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March 2018--Horny Goat Weed

                                                                                                     

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Horny Goat Weed

 

Epimedium sagittatum 

[ep-ih-MEE-dee-um  saj-ih-TAY-tum] 

Family: Berberidaceae 

Names: barrenwort, yin yang huo, hsien ling pi (immortal spirit gall); Hozaki-No-Ikari-So, Hozakino-Ikari-So; inyokaku, also called (Japanese); umyanggwak (Korean); yam yong fok (Cantonese) 

Pharmaceutical Name: Herba Epimedii 

Description: Rhizomatous perennial with trifoliate, leathery leaves and lanceolate-ovate leaflets to 2 inches long, which have spiny-toothed margins.  Tiny white flowers are borne in spring.  Height 10-20 inches and spread of 12-18 inches. 

Cultivation:  Succeeds in any fertile humus-rich soil, preferring a peaty loam. Grows best in semi-shade. Plants can succeed in the dry shade of trees.  Although the plants are hardy to at least 17°F, the young growth in spring can be killed by frosts.   Grows well in the rock garden or wild garden.  Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits.  Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in late summer. Sow stored seed as early as possible in the year in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in the cold frame or greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out in mid to late summer.  Division in July/August according to one report, in late spring according to another. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.  Cuttings in late summer. Whole plants are cut in the growing season and dried for decoctions. 

History: The name comes from the Greek epimedion, which was Dioscorides’ name for these plants (literally “akin to a plant growing in Media”) 

Constituents: The main ingredients are flavone type of compounds, fat, saponins and essential oil.  Ceryl alcohol, hentriacontane, phytosterol, palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, bilobanol, magnoflorin, glucose, fructose, icariin, icariside I ), Icariside II (epimedoside A).   Epimedin A, Epimedin B, Epimedin C, Epimedokoreanoside I, Epimedokoreanoside II, Epimedoside A, I-karisoside A, (quercetin), 4'-methoxy-5-hydroxy-8-3, 3-dimethylallylflavone-3-glucosyl (1--2) rhamnoside-7-glucoside), 4'-methoxy-5-hydroxy-8-3, 3-dimethylallylflavone-3-xylosyl (1--2) rhamnoside-7-glucoside), 4'-methoxy-5-hydroxy-8-3, 3-dimethylallylflavone-3-rham-nosyl (1--2) rhamnoside-7-glucoside.  Isoquercetin, icaritin-3-O-alpha-rhamnoside, hyperin, sagittatoside A, sagittatoside B, sagittatoside C, sagittatin A, sagittatin B, Anhydroicaritin-3-O-alpha-rhamnoside, Icariside E6, Icariside E7, Icaride A1, Icaride A2,  Icariside D3, Icariside H1, Icariside B9. Epimedoside C, baohuoside VI, baohuoside I,  rouhuoside. Wushanicariin. 

Properties: Antirheumatic; Aphrodisiac; Carminative; Expectorant; Infertility; Kidney; Ophthalmic; Tonic; Vasodilator 

Energetics: acrid, sweet, warm 

Organs/Meridians affected:  kidney, liver 

Medicinal Uses:  Used as a kidney tonic, it also treats sterility and barrenness. It is taken internally in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, cold or numb extremities, arthritis, lumbago, impotence, involuntary and premature ejaculation, high blood pressure and absentmindedness. 
           
Studies have shown that when an extract of the leaves is administered orally to laboratory animals, the frequency of copulation increases significantly, thus lending credence to the ancient Legend of the Goat.  Intravenous injection of the glycoside contained in the leaves also has been shown to increase seminal secretions in dogs.  The herb is thus a direct stimulation to semen production and sexual drive in males.  Another mode of action of this herb is to dilate capillaries and other blood vessels, thereby facilitating circulation to the sexual organs as well as to the brain, while also lowering blood pressure.   

TCM:
Therapeutic Effects:
tonifies kidney-yang; nourishes blood and semen-essence; expels cold-damp and wind-damp symptoms

Indications: impotence; male and female infertility; numbness in extremities; spermatorrhea and premature ejaculation; lumbago; rheumatism; insufficient cerebral circulation; cold-damp and wind-damp symptoms; deficient kidney-yang

Dosage: decoction: 6-12 grams in two doses on an empty stomach.  Powder: capsules, pills, infusion: 3-9 grams, in two or three doses, on an empty stomach; liquor: steep 60-80 grams in 1 liter of spirits for 1-3 months; take 1 ounce, twice daily, on an empty stomach; for better results, add 60-90 grams Chinese yam. 

Contraindications: hypertension; empty yin with flaring fire 

Culinary Uses: Young plant and young leaves - cooked. Soaked and then boiled 

References:
Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses
A Handbook of Chinese Healing Herbs
Plants for a Future Database 

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The Herb Growing & Marketing Network
Maureen Rogers, Director
PO Box 245, Silver Spring, PA 17575-0245
717-368-6360; FAX: 717-393-9261

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