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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.

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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.

But what does horny goat weed do aside from increasing your drive? While it may boost sexual activity, that is far from its only purpose. Horny goat weed for women offers a wide range of potential effects and benefits to your overall health. Horny goat weed can 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. Premenstrual syndrome comprises a wide range of symptoms that can vary in type and intensity. These symptoms often include:

  • Mood swings
  • General fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Tender breasts
  • Sudden changes to appetite or food cravings
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression12

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

In both cases, symptoms come as a result of shifts in hormonal balance, which result in significant physiological issues.

    How Does Horny Goat Weed Work?

     The Effects of Horny Goat Weed

    Along with its potential aphrodisiac effects, horny goat weed operates via several mechanisms that may help to support overall health and wellbeing. Take a look at some potential horny goat weed benefits below.

    1. Supports Blood Flow

    In terms of western medicine, horny goat 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.

    Research suggests that icariin, the primary component in horny goat weed, may also possess powerful cardioprotective properties. This comes from several potential mechanisms of action, including reducing damage to DNA, correcting any dysfunction in the endothelium, suppressing the migration and proliferation of smooth muscle cells, preventing platelet activation, and modulation of lipids (fats and fatty acids). This all suggests horny goat weed benefits may include an ability to protect your heart and maintain cardiovascular health.13

    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.

    Icariin and its derivatives, icaritin and desmethyl icartin are found in Horny Goat Weed14. Extracts of Horny Goat Weed have been found to increase estrogen levels in postmenopausal women.19

    3. Lowers Stress

    Horny goat weed benefits may also include your emotional health as well. 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

    Testosterone has libido-boosting effects in both men and women. In trials with rats, horny goat weed boosted levels of testosterone.10 Another study corroborated the findings of the first study. The study involved separating a group of 48 rats into four subgroups: a control group, model group, testosterone group, and icariin group.

    Researchers damaged the reproductive systems in the latter three groups of rats for five days. The icariin group was given 200 mg/kg per day of icariin, while the testosterone group was given an injection of 5 mg of sterandryl. Treatment for these two groups continued for seven consecutive days with researchers monitoring serum testosterone levels, follicle stimulating hormones, and luteinizing hormone. Results of the study found that icariin not only improved the function and condition of the rats’ reproductive organs, but also increased the circulating levels of testosterone.15

    There aren’t as many human studies but there has been one case reported in which a horny goat weed containing supplement caused elevations in testosterone.11 

    5. Supports Bone Health

    In traditional Chinese medicine, horny goat weed has been used for centuries in the treatment of bone fractures and bone loss, particularly related to osteoporosis. In a meta-review, researchers looked at several studies on icariin that examined its function, structure, and effects on bone metabolism.

    The review found that icariin may promote bone formation by stimulating differentiation of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells. These studies also showed that icariin was more effective at osteogenic differentiation and maturation of osteoblasts than other common flavonoid compounds. One of the trials reviewed also reported icariin as a potentially effective treatment in preventing post-menopausal osteoporosis without any side effects.

    This two-year study found that women taking an Epimedium supplement detected “beneficial effect in preventing bone loss” compared with those taking a placebo.3 Osteoporosis can be treated with hormone replacement therapy. However, estrogen replacement therapy may cause uterine wall thickening, a condition known as endometrial hyperplasia. This effect was not seen in the women taking the Epimedium supplement.

    This all suggests that icariin (and horny goat weed) presents potential as a bone-promoting compound, particularly for post-menopausal osteoporosis.16 This suggests that horny goat weed for women, especially those entering menopause, may be even more integral to health.

    6. Supports Healthy Immune Function

    In another review study, researchers found that icariin possesses powerful anti-inflammatory properties that may assist with its potential to support the immune system. Mechanisms of action include icariin’s ability to regulate lymphocyte balance, manage cytokines involved with inflammatory response, and control signaling pathways.

    The results of the review suggest that icariin has a high potential for applications involving immunological and inflammatory diseases including asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.17

    7. May Support a Better Mood

    In a rat study, researchers measured the effects of icariin on stressed rats. The study found that treatments with icariin effectively reduced reversed certain cellular changes associated with depressive-like behavior and suggests that icariin has the potential to reduce depression and support mood. However, more studies involving humans are necessary before therapies with horny goat weed can be considered as an anti-depressant.18

    Horny Goat Weed Side Effects

    Horny goat weed side effects are generally minimal when taken by mouth, ensuring safe oral usage. 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

    Does horny goat weed work 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.

    In summation, what does horny goat weed do for you? Horny goat weed contains compounds that support circulation to sexual organs, support hormonal balance, boost testosterone, support bone health, and lower stress. DrFormulas Libido Booster for Women offers a concentrated extract of horny goat weed along with several other natural ingredients designed to help support a healthy sex drive. Talk to your doctor if you think you can benefit from horny goat weed.

     

    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
    1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20376780
    2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5644024/
    3. https://examine.com/supplements/horny-goat-weed/#interactions-with-bone_estrogenicity
    4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16751992
    5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29110063
    6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6055068/
    7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28395974
    8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18697183

     

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