Horny goat weed is an herb. The leaves are used to make medicine. As many as 15 horny goat weed species are known as “yin yang huo” in Chinese medicine.
Horny goat weed is used for weak back and knees, joint pain, osteoarthritis, mental and physical fatigue, memory loss, high blood pressure, heart disease, bronchitis, liver disease, HIV/AIDS, polio, a blood disorder called chronic leucopenia, viral infections of the heart, bone loss after menopause, weak bones (osteoporosis), and as a tonic.
Some men use horny goat weed for sexual performance problems including erectile dysfunction (ED) and involuntary ejaculation. It is also used to arouse sexual desire.
How does it work?
Horny goat weed contains chemicals which might help increase blood flow and improve sexual function. It also contains phytoestrogens, chemicals that act somewhat like the female hormone estrogen, that might reduce bone loss in postmenopausal women.
- Weak bones (osteoporosis). Developing research shows that taking a specific extract of horny goat weed for 24 months seems to decrease bone loss of the spine and hip in women who have passed menopause. This particular extract, made by Tong Ji Tang Pharmacal Company in China, contains phytoestrogens (specifically containing 60 mg of icariin, 15 mg of daidzein, and 3 mg of genistein), chemicals in horny goat weed that act somewhat like the hormone estrogen.
- Erectile dysfunction (ED).
- Ejaculation problems.
- Sexual problems.
- Memory loss.
- High blood pressure.
- Heart disease.
- Liver disease.
- Joint pain.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & Safety
A specific extract of horny goat weed containing phytoestrogens is POSSIBLY SAFE when used for up to 2 years.
However, some types of horny goat weed are POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used for a long period of time or in high doses. Long-term use of these other forms of horny goat weed might cause dizziness, vomiting, dry mouth, thirst, and nosebleed. Taking large amounts of horny goat weed might cause spasms and severe breathing problems.
A heart arrhythmia has also been reported in a man who took horny goat weed in a commercial product used for sexual enhancement. Research also shows that a specific multi-ingredient commercial product (Enzyte, Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals) that contains horny goat weed might cause abnormal heart beats when measured by an electrocardiogram. These changes might increase the chance of having a heart arrhythmia. However, since these products contain multiple ingredients, it is not clear if these effects are caused by horny goat weed or other ingredients.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Horny goat weed is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used during pregnancy. There is a concern that it might harm the developing fetus. Avoid using it. Not enough it known about the safety of using horny goat weed during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid using.
Low blood pressure: Horny goat weed might lower blood pressure. In people who already have low blood pressure, using horny goat weed might drop blood pressure too low and increase the risk of fainting.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination
- Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs) interacts with HORNY GOAT WEED
Horny goat weed seems to decrease blood pressure. Taking horny goat weed along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.
Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), Amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDiuril), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.
- Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with HORNY GOAT WEED
Horny goat weed might slow blood clotting. Taking horny goat weed along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
The appropriate dose of horny goat weed depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for horny goat weed. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.