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Icariin

  • Helps to promote healthy sexual vitality
  • Supports healthy androgen levels
  • Supports a healthy circulatory system

 

Icariin is a phytochemical found in Horny Goat Weed extract, primarily grown in China also known as Yin Yang Huo, and has a long history of use in traditional medicine for sexual health. Benefits include supporting a healthy libido, offering support to bones and cartilage, and supporting a healthy metabolism. LiftMode Icariin extracts are 90 or 98% pure and come with a 1/32nd teaspoon measuring scoop (0.15cc), which contains approximately 50mg of the pure compound. Recommended use is around 50-150 mg, depending on weight and desired strength.

 

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Horny Goat Weed Reviews

 

 “This product will give you a powerful rush of energy. A clean, crisp, mental sharpness that helps you concentrate. Highly recommended. And as always, shipping is very fast.” – John

 

“I got this product in order to boost my energy before workouts. For that purpose, it works extremely well! About 30 minutes to an hour after taking the supplement, I feel a definite surge of energy and I get much more into my workout than I do on a normal day. I also spar sometimes at my gym and I feel like I pack a lot more power in my punches after taking this.” - Chris

 

Icariin product reviews

 

 

  • Icariin is a plant found primarily in China also known as Horny Goat Weed and has a long history of use in traditional medicine for sexual health 

  • Benefits include improved vitality, increased sexual libido, protection of bones and cartilage, and support for a healthy circulatory system.

  • Recommended serving size is 50 - 200mg, one to four times daily

  • Moderate use of Icariin extract does not appear to have any significant adverse effects

 

Background

Icariin, or Horny Goat Weed extract, is a natural flavonoid occurring in plants of the Epimedium genus, best known for supporting sexual health and a healthy libido. This type of plant has a very long history of use in Asia, where it is used in a variety of remedies and tonics for longevity, vitality, and sexual health. The scientific name for Horny Goat Weed is Epimedium, but it can also be referred to as Barrenwort, Bishop's Hat, fairy wings, or Yin Yang Huo. Most Horny Goat Weed supplements contain extracts from the  Epimedium grandiflorum species.

Icariin-containing plants are found predominately in China and are woody, small and evergreen with characteristic flowers. Several studies have been done on Horny Goat Weed, and the active component has been found to have several beneficial actions in humans, and these include supporting sexual vitality, providing antioxidant protection, helping to support a healthy circulatory system, along with supporting healthy bones and boosting androgens (sex hormones).[1] This is why so many people talk about Horny Goat Weed as a top aphrodisiac supplement.

The use of plants from the Epimedium genus has a long history in China: there are over a thousand years of their recorded use for traditional medicinal purposes. In China, plants from the Epimedium genus have the name Yin Yang Hou. The plants enjoy deep shade and are able to compete with tree roots making them good shade plants.[2] Traditionally, the leaves are used to create powdered extracts but the plants also boast flowers of white, yellow and violet. Today, extracts of these plants are sold as dietary supplements in the West.

Horny Goat Weed supplements are sold by a variety of vendors, some more reputable than others. As a result, there is some variation with regards to the strength of these extracts. One very common form of Horny Goat Weed extract is called Icariin 60. People often ask the question, ‘what is Icariin 60?’.

Icariin 60 refers to a 60% extract, where 60% of the supplement is the pure active compound. You can find extracts that are both weaker (Icariin 40%) and stronger (Icariin 80% or greater). LiftMode Icariin is 90% - 98% pure and is one of the purest forms of Yin Yang Huo available today.

 

horny-goat-weed-plant


Icariin Benefits/Effects

1.     Aphrodisiac Effects

 

This supplement’s best-known benefit is its ability to act as an aphrodisiac for both men and women. This is an interesting benefit because it appears to have slightly different effects men compared to women. In men, some studies have pointed to a potential increase in testosterone levels. This does not appear to happen in women. Nevertheless, this supplement is able to improve sexual vitality in both genders, making it an interesting aphrodisiac supplement.[3]

The Icariin molecule is a flavonoid – a plant secondary metabolite – with the characteristic 15-carbon skeleton, two phenyl rings, and a heterocyclic ring structure.  Its effects in the mammalian body include acting as a PDE5 inhibitor.[4] This allows continued function of cyclic GMP in the smooth muscles, allowing increased capillary blood flow to smooth muscle cells around the body (genitals, heart, and lungs). Horny Goat Weed’s best-known effect, therefore, is its support of healthy sexual vitality (especially for men).[5] 

This supplement has been used in multiple studies focussing on plants with the potential to improve sexual vitality and is an ongoing topic of research. In one of the most recent studies of this type, researchers make the following claim:

