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Are You Having Problems with
your Sex Life? Horny Goat Weed May Be Your Answer
by James Reedy
Purpose of Treatment
Claims of How it Works
Evidence for Claims
Who is presenting the herb?
One major issue in the world today is sexuality. Do I look good enough? I wonder if he or she likes me? While most of the world today is becoming increasingly sexually active, there are others are out there who are lacking in this field. Their bodies are no longer inclined to have or sex, or their sexual drive loses the battle between time and fatigue. Horny Goat Weed is said to be the cure of this "problem." Horny Goat Weed, also known as Epimedium, Yin Yang Huo, Inyokaku, and Herba Epimedii, was discovered around 200 B.C. Legend has it that an ancient Chinese goat herder noticed that his flock suddenly became sexually active after eating in a certain patch of weeds. Further investigation of this weed patch and a little leaf chewing resulted in the discovery of Horny Goat Weed (http://www.sobebev.com/healthyrefreshment/ productline/drive.htm).
Purpose of Treatment
There are many different claims as to what Horny Goat Weed actually does. Online stores and distributors, which are more focused on marketing the herb for increased sexual behavior, main claims are stimulating sex activity in both men and women, increase in sperm production, stimulation of the sensory nerves, and increasing sexual desire(http://nutrition-center.net/store/Pinnacle_Horny_Goat_Weed.html). Online sites, which appear to be more focused on health, make claims that Horny Goat Weed invigorates the kidneys and strengthens yang(for deficiency of kidney-yang manifested as impotence, emission, enuresis, frequent micturition, soreness of the waist and the knees, and sterility), strengthen tendons and bones, expel wind-dampness(which is otherwise known as flatulence, caused by the improper indigestion of food), and eliminate coughing and phlegm related to chronic asthma(http://homepages.infoseek.com/~huxuezhi/5-17.htm). These sites are information oriented, but seem to be related to the sale of the product because the site can be accessed through an online retailer. Sites that are strictly information based claim that Horny Goat Weed alleviates the need to urinate frequently, lightheadedness and weakness which comes from a lack of proper fluid volume in the body, relief of gout related to arthritic conditions, lower back pain, impotence, and premature emission (http://herbwalk.com/remedy/Epimedium_132.html). Unlike most of the other sites, which were related to or were online retailers, this site only said that Horny Goat Weed, or Epimedium, may be helpful to these conditions, but not to cure them.
Claims of How it Works
"In 1990, researchers discovered that extracts of Epimedium might have mono-amine-oxidase-inhibitor activity. They showed that levels of noradrenaline, serotonin, and dophamine were all elevated in animals after given Epimedium. Higher levels of dophamine particularly may help to explain the pro-sexual effect of Epimedium. High dophamine levels encourage the release of leutenizing hormone(LH) from the pituitary gland. LH in turn stimulates the testes to produce more testosterone. Also, Chinese researchers have also observed that Epimedium has a testosterone like effect on the levator ani muscle . This muscle when well toned, as under stimulation from testosterone, will help create and maintain erection and increase the force of ejaculation (http://advancedherbals.co.uk/herbs/div/epimedium_grandiflorum.html)." Other sites have different opinions on how it actually works. Dr. James Zhou believes it only dilates the capillaries and large blood vessels, and lowers blood pressure (http://user.aol.com/greenmagik/stamina.htm). Another sites claims that it increases testosterone in mice, which blocks a neurotransmitter inhibitor. As a result, there is an increased level of a neurotransmitter that is associated with sexual arousal (http://nutrition-center.net/store/Pinnacle_Horny_Goat_Weed.html). None of the sites offered anymore information about how Epimedium was supposed to cure all other claims mentioned on a scientific or chemical level.
Evidence for Claims
Most of the sites claim that they have found many things through research, but do not include how the research was done or what types of experiments. Only one site gives limited information on research they supposedly have conducted. "Mice treated with a Horny Goat Weed preparation produced 'apparent effects on the improvement of sexuality.' It was also shown to improve sperm producing capability (http://nutrition-center.net/store/Pinnacle_Horny_Goat_Weed.html)."
None of the sites found gave any type of claims about the effectiveness of this type of treatment. They did include weak evidence for supposed research saying how it works, but no guarantees that it would work if someone bought and used it. The natural assumption was that because the herb is so old and still around, it must work or else no one would use it anymore. Horny Goat Weed has been around for a very long time and is still used in many supplements as well as being sold as its self. Marketers probably assume that false testimony would prove to be ineffective.
Who is Presenting the Herb
Online distributors that sell vitamins and herbs for the rejuvenation of the body are selling horny Goat Weed. It is also being advertised in Sobe beverages and in brand new muscle enhancers.
Upon further investigation of actual studies done by scientific researchers, little to no evidence was found that truly supported the claims made my these online stores and sites. Most of the studies done were used to determine if flavanoids could actually be separated from the Epimedium herb. Chinese researchers seem to be most concerned with the effects of Epimedium with little interest from any other countries. In one study done by Chinese researches, they tested to see if kidney-tonifying herbs(Herba Epimedii) could improve the conditions as a result of induced hearing loss. The also tried to prove that these herbs could aid in hearing loss prevention by testing animals. From the experiment, they concluded that these herbs could protect an animals' hearing (WS & XZ,1989). In another study done, researchers were attempting to isolated a flavanoid from Epimedium and use it to suppress antibodies and delayed hypersensitive responses to diseases. They found that this isolated flavanoid could be of some value in treating chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases (Sy, G, L, WK, & YH, 1994). The only research done that somewhat supported claims by these online sites is the research done by the Beijing Medical Center. Scientists studied the effect of Epimedium on osteoclastic bone resorption and osteoporosis. They found that Epimedium inhibited the osteoclastic resorption of bone. It also increases mineral content promoting bone formation. They concluded that Epimedium is of potential use in the treatment of osteoporosis (S, K, S, & K, 1999).
In conclusion, there are many different claims as to what Epimedium, or Horny Goat Weed actually does. None of which point to the fact the Horny Goat Weed increases sexual drive and desire. In fact, Epimedium is not proven to do anything specifically. The research done only shows that Epimedium could possibly help the certain situation. No evidence concludes that it should be used for something useful. If someone is having sexual problems, they would probably be more safe turning to a drug prescribed by a doctor rather than trying to do it "naturally."
WS, Lin, & XZ, Song. (1989). Clinical and Experimental research on a kidney-
tonifying prescription in preventing and treating children's hearing loss
induced by aminoglycoside antibiotic ototoxicity. Chung His I Chieh Ho
Tsa Chih, 9, 402-404.
SY, Li, G, Ping, L, Geng, WK, Seow, and YH, Thong. (1994). Immunopharmocol-
Ogy and toxicology of the plant flavanoid B-1. International Journal of
Immunopharmacology, 16, 227-231.
S, Yu, K, Chen, S, Li, & K, Zhang. (1999). In vitro and in vivo studies of the effect
of a Chinese herb medicine on osteoclastic bone resorption. Chinese
Journal of Dental Restoration, 2, 7-11.
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