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Benefits of Horny Goat Weed for Women

The Benefits of horny goat weed for women

What is Horny Goat Weed?

Horny goat weed, or Epimedium grandiflorum, has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine  (TCM) for over two thousand years. These plants, grown primarily in the wild throughout Asia, are found abundantly at higher altitudes.

In TCM, Epimedium is known as yin yang huo, and that translates literally into English as “horny goat weed”. Practitioners of TCM believe that horny goat weed “tonifies the kidney yang.”1 According to Chinese folklore, horny goat weed was a favorite of the mythical yin yang, a goat-like creature. Like all legends, the story may contain a grain of truth.

Goatherds noted that their animals were much more sexually active after consuming these plants. The goatherds then tried consuming the herb themselves and evidently, the herb has been used ever since to improve sexual performance in both men and women

What Does Horny Goat Weed Do?

As its names implies, horny goat weed has long been used to boost sexual activity in men and women. Both men and women have erectile tissue that respond to a compound in horny goat weed called icariin. Icariin has been found to act like a phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor (in the same manner as Viagra but weaker). Icariin can therefore help support circulation to sexual organs.

While it may boost sexual activity, that is far from its only purpose. Horny goat weed can also be taken for premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menopausal symptoms. This is because horny goat weed is rich in prenylated flavonoids which have phytoestrogenic, or weakly estrogenic activity.9 PMS happens when the body produces less estrogen prior to menses. Menopause happens when the ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone completely.

Symptoms of menopause include:

  • Vaginal dryness
  • Low libido
  • Anxiety
  • Brain fog
  • Moodiness
  • Hot flashes
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Night sweats

How Does Horny Goat Weed Work?

 The Effects of Horny Goat Weed

1. Supports Blood Flow

In terms of western medicine, horny good weed contains the PDE-5 inhibitor icariin which helps support blood flow to sexual organs. This increased flow is an essential part of sexual desire and function.

2. Supports Hormonal Balance

Horny goat weed also contains phytoestrogens9, and these chemicals replicate some of the effects of a woman’s natural estrogen. This estrogen-like activity can alleviate some menopausal symptoms like low libido.

3. Lowers Stress

In trials with mice, administration of horny goat weed extracts reduced levels of cortisol2, the stress hormone. Too much cortisol in the body can lower sex drive.

4. Boosts Testosterone

In trials with rats horny goat weed boosted levels of testosterone.10 In humans there was one case reported in which a horny goat weed containing supplement caused elevations in testosterone.11 Testosterone has libido-boosting effects in both men and women.

5. Supports Bone Health

A two-year study3 found that women taking an Epimedium supplement detected “beneficial effect in preventing bone loss” compared with those taking a placebo. Actual estrogen replacement therapy may cause uterine wall thickening, a condition known as endometrial hyperplasia. This side effect was not seen in the women taking the Epimedium supplement. 

Horny Goat Weed Side Effects

Horny goat weed is safe when taken by mouth. However, side effects may occur if this supplement is taken in high doses. These side effects may include dry mouth, mood changes, nausea, swelling, increased heart rate, sweating, and feeling overly warm. In some people, horny goat weed may lower thyroid hormone levels. As with many plants, Epimedium may cause allergic reactions in certain individuals.

Do not use horny goat weed if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Because this herb has estrogen-like properties, women who have been diagnosed with breast or reproductive tract cancers should not take it. The same holds true for women suffering from cardiac issues or serious kidney or liver disease. If you have low blood pressure, horny goat weed may lower it even further, causing dizziness or fainting. Women with any sort of bleeding disorders should avoid horny goat weed. For this reason, stop taking the herb at least two weeks before any surgeries.

Horny goat weed may interact with certain medications. These include steroids such as cortisone, dexamethasone, prednisone, prednisolone, and methylprednisolone.

Horny Goat Weed for Women

There is a common misconception that horny goat weed can only be taken by men. Because of the underlying physiology of men and women are similar, horny goat weed can also be taken by women. Horny goat weed contains compounds that support circulation to sexual organs, support hormonal balance, boost testosterone, support bone health, and lower stress.

 

Sources:

  1. https://hcahealthcare.com/hl/?/104431/Horny-Goat-Weed
  2. https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/health-you-asked/what-horny-goat-weed
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17419678
  4. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-4391000
  5. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-699/horny-goat-weed
  6. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317023.php
  7. http://www.medicinehunter.com/horny-goat-weed
  8. https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/6-big-health-benefits-of-epimedium-for-women/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12787956
  10. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1745-7262.2006.00197.x
  11. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0009898111003627

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