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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

aka Horny goat weed
(Epimedium spp)
[yin yang huo]

CAUTION: Excess causes vomiting, dizziness, thirst and nosebleed. Not to be taken over long periods.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: When there is a tendency toward hypersexuality and wet dreams and for those with severe emaciation and weakness.

A low-growing herb with underground stems, small compound leaves and small flowers, which is native to temperate regions of Europe and Asia. Hardy to zone 7, they make good rock garden specimens in part shade. In Asia the leaves are eaten as food. Its common name means 'friend of the barren'. Or in this case the belief that barreness is caused by a non-existant libido which this herb is believed to cure. Plants of this species have been used as a folk remedy for rheumatism as well as having an anecdotal history as a cure for certain types of cancers (breast and uterus). The species has also been used in folk medicine for impotence, neurasthenia, numbness, and weak knees. Some or all are considered to be analeptic, aphrodisiac, carminative, sudorific and tonic.
Besides the three listed here, related varieties include E. brevicornum and E. Koreanum.

Epimedium acuminatum

CONTAINS: Ceryl alcohol, hentriacontane, oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, and phytosterol.

Anti-asthmatic, antirheumatic, antitussive, aphrodisiac.
Considered tonic for stimulating hormone secretion to cure impotence.
Has been used for eye ailments and renitis.
Has been used for absentmindedness.

Epimedium grandiflorum
image 1 image 2

CONTAINS: Glycoside icariin or epimedin, benzene, sterols, tanning, palmitic acid, linolenic acid, oleic acid and vitamin E.

PART USED: Leaves.

Antirheumatic and aphrodisiac.
Has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for impotence, frigidity, spermatorrhea, frequent urination, forgetfulness, withdrawal, feelings of coldness in lower back accompanied by soreness in back and knees, spasms and cramps in hands and feet, numbness in extremities, dizziness and menstrual irregularity associated with high blood pressure.
Chinese research reports effectiveness in stimulating sexual activity and sperm production. Also, stimulating 'sensory nerves'. Has mild androgenic effect on testes, prostate and levator ani. The leaf extract increases frequency of copulation in animals. Injections of epidemin increase seminal secretions in dogs.
Low doses increase urine output while large doses decrease it.

Epimedium sagittatum

PROPAGATION: By seed in late summer and by division in spring and autumn.
NEEDS: Grown as an ornamental. Needs moist, rich, well-draining soil in partial shade. Cut back in late winter before new growth appears. Young shoots can be damaged by frost.
HARVEST: Whole plant during the growing season.
PART USED: Dried plant.

Pungent and sweet; liver and kidney tonic; dilates blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, antitussive, expectorant; aphrodisiac, stimulates secretion of hormones.
Has been used for asthma, bronchitis, cold or numb extremities, arthritis, lumbago, impotence, involuntary or premature ejaculation, high blood pressure, and forgetfulness.
May be useful to stimulate sex drive in women who are androgen deficient (empirical evidence only at this time).

!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
INFUSION = 1 to 3 tsp steeped in 1 cup of water and taken 1 cup per day.

©2000 & 2006 by Ernestina Parziale, CH