Epimedium is a versatile Chinese herb traditionally used to treat fatigue, erectile dysfunction (ED), infertility, forgetfulness, back pain, and arthritis. Because of epimedium’s ability to dilate capillaries and other blood vessels, it is used to facilitate blood circulation to the brain as well as to the sexual organs, while also lowering blood pressure. Epimedium also stimulates the production of male sex hormones and tonifies the liver.

Botanical Name

Epimedium spp.

Part Used


Common Names

Horny goat weed, Yin Yang Huo, Xian Ling Pi

Brief History

Epimedium flower

Studies have shown that when an extract of the leaves is administered orally to laboratory animals, the frequency of copulation increases significantly, thus lending credence to the ancient Legend of the Goat. The herb has direct stimulation to semen production and sexual drive in males. Another mode of action of this herb is to dilate capillaries and other blood vessels, thereby facilitating circulation to the sexual organs as well as to the brain, while also lowering blood pressure.


Vitamin E, manganese, flavonoids (quercetin, luteolin, kaempferol), icariin epimedin, methyl icariin, anhydrocaritin), linolenic acid, palmitic acid, polysaccharides, alkaloids (magnoflorine, berberine, coptisine), sterols, tannin.

Therapeutic Properties

Antirheumatic; Aphrodisiac; Carminative; Expectorant; Infertility; Kidney; Ophthalmic; Tonic; Vasodilator.

Vitalist Properties

Temperature: Warm

Moisture: Drying

Therapeutic Indications

Atherosclerosis, bronchitis, depression, drug and chemical withdrawal symptoms, erectile dysfunction, exhaustion, forgetfulness, hay fever, herpes, infertility, low libido, lumbago, memory loss, menopause symptoms, numbness, osteoporosis, pain, polyuria, poor circulation, premature ejaculation, prostatitis, and rheumatism.

Primary Uses

Sexual Dysfunction.

Traditional Chinese medicine employs many different herbs including epimedium for raising sexual energy in both men and women. Cancer patients may experience symptoms of sexual dysfunction that include painful intercourse, loss of libido, and difficulty maintaining arousal. These symptoms may be caused by stress hormonal changes due to nervousness about their condition. It is advisable for patients with hormone-sensitive cancers to avoid epimedium, as it has estrogenic effects.

Dosage (Divided Daily)

Dried Leaf: 6,000 – 15,000mg (Decoction Tea)

• Icariin: 60 – 180mg

Buy Horny Goat Weed Capsules & Loose Powder
Epimedium Aerials


Those with prostate disorders or high blood pressure should avoid epimedium. In addition, patients with congestive heart failure should avoid this herb, as it causes shortness of breath, chest pain, and new arrhythmias.

Side effects

Epimedium is not recommended for those who have an excessive sex drive, experience wet dreams or are overly hot or irritable. Excessive dosing and long-term use can cause vertigo, vomiting, dry mouth, decreased thyroid activity, or nosebleed.

Interactions with other drugs



  1. Balch, P. A., & Bell, S. J. (2012). Prescription for herbal healing (2nd ed.). New York, N.Y.: Avery.

  2. Herbalpedia (2013)

  3. Mars, B. (2007). The desktop guide to herbal medicine: the ultimate multidisciplinary reference to the amazing realm of healing plants, in a quick-study, one-stop guide. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Pub.

All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.

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