Horny Goat Weed Side Effects, Contraindications and Interactions

Horny Goat Weed Side Effects, Contraindications and Interactions

Horny Goat Weed Side Effects, Contraindications and Interactions

Being a plant with a name that speaks for itself, horny goat weed is one of the most popular herbal substitutes for ED drugs. Can it be used as the main medication for ED or only as an additional remedy for the big trinity – Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra? Let’s find out together.

The media often exaggerates the effect of ED (here and below – erectile dysfunction) on sexual lives and raises psychological complexes in men. Don’t let them create doubt in your mind: there are a lot of effective medications for this condition which provide you with prolonged and stable erections.

However, some of them have been known to humankind since ancient times and were later forgotten. Nowadays we can observe a comeback of natural supplements to the market positioning themselves as safer remedies for the male body than chemical substances.

Horny goat weed has an important place in the list of available “herbal Viagra” remedies. It is considered a relatively safe substance with lesser side effects than the majority of FDA approved drugs. It is sold over the counter in the USA, so anyone can buy it online or in a dietary supplement store, unlike stronger medications.

What Is Horny Goat Weed?

It is the species officially named Epimedium which has been widely spread in the eastern areas of China, Korea, Japan, and the Mediterranean. Nowadays, people cultivate horny goat weed in artificial environments in other parts of the world. The plant is used as a natural treatment for many diseases in Chinese traditional medicine. It is often used in combination with other herbs.

Eastern doctors use horny goat weed for:

  • bronchitis;
  • asthma;
  • viral infections of the heart;
  • leucopenia;
  • leucorrhoea;
  • congestive heart failure;
  • cervical dysphasia;
  • high blood pressure;
  • atherosclerosis;
  • osteoporosis;
  • hay fever;
  • high cholesterol;
  • brain injury;
  • menopause;
  • fatigue.

Even though this list may be continued, in the West, pharmaceutics add this ingredient mostly to the supplements intended for erectile dysfunction treatment and prevention.

The most important ingredient for those who suffer from ED is icariin. It acts in the human body as a PDE5 (here and below phosphodiesterase type 5) inhibitor. Sildenafil, the active component of Viagra, also belongs to this group of bioactive substances.

Horny goat weedThe horny goat weed’s name is not a coincidence. It is dedicated to goats and sheep which have demonstrated increased sexual activity after eating Epimedium and have been more interested in opposite gender animals. One topical study, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, was conducted on rats. It reported the group of rats given the plant’s extract during a specific period of time showed enhanced libido and erectile function in comparison to the second group which didn’t receive a remedy.

Another research proved the efficiency of icariin as a PDE5 inhibitor. The experiment was conducted on humans and showed some results in the improvement of erections. Nevertheless, icariin is 80 times less potent than sildenafil. That is why horny goat weed’s supplements work only in relatively high dosages and cure mild and moderate ED. They are not strong enough for the severe form of the dysfunction.

Icariin has other properties such as an anti-aging effect due to its antioxidant (flavonoid) functions. It is also efficient for women’s health maintenance and serves as the natural phytoestrogen in the body. This feature may cause undesirable effects on men’s health, though.

Additionally, horny goat weed contains:

  • epimedium A, B, and C which act similarly to icariin;
  • desmethyl icaritin and anhydroicaritin, which stimulate the male and female libido;
  • quercetin with its benefits for the heart, eyes, and immune system.

Horny Goat Weed Side Effects, Contraindications and Interactions

How Horny Goat Weed Works?

In case of erectile dysfunction, PDE5 blocks the vessels and interferes with the nitric oxide. The erection will not appear until there is enough blood in the penis to cause it.

PDE5 inhibitors such as icariin and sildenafil suspend the activity of PDE5. As the result, the smooth muscles relax, vessels dilate, and the blood flow to the penis increases. Horny goat weed enhances nitric oxide release which is normally secreted when a man is sexually aroused. Eventually, the penis filled with blood is gradually enlarging and becoming ready for intercourse.

