Can Women Take Horny Goat Weed?

Though you may not like the name, horny goat weed can be beneficial to both men and women. Horny goat weed, also called epimedium, is thought to alter levels of certain hormones including estrogen. Epimedium can have complex effects in the body by elevating mood, energy and feelings of arousal. Some chemicals in epimedium have been found to have estrogenic activity that may prevent bone loss. Consult a doctor before using this herb to treat a medical condition.

About Epimedium

Epimedium is a herb traditionally used in Chinese medicine. Epimedium grows in China, other parts of Asia and Europe. Different cultivars of epimedium exist that may have different physiological properties when taken as a dietary supplement. The bottom line is that although an herbal tradition of epimedium use exists in Chinese medicine, few clinical trials have been carried out to support its use.

Fatigue

Traditional medicine has long used epimedium as a treatment for fatigue. Some report an elevation in energy and mood while taking epimedium. Epimedium does not treat the underlying causes of fatigue disorders. Seek medical attention if your fatigue is severe or long lasting. According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, no clinical trials have been performed to establish the efficacy of epimedium in the treatment of fatigue.

Sexual Dysfunction

Loss of sexual desire can be a results of biological, physical or psychological problems. One of the causes of sexual dysfunction in both men and women is hormonal imbalance. Epimedium may temporarily reverse these imbalances in some people by heightening feeling of arousal. According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, research evidence has not established these effects of epimedium.

Bone Loss

A 2007 study of 85 women in the "Journal of Bone and Mineral Research" found that a phytoestrogen extracted from epimedium can prevent bone loss in late post-menopausal women over two years. A decrease in estrogen and other hormones during menopause is known to be associated with increased risk of osteoporosis and other bone disorders. Further research is needed to establish epimedium as effective in preventing bone loss.

Safety

Epimedium should not be taken if you have heart disease or are at high risk as it may increase heart rate. Do not take epimedium if you have a hormone-sensitive caner. Allergic reactions to epimedium have been reported. Although one of the benefits of epimedium is the elevation of energy and mood, some people may experience mania or other uncomfortable changes in mood when taking epimedium. Epimedium will not take the place of medicines prescribed by your doctor. Consult your doctor before taking epimedium if you are under medical care or taking daily medication.

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