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What are the risks of taking horny goat weed (epimedium)?

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The downsides of taking horny goat weed include:

Given the possible risks, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and children should not take horny goat weed.

  • Side effects. It is possibly safe when used short term at appropriate doses. But it may. It may cause upset stomach and dry mouth. In some, horny goat weed may result in irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, nosebleeds, and mood changes. High doses have been linked to spasms and respiratory failure.
  • Risks. Always speak to your doctor before taking herbal supplements like horny goat weed. People with certain health conditions may be at higher risk for adverse side effects.
  • Interactions. If you take any medicines or supplements regularly, talk to your doctor before you start using horny goat weed. It could interact with drug including some blood thinners, aspirin, birth control pills, antidepressants, treatments for immune disorders and thyroid problems, and medicines that lower blood pressure or cholesterol. Using horny goat weed with nitroglycerin can be extremely dangerous. Similar to its use with pharmaceutical erectile dysfunction medicines, mixing nitroglycerin with horny goat weed can even be fatal due to the potential for severe drops in blood pressure.

From: Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium) WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Agli, M. , 2008. Journal of Natural Products

Longe, J., ed. , second edition, 2004. The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center web site: “About Herbs: Epimedium.”

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database web site: “Epimedium.” 

Natural Standard Patient Monograph: “Horny Goat Weed.”

News release, . Journal of Natural Products

U.S.Library of Medicine: "Honey Goat Weed."

Cho, J.-H., Jung, J.-Y., Lee, B.-J., Lee, K., Park, J.-W., and Bu, Y.   : A Promising Herbal Medicine for Neuroplasticity. 2017 Epimedii Herba

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on September 25, 2019

SOURCES:

Agli, M. , 2008. Journal of Natural Products

Longe, J., ed. , second edition, 2004. The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center web site: “About Herbs: Epimedium.”

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database web site: “Epimedium.” 

Natural Standard Patient Monograph: “Horny Goat Weed.”

News release, . Journal of Natural Products

U.S.Library of Medicine: "Honey Goat Weed."

Cho, J.-H., Jung, J.-Y., Lee, B.-J., Lee, K., Park, J.-W., and Bu, Y.   : A Promising Herbal Medicine for Neuroplasticity. 2017 Epimedii Herba

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on September 25, 2019

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