Moreover, horny goat weed affects the erection mechanism indirectly to solve some issues which may be the causes of ED. For instance, it normalizes cortisol levels and relieves stress, eliminates hormonal imbalance, contributes to the testosterone production, and has anti-inflammatory features. All of these conditions, such as low testosterone levels, stress, weak immune system, or other health disorders, have a negative impact on libido and erectile function. Taking the supplement containing icariin and other components in horny goat weed is a complex approach to the problem’s solution.

Contraindications

Contraindications of horny goat weedHorny goat weed is determined as a mainly safe ED medication for the majority of patients. Those who have an allergy to any of components of Epimedium should avoid supplements containing the herb. The symptoms of the allergic reaction are the following:

  • rash;
  • sweating;
  • feeling hot;
  • blushing.

It is undesirable to use the remedy without consulting a doctor if you have:

  1. Heart conditions.

The supplement may cause rapid heart rate and breathing problems. Such processes affect your heart function in a negative way and overload this part of the body.

  1. Hormone-sensitive cancer.

The plant changes various hormones’ levels, so if you have life-threatening conditions connected to hormones, it is better to refrain from taking such medicines.

  1. Thyroid disease.

People with thyroid problems should be careful while taking any hormonal medicines and talk with their healthcare provider before starting a treatment.

  1. Recent or forthcoming surgery.

Do not start a supplementation if you are preparing for an operation. Horny goat weed increases the risk of bleeding during the surgery and after it. If you have already gone through the procedure, avoid the remedy for about 2 weeks or the period of time prescribed by your doctor.

  1. Uncontrolled blood pressure or bleeding issues.

Horny goat weed dilates vessels and improves blood circulation in the body. That is why it may worsen blood clotting.

Ignoring the contraindications leads to dire consequences. One man with serious heart problems was hospitalized due to the critical health condition which included symptoms such as shortness of breathing, chest pain, and arrhythmia.

Horny Goat Weed Side Effects

Horny goat weed side effectsWhat are the side effects of horny goat weed? The plant may cause minor undesirable reactions, mostly at the beginning of a treatment. Among them are the following:

  • nosebleeds;
  • dizziness;
  • rapid heartbeat;
  • spasms;
  • breathing problems;
  • insomnia;
  • sweating;
  • high temperature;
  • anxiety;
  • arrhythmia;
  • the initial increase in energy followed by fatigue.

If you use the drug in high doses, the likelihood of side effects increases. The herbal supplements containing the ingredient are not FDA approved, so the amount of the substance in products from different manufacturers varies.

The remedy in large doses also has an influence on estrogen levels in men. Measure your daily serving attentively because too much of the drug causes adverse effects.

Interactions

The plant interacts with various medications in different ways. Be careful with the next groups of drugs if combining them with horny goat weed supplements:

  1. Medications for high blood pressure.

Epimedium slightly lowers the blood pressure, so the combination of two antihypertensive remedies may be critical for your normal health condition. In the most severe cases, the patient experiences lightheadedness or even fainting.

A few brand names of such substances:

  • captopril (Capoten);
  • diltiazem (Cardizem);
  • enalapril (Vasotec);
  • valsartan (Diovan);
  • hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDiuril) etc.
  1. Blood thinners and other drugs that slow blood clotting.

Here is the same reason as mentioned above for bleeding disorders. Horny goat weed also has similar properties, so the combination of this plant with anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs can cause bruising and excessive bleeding. AspirinThere are some of them listed below:

  • aspirin;
  • ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin);
  • heparin;
  • dalteparin (Fragmin);
  • warfarin (Coumadin);
  • clopidogrel (Plavix) etc.
  1. Drugs that increase the heart rate.

A great variety of drugs have rapid heartbeat as a side effect. Two or more medications with such characteristics raise the risk of congestive cardiac conditions.

