Horny Goat Weed: Pros and Cons

In traditional Chinese healing practices, Horny Goat Weed has been used since ages. This fact is a reflection of this flowering plant’s merits and benefits. In China and Vietnam, it is well-known as an effective sexual stimulator able to boost the hormone production in men and women to enhance a patient’s sexual performance and arousal.

As legend has it, aphrodisiac properties of this amazing plant were discovered by a goatherd, who noticed that goats grazing on the grass tended to show higher sexual activity.

Horny_goat_weedThe secret behind this kind of behavioral changes was discovered much later. The modern medicine has found that the plant is rich in phytoestrogens. These natural chemical compounds are known to help achieve a hormonal balance in the body. Additionally, they are beneficial to the bone health. This is the reason why, nowadays, you can find extracts of this herb in numerous pills, dietary supplements and teas sold worldwide for a variety of purposes.

What Is It Used For?

The most widespread use case for the herb under discussion is a complementary therapy for numerous health conditions, such as:

  • High blood pressure;
  • Heart diseases;
  • Low libido;
  • Erectile dysfunction;
  • Osteoporosis;
  • Osteoarthritis;
  • Joint pain;
  • Bronchitis, etc.

As the list suggests, this medicinal plant can help with cardiovascular problems too. This is due to its core feature, namely the capacity to boost the blood circulation and improve the blood supply across the body. Premenstrual syndrome, memory problems and low energy are also the cases where this kind of complementary therapy can be helpful.

Despite this wide range of healthy effects, there have been only limited strict scientific studies of the plant’s properties. The available results are mostly from in vitro (lab) or animal studies and do not provide us with comprehensive data in regard to how the mechanisms actually work in the human body. Most studies were focused on erectile dysfunction. Along with that, effects with bone conditions have been estimated too.

Erectile Dysfunction Use Case

Horny Goat Weed, commonly labeled as the “natural Viagra”, demonstrates solid evidence of being beneficial with a variety of sexual function-related problems. This is because icariin, an ingredient of the herb, can block specific proteins associated with different erectile issues. Ideally, the male body manages to suppress them itself. When the body fails, an erectile dysfunction occurs. So a treatment mechanism based on correcting the situation can be offered.

This is where the plant in discussion can be helpful. However, studies show that icariin produces much weaker action as compared to that of Viagra. This does not mean products derived from the plant are useless at all. They can improve male potency and the quality of erections significantly. The effect against placebo is noticeable. It is achieved through stimulation of the blood flow to the pelvic area, which is crucial for proper erections. This helps treat erectile dysfunction (mild to moderate) successfully.

Bone Health Use Case

Horny Goat Weed, just like many other plants, is rich in phytoestrogens. The substance is able to mimic estrogens naturally produced in the human body. Phytoestrogens are believed to be beneficial to postmenopausal women who suffer from bone loss due to depleted natural estrogen levels.

The hypothesis was tested by a research team of Hong Kong University. After two-year studies involving 85 postmenopausal female patients, the conclusion was made that extracts of the plant in subject really did promote prevention of bone loss. Along with the pronounced effect in terms of maintaining the bone health, the substance showed no adverse effects typically observed in women with this condition undergoing other therapy types.

Icariin is beneficial to bone health too as it was found to impede cartilage degradation, specifically in osteoarthritis patients. This is because suppressing specific proteins helps preserve cartilage’s collagen matrix. Unfortunately, the substance is unable to reverse an already present damage. Nevertheless, further progression of conditions like arthritis can be stopped to maintain the current level of a patient’s mobility.

Possible Side Effects

In general, Horny Goat Weed is considered a rather safe ingredient. The only precaution is to observe a recommended dose, which is about 5 g per day. An overdose can result in liver and kidney damage.

Additionally, there are certain categories of people who should avoid using this herbal ingredient due to their health condition. They are:

  • Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers;
  • People suffering from bleeding disorders;
  • People with heartbeat irregularities or low blood pressure;
  • Patients with endometriosis, breast cancer, uterine fibroids, prostate problems or another hormone-sensitive condition;
  • One of side effects is slowing blood clotting, so taking the substance prior to a surgical procedure is not recommended too.

Prior to using this product, people with any kind of chronic condition should consult their doctor to avoid possible adverse effects.