Epimedium (generic name)

treats Atherosclerosis and Sexual dysfunction
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Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Acetylicariin, apigenin, baohuoside I, baohuoside II, barrenwort, benzene, Berberidaceae (family), breviflavone B, buxueyangyan mixture, caohuoside B, chrysoeriol, desmethylanhydroicaritin, desmethylicaritin, diphylloside B, Epimedii, Epimedii Herba, epimedin A, epimedin B, epimedin C, Epimedium acuminatum Franch., Epimedium brevicornum Maxim., Epimedium cremeum, Epimedium coactum, Epimedium davidii, Epimediumdiphyllum, Epimedium flavone, Epimedium grandiflorum Morr., Epimedium grandiflorum var. flavescens, Epimedium hunanense, Epimedium koreanum Nakai, Epimedium leptorrhizum, Epimedium pubescens Maxim., Epimedium sagittatum (Sieb. et Zucc.) Maxim., Epimedium sempervirens, Epimedium truncatum, Epimedium wushanense T.S. Ying, epimedokoreanoside-I, epimedoside A, epimedoside E, Herba Epimedii, huichun zhibao, hyperin, icariin, icarisid II, icaritin, ikarisoside A, ikarisoside C, ikarisoside F, Japanese epimedium, kaempferol, korepimedoside A, korepimedoside B linolenic acid, luteolin, magnoflorine, O-methylicariin, oleic acid, palmitic acid, prenyflavone, quercetin, sagittatoside A, sagittatoside B, sterols, syringaresinol, tannin, vitamin E, wanepimedoside A, xian ling pi, xin-qin granule (long-spur epimedium), yin yang huo, zuo-gui-wan.

Background

The leaves of as many as 15 species of Epimedium are used as the herb known as yin yang huo in traditional Chinese medicine. "Yin yang huo" is usually translated as horny goat weed because the Chinese characters literally mean, "obscene goat leaves of pulse plants."

In traditional Chinese medicine, Epimedium (yin yang huo) is used as a bodybuilding agent, a yang supporter, an agent to reinforce muscles and bones, and a supporter to the health of the liver and kidneys. This herb is also commonly used to treat angina pectoris (chest pain), chronic bronchitis, and neurasthenia (nervous exhaustion). As with many other herbs in Chinese medicine, horny goat weed is rarely used as a single ingredient. Horny goat weed is traditionally used as an ingredient in a yang tonic and for combating wind-damp-cold blocking qi circulation.

Despite its traditional and popular use, there is little scientific evidence in support of horny goat weed. Currently, there exists a potential benefit for the treatment of atherosclerosis symptoms and quality of life associated with hemodialysis. Other promising areas include sexual function.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Atherosclerosis: Horny goat weed is traditionally used to treat cardiovascular disease. Early study suggests that horny goat weed may improve symptoms associated with ischemic cardio-cerebral vascular diseases. However, additional study is needed before a firm recommendation can be made.
Grade: C

Sexual dysfunction (in renal failure patients): Horny goat weed is traditionally used to increase fertility. One study suggests that horny goat weed may improve sexual performance and quality of life in patients with renal failure on chronic hemodialysis. Additional study is needed in this area.
Grade: C

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