Black Friday Weekend Sale : Save 30% or more on all our guides and exclusive bundle offers. Learn more

Quick Navigation

Horny Goat Weed

Epimedium, known as Horny Goat Weed, is an erectile aid and aphrodisiac used in Traditional Chinese Medicine that just so happens to also increase testosterone in research animals (has not been looked at in humans). May also be a cognitive booster and heart health agent.

Our evidence-based analysis on horny goat weed features 46 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis led by .
Reviewed by
Examine.com Team
Last Updated:

Summary of Horny Goat Weed

Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details

Horny Goat Weed is a herb (Epimedium) that is known for being an aphrodisiac and touted as a Testosterone Booster. It derives its layman names from goats and sheep who acted a bit more frisky after consuming Epimedium that grew near their fields.

It is also sometimes referred to by its active ingredient, Icariin. Icariin is known as a prenylated flavonoid compound and has been shown to exert much of the aphrodisiac effects of Horny Goat Weed. It has also been shown in one rat study to increase testosterone levels at a rather high dose, and moderate dosages are shown to be beneficial for bone health.

Icariin has not been shown to increase testosterone in females, yet two other compounds in Horny Goat Weed (Icaritin, Desmethylicaritin) have actually increased estrogen in post-menopausal females. The herb acts as an aphrodisiac in both genders, and the gender-specific hormone increasing could be beneficial for both genders.

A Black Friday Weekend Sale for Science Lovers!

Looking to improve your health using the latest evidence? Examine.com offers a membership and guides based on personalized, comprehensive research analysis.


Click here to save 30% »

How to Take

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

Testosterone boosting effects in rats have been noted at a dosage of 200mg/kg of a 40% extract (80mg/kg Icariin), and based on body weight conversions from rats to humans[1] this results in an estimated human dose of:

  • 900mg Icariin for a 150lb person

  • 1,200mg Icariin for a 200lb person

  • 1,500mg Icariin for a 250lb person

Studies that use a lower dosage of Icariin (1-10mg/kg) are approximately equal to:

  • 11-110mg Icariin for a 150lb person

  • 15-150mg Icariin for a 200lb person

  • 18-180mg Icariin for a 250lb person

The human study on postmenopausal women and bone health noted that 60mg Icariin daily was active, and might serve as the lowest active dose currently known. It also appears to fall within the above range of lower active dosages which show benefits in rats.

Stay up to date on nutrition research and save 30%

Become an Examine.com member to get access to the latest research analysis. Get 150+ studies summarized across 25 different categories every month.

Becoming a member also unlocks the Examine.com study database of 400+ supplements and their effects on 600+ health outcomes.

Save at least 30% for Black Friday!

Already a member? Click here to log in.

Make informed decisions about your health

Human Effect Matrix

Unlocked for Examine members

The Human Effect Matrix summarizes human studies to tell you what effects Horny Goat Weed has on your body, how much evidence there is, and how strong these effects are.

Full details are available to Examine members.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-c Minor - See study
The rate of bone loss over 2 years has been noted to be reduced with icariin supplementation, although not to a remarkable degree
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No significant influence on serum estrogen levels

Studies Excluded from Consideration

  • Excluded due to language barrier[2]

Examine.com makes it easy to keep up with research

Become an Examine Personalized member to access the latest nutrition research on over 400 supplements across more than 600 different health goals, outcomes, conditions, and more. Information tailored to you, updated every month.

Bonus: members unlock the supplement Human Effect Matrix and all health topics on Examine.com.


Things to Note

Primary Function:

Also Known As

Epidemium, Herba Epimdii, Icariin, Yinyanghuo, Fairy Wings, Rowdy Lamb Herb

Do Not Confuse With

Icariin (active ingredient)

Goes Well With

  • Icariin is non-stimulatory.

  • Icariin has pro-erectile properties in males and is seen as a libido enhancer in both genders

Click here to see all 46 references.