb. This is because epimedium can drop blood pressure too low and increase the risk of fainting.
- Epimedium might slow blood clotting, increasing the risk of bleeding. In fact, using the herb might worsen bleeding disorders.
- Epimedium might slow blood clotting. This might increase the risk of bleeding, especially during surgery. It is advised that patients billed for surgery stop taking epimedium at least 2 weeks before their surgery.
- Epimedium functions like estrogen and can elevate estrogen levels in some women. In fact, the herb can worsen estrogen-sensitive ailments, such as breast and uterine cancer.