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Horny goat weed is a supplement used to remedy erectile dysfunction (ED). It’s also known as yin yang huo, barrenwort, rowdy lamb herb, randy beef grass, and brain tonic of the immortals.

Horny goat weed is sold over the counter. The active ingredient is icariin, the extract of a Epimedium plant that’s reported to benefit people living with ED. It’s sold as a tablet, capsule, powder, and tea.

In this article, we’ll explain how horny goat weed is thought to help people experiencing ED, as well as how it’s used, where it’s found, and more.

When you’re sexually stimulated, nitric oxide signals a chemical called cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) that causes the smooth muscle to relax, resulting in an inflow of blood into three tube-like cylinders in the penis which then leads to an erection.

With ED, an enzyme named protein phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) interferes with the nitric oxide and cGMP that relaxes the smooth muscle in the arteries. As a result, the blood can’t move through the arteries and create an erection.

ED is defined as the inability to get and maintain an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse. Most people who have a penis have experienced times when they were unable to sustain an erection, but that doesn’t mean they have ED. But if it happens regularly, you may have ED.

Icariin inhibits the activity of the PDE5 that’s blocking dilation of the arteries in the penis. This allows blood to fill the arteries and the three cylinders in the penis and create an erection. The prescription medication sildenafil (Viagra) works in much the same way.

As with many supplements, the claims about the effectiveness of horny goat weed are expansive. As is also true with many supplements, research on the effects of horny goat weed on humans is limited.

A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine investigated its effects on rats. Researchers found that rats treated with purified extract of horny goat weed showed improved erectile function.

Another study found that icariin is effective in inhibiting human PDE5, the substance that blocks erections, in test tubes. It also determined that sildenafil is 80 times more potent than icariin.

Horny goat weed has a long history of use in traditional Eastern medicine. According to legend, its name came about because a goat herder noticed his flock became sexually stimulated after eating the plant.

The plant is native to parts of China, Japan, and Korea. Today, it’s widely grown as an ornamental plant in many areas of the world, including the United States.

The side effects for horny goat weed are minor when it’s taken over a few month’s time. But horny goat weed can cause nosebleeds, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat. Large amounts taken at once can result in spasms and breathing problems.

There’s no set dosage for horny goat weed other than what’s on the package, but it’s suggested that you take the supplement for around a month to start seeing results. The supplement is always working in the background, even if you skip a day. Results vary from person to person.

According to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, horny goat weed does come with some risks.

The organization says that people with heart disease or hormone-sensitive cancer should talk with their doctor before taking the herb. The herb can lead to sweating or feeling hot, but more research needs to be done on the effects.

Some medications and medical conditions may place you at greater risk if you take horny goat weed. These include:

If you take any of these medications or have any of the conditions listed above, you should speak with your doctor before taking horny goat weed.

You should also avoid ibuprofen and over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers while taking the supplement.

Horny goat weed may cause an allergic reaction in some people if they have allergies to plants in the Berberidaceae family. Some symptoms of a reaction include rash, sweating, or feeling hot.

Horny goat weed can be dangerous when too much is consumed. There’s no set prescription dosage because it’s an OTC herb. There’s also not much scientific data to back it up as a medically sound supplement.

Horny goat weed has other medical properties, and is sometimes used to improve bone density. It may also help treat hypertension, heart disease, bronchitis, and even polio.

It works by smoothing muscle tissue. Any strained tissue will get a bit of relief. This can help with joint pain and numbness.

Horny goat weed is also used to treat:

There are other options for treating ED if horny goat weed isn’t for you. Standard treatments include medications, vacuum pumps, and surgery in some cases. If you’re looking for natural alternatives for treating ED, some to consider include:

  • red ginseng
  • DHEA
  • L-arginine
  • acupuncture
  • lifestyle changes, like stopping smoking or exercising more

Before trying any of these treatments, talk with your doctor to see what will be best for you and to rule out any illnesses that might be causing your ED.

The verdict is mixed on the effectiveness of horny goat weed. It appears to have some beneficial properties, but more research is needed to learn if it’s effective and safe for the general public.

If you’re experiencing ED, talk with your doctor before choosing any treatment options.

Find Roman ED medication online.