Epimedium Sagittatum extract with icariin, side effects and use for erectile dysfunction, impotence treatment, dosage and safety

Commonly known as Horny Goat Weed where it can be purchased, this herb is used in the United States mainly for its aphrodisiac properties. It is sometimes combined in natural aphrodisiac products with other herbs used for sexual enhancement including avena sativa, catuaba, eurycoma, yohimbe, tribulus terrestris, mucuna pruriens, muira puama, and others. Herbal Epimedium species have been used widely in Traditional Chinese Medicine for sexual enhancement, immunity improvement, anticancer and anti-aging treatment, with flavonoids and polysaccharides being the major active components.

Botanical name
The botanical name for horny goat weed is Epimedium sagittatum. There are many varieties of plants, including grandiflorum. Epimedium herb Yinyanghuo, one of the popular Chinese materia medica, is a multiple species colony of Epimedium genus belonging to Berberidaceae. There are five species that have been officially adopted in Chinese Pharmacopoeia under the same crude drug name Yinyanghuo comprising E. brevicornu, E. koreanum, E. sagittatum, E. pubescens, and E. wushanense. In addition, non-official species like E. acuminatum, E. miryanthum and E. leptorrhizum are also mixed and used.

Traditional uses
Herba Epimedii, the dried aerial parts of Epimedium brevicornum, sagittatum, E. pubescens, E. wushanense T. S. Ying, and E. koreanum Nakai, has been widely used in Chinese medicine for centuries for nourishing the kidney and reinforcing Yang.

Composition
Epimedium herb has flavonoids such as icariin, epimedin A, epimedin B, epimedin C and baohuoside Iicariin, along with prenylated flavonol glycosides sagittasine A-C, acylated flavonol glycosides such as kaempferol, together with flavonolignans, 2-phenoxychromones, a lignan, and aromatic acid derivatives. Some of these compounds, particularly icariin, promote endothelial nitric oxide-dependent vasorelaxation.

Products in stores
There are dozens of epimedium herb products available without a prescription and you can find them in many vitamin stores, some pharmacies, and certainly on the internet.

Horny-Goat-Weed (whole plant) (Standardized 20% lcariin) 300 mg by Physician Formula supplement company. This product is developed by a physician and is of high quality.
Horny Goat Weed (whole plant) (Standardized 10% lcariin) 250 mg
Epimedium Sagittatum extract 500 mg with 10 percent icariin, and another company sells a product with 600 mg

Benefit
Epimedium species have been used by Chinese doctors for many centuries, but the use of this herb in the West is mostly for sexual enhancement.

How long does it take to work?
Unlike prescription medications, epimedium does not work in an hour or two. It normally takes several days for the sexual benefits to be noticed.

Human studies
As of 2013, we could only find one human study with epimedium herb.

Effect of Epimedium sagittatum on quality of life and cellular immunity in patients of hemodialysis maintenance
Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1995.
Our previous study had demonstrated this Chinese medicine exerted immuno-enhancing effect on the animal model of chronic renal insufficiency. In present study, we investigated the therapeutic effect of Epimedium Sagittatum on patients of hemodialysis maintenance. 22 cases of regular hemodialytic patients were treated with this herb in the form of decoction. 12 patients with hemodialysis were served as controls. It was found that Epimedium Sagittatum had sexual potentiation effect and improved the quality of life in the patients of chronic renal failure with regular hemodialysis. Interleukin 2 (IL-2) activity of peripheral blood monocytes stimulated by PHA was increased significantly in the patients treated with the herbal preparation. It is suggested that this Chinese medicine had therapeutic effect on sexual disorder and immunologic inadequacy in the patients of chronic renal failure undergoing hemodialysis.
 

Animal studies

Osteoporosis
Prevention of bone loss by aqueous extract of Epimedii sagittatum in an ovariectomized rat model of osteoporosis.
Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2006; Department of Pharmacy, Yueyang Hospital of Chinese Integrative Medicine, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, China.
To investigate the prevention effect of aqueous extract of Epimedii sagittatum on ovariectomy-induced bone loss in rats. Our findings assessed on the basis of biochemical test, bone mineral density and histomorphometric parameters show that aqueous extract of Epimedii sagittatum has a definite antiosteoporotic effect and can prevent the ovariectomy-induced bone loss in rats.


In vitro studies
An in vitro study means that the evaluation was done in a lab not using any animals or humans.

Effect on cartilage
Effect of five species of Epimedium on growth of cartilage and proliferation of cartilage cell in vitro
Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2006.
To observe the effect of Epimedium brevicornum, E. sagittatum, E. koreanum, E, wushanense and E. elongntum on the growth of cartilage and proliferation of cartilage cell in vitro. E. brevicornum and E. sagittatum can improve the growth of cartilage and proliferation of cartilage cell in vitro. The other three Epimedium species did not have the same effect.

Osteoporosis and bone health
Effects of rat serum containing total flavonoid extract of Epimedium sagittatum on development of osteoblasts
Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2008; Department of Pharmacy, Lanzhou General Hospital, PLA, Lanzhou, China.
To investigate the effects of total flavonoid extract of Epimedium sagittatum on the proliferation and differentiation of newborn rat calvarial osteoblasts. Flavonoids from this herb have anti-osteoporosis properties. The flavonoid icariin may be largely responsible for these benefits.

Epimedium species
There are a number of epimedium species including the following:

Epimedium brevicornu has flavonoids, breviflavone A and B. Breviflavone B is a novel flavonoid with potent and specific estrogen receptor (ER) bioactivity. Its positional isomer, breviflavone A, is not ER active. Two new types of minor flavonoids, breviflavone A and B, were isolated and identified from Epimedium brevicornu. Breviflavone B is a novel flavonoid with potent and specific estrogen receptor (ER) bioactivity. Its positional isomer, breviflavone A, is not ER active.
E. koreanum
E. pubescens
E. sagittatum
E. wushanese

Less commonly used species include
E. acuminatum
E. myrianthum
E. leptorrhizum