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What is horny goat weed?

horny goat weed plant
Horny goat weed is thought to help boost sexual performance but is it really worth it? Find out the different benefits as well as potential risks here.

According to a recent study, up to half of the men under 50 years old may be experiencing symptoms of erectile dysfunction.1

While problems with sexual performance are common, it’s a subject that many of us don’t talk about.

Unsurprisingly, we often turn to alternative methods to try and help with potentially embarrassing problems.2 Horny goat weed, in particular, is thought to help boost sexual performance.

But is it really worth it? We’ve got everything you need to know below.

What is horny goat weed?

There’s a reason behind this herb’s slightly unusual name. It’s thought that an ancient goat herder noticed his flock become friskier after eating a particular plant (officially called epimedium).3

There’s no doubt that horny goat weed has a long history in Traditional Chinese Medicine (it’s known as yin yang huo).4

The large, leafy plant has been used for centuries to treat a variety of problems, the most common being sexual performance issues.5

It’s thought that horny goat weed contains a chemical compound called icariin, which may help to protect against a wide variety of different conditions.6

It’s worth noting here that studies on how effective horny goat weed is are quite limited. If you have any health concerns, it’s usually best to visit your doctor.

Benefits of using horny goat weed

There are a lot of reported benefits of horny goat weed. Some are better researched than others, so it’s always a good idea to be cautious.

If in doubt, it’s usually best to visit your doctor to talk about your health concerns.

Some benefits might include:

  • Reduced erectile dysfunction7
  • Increased  libido8
  • Reduced fatigue (no clinical trials to support this)

Horny goat weed dosage amount

If you choose to take horny goat weed supplements, it’s essential to take the right amount. Higher dosages might increase the risk of side effects.

Still, there are no official guidelines in regards to how much horny goat weed to take. Some sources say approximately 5g per day is the most appropriate, but there is no evidence to support this.9

Horny goat weed comes in a variety of forms. You may see it marketed as a capsule, tablet, powder, or tea.

Who should avoid horny goat weed?

While horny goat weed is thought to be safe for most people, it’s worth bearing in mind that there isn’t a lot of research into its side effects.

Always follow the correct dosage amount and talk to your doctor before starting your new supplement regimen. If you notice any unwanted side effects, stop using horny goat weed immediately.

Some side effects might include:

  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Breathing problems
  • Bleeding complications
  • Dry mouth and thirst10

You may experience different side effects, so keep an eye on your overall health and wellbeing when taking horny goat weed.

If you have any concerns, speak to your doctor as soon as possible. In an urgent situation, always contact your local emergency services.

You should not use horny goat weed if you:

  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Have a bleeding disorder
  • Have heart problems
  • Have a hormone-sensitive condition11

There is some evidence to suggest that horny goat weed could interact negatively with certain medications (although there aren’t any published trials to support this).

If you’re taking other prescriptions, be sure to visit your doctor to discuss any potential difficulties.12

Last updated: 1 April 2021

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