“… studies have shown that Epimedium may restore low levels of both testosterone and thyroid hormone, bringing low levels back to their normal levels which may account for some of its benefits in improving sexual libido. Other benefits to Epimedium involve increased muscle mass.”(Lim, 2017).[6]

In a recent study at the Shantou University Medical College, in China, researchers found that Horny Goat Weed had testosterone-mimetic properties, which is the hormone involved in sexual arousal and vitality:

“(1) This compound improved the condition of reproductive organs and increased the circulating levels of testosterone. (2) [Horny Goat Weed] treatment also improved the steady-state serum BGP and might have promoted bone formation. At the same time, it decreased the serum levels of StrACP and might have reduced the bone resorption. (3) Icarrin suppressed the extent of apoptosis of penile cavernosal smooth muscle cells.” (Yang and Zhang, 2006)[7]

 

2.     Supports a Healthy Circulatory System

 

Some research has pointed to this supplement’s ability to improve the activity of an enzyme called Nitric Oxide Synthase, which produces nitric oxide in the body.[8] The effect of nitric oxide is to increase the size of blood vessels, allowing for greater blood flow through the body. Overall, nitric oxide is a vital compound to promote healthy circulation through the body and is also important for sexual vitality.[9]

Recently, important information has come to light regarding Yin Yang Huo’s potential to be used as a supplement for supporting a healthy circulatory system. Specifically, it appears to work as an effective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant – helping to destroy harmful ‘free-radicals’ and toxins that build up in the bloodstream. Furthermore, researchers have pointed to this supplement’s ability to help protect DNA from damage, to support healthy endothelium function and smooth muscle function, and to activate lipid (fat) metabolism.[10] All in all, these effects help to maintain and support a healthy blood flow and blood circulation system.  

Another use of Horny Goat Weed extract is to maintain healthy levels of lipids (fats) in the blood. Hyperlipidaemia characteristically involves abnormally elevated levels of lipids (fats) in the blood and is commonly found in people suffering from obesity. It has been shown to help your body to maintain a healthy blood-lipid profile. The results of a recent study into it’s effects:

indicate that this supplement is a novel PPARα agonist, activates lipid metabolism gene expressions in liver, which could be a basis for its lipid-lowering effects and its beneficial effects… .”[11]

 

3.     Supports Healthy Bones and Cartilage

 

A new study has shown that derivatives of this supplement could potentially be used as a compound for cartilage tissue engineering [12] because it has been shown to up-regulate expression of genes responsible for chondroid tissue formation, and also to improve the restoration of osteochondral defects. This could allow Icariin to be used as an alternative to other growth factors, and indicates that it improves bone and cartilage tissue.

Horny Goat Weed extract benefits also include supporting healthy bone structure.  A study has recently been published that supports the traditional Chinese use of the plant as a support for healthy bones. It has been shown to produce anabolic effects in bone, which means that it may help your body to build strong bones. This study shows further research by the same researchers who previously showed that this compound could increase bone mineral density and help to stimulate osteoblastic cell proliferation.[13]

 

Horny Goat Weed for Women

 

Many people online are wondering about Horny Goat Weed for women, and whether or not it can be used to improve vitality for women as well as men. Horny Goat Weed’s effects appear to work for both men and women, due to its ability to increase androgen levels (sex hormones) in men and to improve libido without altering hormones in women. However, this supplement does have some effects that are more beneficial to men, in terms of its PED5 inhibitor properties.

Overall, Horny Goat Weed extract can be recommended for both men and women who are looking for a powerful aphrodisiac supplement.

 

icariin-aphrodisiac-effects

 

Recommended Usage

A recent study by researchers at the US National Library of Medicine has found that for the best effects, the serving size should be no higher than 10 mg/ kg.[14] We recommend a serving size no greater than 50-200mg, once to four times daily. Liftmode Icariin is 90-98% pure.  You can buy 5grams of 98% Icariin or buy 10 grams of 90% Icariin. 

When wondering about how to take this supplement, many people think about using Horny Goat Weed with Maca (Lepidium meyenii). Maca is actually a vegetable, belonging to the broccoli family. It has a long history of use as an aphrodisiac in Peru and in villages throughout the Andes.[15]

There is some evidence that this supplement may have a synergistic relationship with Maca, which is why so many people wonder about this great supplement stack today. Unfortunately, there is significant difficulty in obtaining sustainable sources of Maca, which makes the supplement difficult to produce on a larger scale, and also makes it expensive for the consumer.

Another question that people often have about Icariin refers to Horny Goat Weed tea, and whether this is an effective means of consuming this supplement. Considering that the traditional usage was as part of herbal remedies in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is quite appropriate to use this aphrodisiac supplement in a herbal tea. Powdered forms of this supplement can simply be added to tea and taken this way, or it can be added to your favourite healthy smoothie.

