“Horny goat weed: The libido booster

BY PENDA HONEYGHAN

Monday, July 23, 2018

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WITH its name inspired by the observation of farmers who noticed that goats and sheep became more excited around animals of the opposite sex whenever they consumed it, the Epimedium herb, or horny goat weed, has earned its place among the best erectile dysfunction-fighting and libido-boosting herbs globally. But nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant said its benefits are vast, noting that it is effective in helping to manage a number of other health conditions.

“Horny goat weed is a traditional Chinese herb that has been used in a number of their medicines and which have since become commercialised. It is no doubt more popular because of its influence on one's sex drive and because it has helped men with erectile dysfunction (ED), though Viagra is 80 times more effective in helping with the latter. However, overwhelming research, while much of it is animal-based, has shown where it also helps people suffering from osteoporosis and high blood pressure, for example,” Grant explained.

He notes that other areas which the herb has been touted as being effective in treating or helping to manage include:

•Improving heart health.

•Countering the blood disorder chronic leukopenia.

•Increasing oestrogen levels, particularly in post-menopausal women.

•Boosting circulation.

•Helping to treat conditions like vaginal dryness.

•Improving memory.

•Helping to increase lean muscle mass.

• Preventing bone loss.

Grant notes that some new research has also cited that the plant may have a number of other life-changing benefits including anticancer effects, anti-HIV activity, and may contribute to the reversal of multidrug resistance in some tumour cells.

The plant, which is also called Yin Yang Huo or Epimedium in Chinese medicine, has in excess of 60 species according to bioengineers; however, their strength and effectiveness may vary depending on their make. Grant acknowledges that while the plant has many notable compounds, species such as Epimedium brevicornum or Epimedium sagittatum, which contain the highest percentage of the active ingredient called Icariin, which is believed to be responsible for its health-promoting effects, are most potent.

“Icariin is what is referred to as a prenylated flavonoid compound. Flavonoid, which is an antioxidant, contributes vital anti-ageing effects such as ridding the body of free radicals. This is the same compound contained in some super foods such as blueberries, green teas and parsley. Importantly, it also contains PDES (phosphodiesterase type 5) which is known for its inhibitory properties. What it does, for example, is to block the dilation of the arteries in the penis which allows for blood to flow, which is why it is so highly regarded in the treatment of ED,” Grant underscored.

He said among the other notable compounds is Desmethylicaritin. This, he said, has been found to be very beneficial to female reproductive as well as sexual health. It is identified as particularly important to the libido of women during and after menopause since they often find themselves becoming less aroused during these particular periods.

Another compound, Quercetin, a bioflavonoid antioxidant, has also been a key reason the plant has grown in popularity. This is because of its cancer preventative properties. It has benefits for heart health, eye health and boosts the immune system.

And while there are many benefits to be had from consuming this super herb, Grant warns against consuming the herb heavily and without professional guidance.

“Like with any other medication or herbs, it is important to consult your doctor before using horny goat weed. For example, when consumed in excessive amounts, horny goat weed can raise blood pressure and so a doctor is in a better position to help you to work out your needs and the appropriate dosage required having considered your medical history and the potential side effects,” Grant instructed.

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