  1. Oral contraceptives.

This group of drugs regulates the level of essential hormones in a body. Together with horny goat weed, it can cause endocrine, men’s, or women’s health malfunctions.

  1. Alpha and beta blockers (Minipress, Cardura, Sectral, Tenormin).
  2. Thyroid medicine (levothyroxine or liothyronine).
  3. Antidepressants (especially MAO inhibitors such as Marplan, Nardil, Emsam, Parnate).
  4. Some of the natural supplements such as:
    • coenzyme Q-10;
    • ginkgo biloba;
    • L-arginine;
    • red ginseng;
    • passionflower;
    • horse chestnut and others.

Herbal supplementsDo not take Epimedium with similar herbal supplements. It is possible that some herbal complexes designed by reputable scientists for ED treatment can contain two or three active ingredients. However, it is not recommended to mix them without a doctor’s prescription because you can easily get unwanted effects or even overdose:

  1. Drugs that lower cholesterol (atorvastatin, lovastatin, rosuvastatin);
  2. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) – Voltaren, Cataflam, Motrin, Daypro.
  3. Calcium channel blockers (Cardizem, Tiazac, DynaCirc CR, Adalat CC).

If you are not sure about the particular drug interactions with horny goat weed, talk to your doctor about the combination of those two medicines.

Other Warnings & Precautions

As mentioned earlier, mild side effects are normal, especially at the first stages of treatment. However, if you notice the following serious symptoms, immediately seek medical help:

  • blood in the stool;
  • vomiting of blood;
  • vision or speech impairments;
  • extreme muscle weakness in limbs;
  • an unbearable headache;
  • anaphylactic shock.

Even though these effects are very rare, they can signal life-threatening conditions such as gastrointestinal bleeding, hemorrhagic stroke, or severe allergy.

Do not use horny goat weed for long-term treatment. The longer you use this remedy, the more side effects you may experience.

Large amounts of icariin lead to spasms and breathing problems. The pitfall of the supplement’s consumption is the absence of a prescription dose, which can be individual for each person. According to the studies, the proper dosage per day is 900-1500 mg on average but you would better specify it by talking to your healthcare provider.

Horny Goat Weed Benefits

Muscle growthApart from being helpful with ED, horny goat weed has other benefits for men’s and women’s sexual health.

The supplement showed itself as a useful natural aphrodisiac which normalizes estrogen and testosterone levels, boosts vital energy, and prevents premature ejaculation. It enhances blood circulation in the whole body, including the genitals which results in quicker arousal.

The plant is used in sports nutrition due to its ability to increase testosterone and accelerate muscle growth. Sportsmen who take supplements with horny goat weed notice the improvement of their physical performance and positive changes in their sexual lives.

Among women, it is popular as a natural remedy used during menopause. The herb reduces unpleasant symptoms of this condition and increases estrogen levels.

Scientists from the Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology at the University of Tokyo and Institute of Orthopedics Center of Lanzhou General Hospital in China found out that Epimedium has a positive impact on bone density. It makes it invaluable within and after menopause because of the widespread effect of bone loss in postmenopausal women.

The supplement is generally well-tolerated if the above-mentioned interactions are avoided. Still, it is not suitable for severe erectile dysfunction and helps only with minor erection issues due to the poor potency of its active ingredient – icariin.

You can order horny goat weed on the popular websites such as Amazon.com or purchase it in your local dietary nutrition store. There are many forms of the supplement for sale – tablets, powder, capsules, or even tea.

What Else Can I Try for Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunctionHerbal substitutes of FDA approved medications are great if used wisely. Only natural supplements and vitamins may not help to treat your ED. For those who found them inappropriate, there are several time-tested drugs such as Kamagra, Cialis, or Levitra. Also available other drugs called generics (like Tadapox) are also available on the market.

All of these remedies are for sale at ViaBestBuy online pharmacy. We offer our customers a 35% discount on bitcoin payments and provide them with fast delivery across the USA. Usually, the package will be yours after 7-18 days of waiting.