Epimedium, also known as horny goat weed is an herb that has been a traditional remedy in Chinese medicine for centuries. It’s used to combat the effects of low libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, pain, and other conditions.

Although still preliminary, there’s exciting and new clinical evidence to support the idea.

A 2008 lab study found that a compound in the herb blocks the effects of an enzyme that restricts blood flow to the penis. Epimedium, appears to act as a phosphodiesterase (PDE5) inhibitor, similar to some well-known prescription drugs used to treat ED. What may be of greater significance is the fact that the study indicated that this botanical could theoretically work better and cause fewer side effects than current prescription drugs for erectile dysfunction.

In a recently published study, Epimedium was also shown to up-regulate genes associated with nitric oxide production and changes in adenosine/guanine monophosphate balance in ways that other PDE5 inhibitors do not.

Interestingly, Epimedium’s documented beneficial effects on treating erectile dysfunction is so comprehensive that it was used successfully in a patent infringement case to rescind parts of the U.S. Viagra patent based on historic use of the herb in Chinese medicine.

Epimedium has also been studied as a treatment for other conditions, like osteoporosis, the loss in bone density that plagues the elderly and can lead to spontaneous bone fractures. Current studies indicate that it does stimulate osteoblast activity for regeneration in bone tissue. This has led to the continued development and marketing of medicinal products based on Epimedium extracts for treatment of osteoporosis.



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