 

Icariin Side Effects / Warnings

Side effects have been researched thoroughly and it has been found that moderate use of Horny Goat Weed extracts very rarely results in negative side-effects. However, according to WebMD, it is possible to experience dizziness, dry mouth, thirstiness and vomiting if taken at high doses or for a long period of time.[16]

Importantly, these adverse effects are very rare and are tend to only be applicable when using serving sizes far greater than those recommended by most Yin Yang Hou vendors. One man reported heart arrhythmia after taking a product that stacked this supplement with other stimulant-like substances. It may be unsafe for pregnant women, people with bleeding disorders, low blood pressure or hormone sensitive cancers.

 

Conclusion

 

In summary, this compound is the active phytochemical found in Horny Goat Weed extracts (also known as Epimedium, Xian Ling Pi, Barrenwort, Bishop's Hat, and fairy wings). It is a potent aphrodisiac supplement that can be used to improve libido and sexual vitality in both men and women. In men, this compound appears to have some androgen-mimetic effects, while it is able to promote increased libido in women, apparently without affecting hormones. Furthermore, this great natural supplement helps to support a healthy circulatory system and may help to support healthy bones, when used correctly.

 

The recommended serving size for a 90% extract is 50 – 200 mg, once to twice per day. For a stronger 98% extract, the recommended serving size is similar, but we suggest using 50 – 100 mg, once to twice per day. Side effects may include headaches, dizziness, and thirstiness. These are very uncommon but may be more pronounced at larger serving sizes. Do not exceed the recommended serving suggestion for this supplement.

 

icariin-for-circulatory-healthy

References



[1] Tiang Hang et al. “Comparative Effects of Er-Xian Decoction, Epimedium Herbs, and Icariin with Estrogen on Bone and Reproductive Tissue in Ovariectomized Rats”. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 241416, 

[2] An Evaluation Report on Barrenworts for the Shade Garden Mark R. Rudy, Plant Evaluator, Chicago Botanical Garden, Issue 20, 2003

[3]Horny Goat Weed”, Examine.com, available online from https://examine.com/supplements/horny-goat-weed/ [Accessed March 14, 2018] 

[4] Ching-Shwun Lin et al. “Effects of icariin on phosphodiesterase-5 activity in vitro and cyclic guanosine monophosphate level in cavernous smooth muscle cells”. Journal of Urology, 2006

[5] “Effect of icariin on cyclic GMP levels and on the mRNA expression of cGMP-binding cGMP-specific phosphodiesterase (PDE5) in penile cavernosum”, Benrong Hu et al., Journal of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Vol 26, Issue 4, September 2006

[6] Lim PHC. “Asian herbals and aphrodisiacs used for managing ED.” Translational Andrology and Urology. 2017;6(2):167-175.

[7] “The testosterone mimetic properties of icariin” Zhen-Bao Zhang and Qing-Tao Yang, Asian Journal of Andrology Volume 8, Issue 5, pages 601–605, September 2006

[8] Shindel AW et al., “Erectogenic and neurotrophic effects of icariin, a purified extract of horny goat weed (Epimedium spp.) in vitro and in vivo”. J Sex Med. 2010 Apr;7(4 Pt 1):1518-28.

[9] Weiqun Shen, Thomas H. Hintze and Michael S. Wolin. “Nitric Oxide”. Circulation. 1995;92:3505-3512, Originally published December 15, 1995

[10] Fang J, Zhang Y. “Icariin, an Anti-atherosclerotic Drug from Chinese Medicinal Herb Horny Goat Weed.” Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2017;8:734.

[11]  “Icariin Is A PPARα Activator Inducing Lipid Metabolic Gene Expression in Mice”, Feng Jin et al, Molecules Vol 19 Issue 11, November 2014 

[12] “Icariin: a potential promoting compound for cartilage tissue engineering”, Osteoarthritis Cartilage Research Society,  Li D et al, Aug 2012

[13] “Icariin protects against bone loss induced by oestrogen deficiency and activates oestrogen receptor-dependent osteoblastic functions in UMR 106 cells”, Wen-Fang Chen et al, British Journal of Pharmacology, Vol 159 Issue 4, Feb 2010

[14] “Erectogenic and Neurotrophic Effects of Icariin, a Purified Extract of Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium spp.) In Vitro and In Vivo “Lia Banie et al., NIH Manuscripts, Jan 2013.

[15]Maca”, Examine.com, available online from https://examine.com/supplements/maca/ [Accessed 14 March 2018]

[16]Horny Goat Weed”, WebMd.com, available online from  https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-699-horny+goat+weed.aspx [Accessed 14 March, 2018] 

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