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What is Icariin? 4 TOP questions answered for beginners

If you’ve ever looked for a powerful naturally derived libido enhancer, then you may have already encountered icariin. People extract the powerful flavonoid compound from the plant genus Epimedium, which is found in China and the Mediterranean.

In this article, we discuss some of the basic facts about icariin, and how it can improve your sexuality and boost your energy. So, if you've ever wondered 'what is icariin?', look no further!

Icariin helps to increase libido Icariin boosts your libido!


What is Icariin used for?

Most people use icariin supplements to improve their libido and sexual performance. Traditional Chinese medicine has used icariin and Horny Goat Weed extracts for over a thousand years and we're just catching onto its benefits now, in the West.

is icariin The Chinese have known about icariin for ages

You can use icariin to boost your testosterone[1] – great for athletes and bodybuilders! You can also use icariin as a powerful pre-workout supplement. It increases blood flow and energy, so it’s great to take before the gym.[2] Finally, you can use icariin to improve you sexuality and libido. Icariin is great at maintaining good sexual health and strong erections.[3]

Find out how Icariin works.


Where is Icariin found?

Scientists have found icariin in the plant genus called Epimedium. Epimedium is also known as Yin Yang Huo, Barrenwort, and Horny Goat Weed. These plants were used for treating a large number of ailments in traditional Chinese medicine.[4]

Today, you can find icariin in a vast number of health stores and online supplement suppliers around the world. Icariin is often found as part of a ‘health stack’ or pre-workout stack. Icariin may be one of many ingredients in a lot of sexual health supplements.


What foods contain Icariin?

Interestingly, you can’t find icariin in usable amounts in any other plant species than those in the Epimedium genus. This is why most people opt for an icariin supplement. Many companies sell icariin as a plant extract. Dealers standardize these extracts to various percentage purities, ranging from around 20% icariin up to roughly 60% icariin.


Only a very few vendors sell 98% purity icariin. This is because icariin is quite difficult to manufacture at such high purity. However, taking pure icariin produces the best effects and eliminates the risk of interactions between other substances.[5]


What is Icariin 98?

Icariin 98 just means 98% purity icariin. This is a rarer form of icariin and it is slightly more expensive than lower purity extracts. However, you can expect to gain the most benefits from using a high purity icariin. So in the end, your extra dollar goes a long way.

how icariin


Also, since icariin 98 is so pure you don’t need to use as much, so a tub ends up lasting you a lot longer than if you’d bought a cheaper extract.


What are the side effects of Icariin?

Icariin side effects are rare but potentially serious if you mix icariin with other medications or overuse it. Icariin may interact with a number of prescription medications so please consult your doctor if you’d like to take icariin while on medication.


Icariin may not be safe for pregnant women or people going into surgery. It is also not recommended for people with low blood pressure, hormone-sensitive cancers, or bleeding disorders.[6]



is icariin Talk to your doctor if you're on medication

Many people use icariin as a powerful supplement for its great effects of increasing libido and sexuality, improving energy levels and boosting testosterone. Ancient Chinese medicine used icariin for over a thousand years as a Horny Goat Weed extract.


Most people can take icariin as a safe supplement. However, if you are using prescription medication you should not use icariin without first consulting your doctor.


[1] The testosterone mimetic properties of icariin, Zhang ZB, Yang QT, Asian J Androl. 2006 Sep;8(5):601-5. Epub 2006 Jun 5, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16751992

[2] Effects of icariin on improving erectile function in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats, Liu T et al., J Sex Med. 2011 Oct;8(10):2761-72. doi: 10.1111, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21967314

[3] Effects of icariin on cGMP-specific PDE5 and cAMP-specific PDE4 activities, Xin ZC et al., Asian J Androl. 2003 Mar;5(1):15-8, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12646997

[4] Anti-Cancer Properties of the Naturally Occurring Aphrodisiacs: Icariin and Its Derivatives, HL Tan et al., Front. Pharmacol., 29 June 2016, available from http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fphar.2016.00191/full

[5] Drug-Drug Interactions Potential of Icariin and Its Intestinal Metabolites via Inhibition of Intestinal UDP-Glucuronosyltransferases, Cao YF et al., Evid Based Complement Alternative Med. 2012;2012:395912. doi: 10.1155/2012/395912. Epub 2012 Oct 16, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23118789

[6] Icariin Side Effects, WebMD.com, retrieved on August 11, 2016