Help For Erectile
Mind Your Body, The Straits Times
By Joan Chew
Epimedium, also known as barrenwort, bishop's hat, fairy wings, horny goat weed, rowdy lamb
herb, randy beef grass or yin yang huo (淫羊藿).
Horny goat weed can address Yang deficiency in the kidneys which affects a man's ability to maintain
WHAT IT IS : Horny goat weed is one of those rare herbs that does exactly what its name
The third edition of the Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica mentioned how in northern Sichuan, there lived
licentious goats that copulated about a hundred times a day. Guess what they ate ?
Made up of as many as 15 species of a leafy plaint called epimedium, horny goat weed is now an aphrodisiac sold
in medical halls for human consumption.
Mr Low Soon Meng, a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner at Ma Kuang Healthcare Group , said only the
leaves of the wild-growing weed, known as "yin yang huo" (淫羊藿) in chinese, are used in TCM.
Mr Low said horny goat weed is grown and harvested in Chinese provinces such as Zhejiang, Sichuan, Fujian, Guang
Dong and GuangXi.
The medica said good quality herbs contain many yellowish-green leaves ,only a few stalks and are free of
It is sold at 40 cents for a 15g packet at some medical halls here.
HOW TCM USES IT : Horny goat weed, with its sweet, acrid taste, is considered warm in nature. It is said to move
through the medidians of the kidneys and liver,which are responsible for the health of the male sexual organ.
Meridians are channels in the body through which qi (vital energy) travels.
In TCM, the kidneys govern reproduction and can greatly influence fertility, whild the liver stores blood and
regulates qi circulation.
When the liver is weakened - which can happen when the body is under stress from anxiety or anger, and qi and
blood is blocked - it can lead to erectile dysfunction.
A man who is deficient in yang (the element linked to heat) in his kidneys will have the same sexual function
If his partner suffers from short periods or low menstrual flow - symptoms of coldness in the womb and yang
deficiency in the kidneys - their chances of conception are greatly reduced.
Other symptoms of kidney yang deficiency include frequent urination, lethargy, a sore lower back and knees, a fat
tongue etched with teeth marks and an aversion to cold, said Mr Low.
Horny goat weed can shore up this type of deficiency, which is a result of a weak constitution or overwork.
Finally, according to TCM, men who masturbate too much tend to deplete the jing (essence of nutrients) in their
bodies, and this could also contribute to erectile dysfunction.
WHO IT IS FOR : Horny goat weed is believed to help prevent impotence and increase one's
libido. Some TCM practitioners prescribe it as an alternative to Viagra for impotent men.
However, Mr Low advised men without erectile dysfunction to consult a TCM practitioner before using the herb to
boost sextual function. He said the herb, by boosting the yang in the kidneys, could then upset the balance of yin
(the element responsible for cooling organs) and yang in the body.
Mr Low said no more than 15g of horny goat weed should be consumed a day.
WHO SHOULD AVOID IT : Those who are "heaty" should avoid warm herbs such as the horny goat
Heatiness is evident in a dry mouth, flushed face, red tongue, quick pulse and feelings of vexatiousness, said Mr
Pregnant or breastfeeding women should refrain from using this herb because it effects on developing foetuses and
babies are not known.
The herb promotes blood circulation by dilating blood vessels, so those who already have low blood pressure
should not use it.
Using horny goat weed may reduce their blood pressure further and increase their risk of fainting, he said.
WHAT RESEARCH HAS SHOWN : A study on rats in the Asian Journal Of Andrology in 2006 reported
that a major constituent of horny goat weed, a flavonol glycoside called icariin, has testosterone-like
In the study, male rats, which had their reproductive system damaged by medication, were treated with
The two authors from the Shantou University Medical College in China found the intervention "improved the
condition of reproductive organs and increased the circulating level of testosterone".
They also found that icariin suppressed the extent of cell death in the penile muscles, concluding that horny
goat weed had "therapeutic potential in the management of hypoandrogenism (testosterone deficiency)".
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