Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium sagittatum)
Usage / Preparation
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Herba Epimedii, Barrenwort, Bishop's Hat, Fairy Wings, Horny Goatweed, Yin Yang Huo, Xian ling pi.
The main active constituent of Epimedium is icariin, a flavonol glycoside. Epimedium also contains epimedin A, B, C and other flavonoids. (6)(7)
Horny goat weed was first described in ancient classical Chinese medicinal texts. The use of Epimedium as a medicinal herb dates back to at least 400 A.D. Due to its qi-boosting and spirit quieting effects, the dried herb is traditionally used to relieve stress and fatigue. Chinese folk healers were reported to use Epimedium decocted with squid and red wine as a treatment for bodily fatigue and lack of strength due to overtaxation. It is believed to remedy fatigue and absent-mindedness. Additionally, Epimedium leaf extracts have long been used as an aphrodisiac, and the herb is a common ingredient in the alcoholic "Spring Wine". (1)(2)(3)
Epimedium is a small ground bearing shrub with broad heart shaped leaves that resemble ground ivy. Native to China, many Epimedium species are now grown as an ornamental herb in Asia and the Mediterranean region. There are evergreen and deciduous kinds (the latter have rich green leaves in summer which turn copper and gold before falling). The flowers vary between species from white to yellow and red. (8)
(1) Horny Goat Weed: More Than Just a Name by Chris Kilham, Discovery Health.
(2) Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium), Supplement Watch.
(3) Xian Ling Pi, Shen Nong herbal glossary
(4) Epimedium , Wikipedia article
(5) NL-E75-0-REF , Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.
(6) Xian ling pi, Yin yang huo , Edited by Joe Hing Kwok Chu, Complementary and Alternative Healing University.
(7) Systematic studies on quality of main species of Herba epimedii. Pei LK, Huang WH, He TG, Guo BL. Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College.
(8) Barrenwort, Epimedium, BBC Gardening.
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|Epimedium is a genus about 60 or more species of herbaceous flowering plants, including Epimedium sagettatum. The Chinese call the plant Yin Yang Huo, which can be translated as "Licentious goat plant". Many species of Epimedium are alleged to have aphrodisiac qualities. According to legend, this property was discovered by a Chinese goat herder who noticed sexual activity in his flock after they ate the weed. Epimedium has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine. (2)(4)|