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Stacking with icariin? Read this before starting!

Icariin is a wonderful and fascinating compound with a whole lot of health benefits. You might be wondering where you can find herbs with icariin. Interestingly, one can only extract usable amounts of icariin from one plant genus, Epimedium. 

Epimedium, also known as Barrenwort or Yin Yang Huo, is a plant genus that is found mostly in China and other parts of Asia, including Japan. Tradtional Chinese medicine has used the Epimedium genus for over a thousand years. The most commonly used plant species for extracting Icariin is called Epimedium sagittatum.[1]

Supplement stacks: Mix with icariin

stacking with icariin Many supplement stacks combine herbs with icariin

One of the best things about icariin is that it works so well on its own. However, some people enjoy mixing icariin with Yohimbine. Yohimbine is another great sexual performance and libido enhancer. The difference between yohimbine and icariin is that yohimbine is also a powerful stimulant. So, please be careful when you mix these two supplements.

Icariin, although safe and great by itself, can cause potentially dangerous side effects with some of the interactions it has. It works as a PDE5 inhibitor, which means that using any other common medications for erectile dysfunction could cause dangerous interactions.[2]

A recent study found that icariin may interact with a number of prescription medications, based on the way that it is absorbed in your stomach.[3] If you are taking any prescription medication, please consult your doctor before starting with an icariin supplement.

Importantly, many supplement stacks for boosting sexual health and for increasing energy before workouts contain icariin with a number of other herb extracts. Surprisingly few people have reported side effects from these supplement stacks. However, we’d still recommend being on the safe side and avoid using icariin with other libido-enhancing herbs or stimulants.


User experiences with icariin

A growing number of people are using icariin for its wonderful and potent health effects. We’ve found some great user experiences posted online. These are really good to read through if you’re interested in learning more about how other people felt on icariin before you decide to purchase your own icariin supplement.

Some good resources for reading up on user experiences are:


    • Erowid.org
    • Bluelight.com
    • Longecity.org
  • Reddit.com


Here’s an excerpt from one of our favorite icariin experience posts:


On the sexual side...umm...year...it does the trick! Icariin is a natural PDE-5 inhibitor...works the same way Viagra works. And like the Tongkat, it gave me the big ejaculate. But what I found interesting was that if I did not have sex for 2 days or more I would get a heavy feeling and ache in my testicles like I did when I was in my 30's and younger. Followed by really hard erections.

blogging and icariinSo it was defiantly doing good in that area.

 Well for week three I upped the dose to 200mg three times a day. Now at that level it did give me a lot of "energy". Like a coffee buzz I get on the rare times I have drunk coffee. So this is something to think about if you have trouble sleeping already, etc.”[4]


A word of warning: Supplements with Icariin

As we mentioned above, there are a number of supplement stacks available that contain other ingredients with icariin. These stacks have been shown in a few studies to have beneficial effects on sexual performance and libido.[5] improved sexual performance and energy

However, the problem with stacks containing multiple herbal ingredients is the potential for dangerous interactions between the chemical compounds in each herb. Scientists have attempted to examine the potential effects of combination herbal formulas in a number of studies. However, this can be made difficult when supplements aren’t standardized.[6]


Also, supplement stacks tend to contain different ratios of herbs, making it difficult to create a safety profile for stacks in general. We recommend using a single ingredient extract for safety reasons. This is especially true for substances that haven’t yet had a lot of research done into their potential interactions, like icariin.



In conclusion, icariin is a great herbal extract that can be used to improve sexual performance and libido. Icariin is still a relatively new dietary supplement in the West. Scientists are still studying many of the effects of icariin, especially its interactions with prescription medication and other libido enhancing herbs.


We’d recommend a stack with yohimbine and icariin. Apart from that, icariin is potent enough that you don’t need to combine it with other herbs. Simply read through user experiences online and you’ll see what we mean.




[1] Erectogenic and neurotrophic effects of icariin, a purified extract of horny goat weed (Epimedium spp.) in vitro and in vivo, Shindel AW et al., J Sex Med. 2010 Apr;7(4 Pt 1):1518-28. doi: 10.1111, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20141584

[2] 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

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

[4] My experience with 98% icariin, User review on Bodybuilding.com forum, retrieved August 10, 2016

[5] Evaluation of a multi-herb supplement for erectile dysfunction: a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study, Gaurang R Shah et al., BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012; 12: 155.

Published online 2012 Sep 15, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3478157/

[6] Sexual Enhancement Products for Sale Online: Raising Awareness of the Psychoactive Effects of Yohimbine, Maca, Horny Goat Weed, and Ginkgo biloba, Ornella Corazza et al., Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014: 841798. Published online 2014 Jun 15, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4082836/