August 28

Horny Goat Weed For Erections

(Article medically reviewed by Dr. Zac Hyde M.D)

9 Ways Goat Weed Enhances Bedroom Performance

The herb known as Horny Goat Weed is sure to get a few snickers every time you mention it. 

However, as you’ll see, there might be more to this little plant than just a funny name. 

In this article, we’ll outline all the reasons why you might want to add some Horny Goat Weed to your daily supplements list – especially if you’re looking for rock-hard erections. 

horny-goat-weed-for-erections

Horny Goat Weed Has an Ancient Reputation

Of all the various natural cures for erectile dysfunction, the one that gets the most attention is the aptly named Horny Goat Weed. 

Like many traditional medicines, Horny Goat Weed originated in China. Some sources will tell you this was hundreds of years ago, while others will say thousands. 

Either way, the story goes like this:

A goat herder was watching his animals one day when he noticed them eating a certain plant. Soon after, they appeared much “friskier” than before. 

The man put two and two together and concluded that whatever they ate must be stoking their little goat-y fires, so to speak. 

Presumably, he promptly thought, “I need some of that!” and the rest, as they say, is history. 

The goat herder must have enjoyed some serious results himself, because HGW soon became the go-to remedy for men who had lost the desire or ability to get it up. 

Nowadays, thanks to advances in science and technology, we don’t just know that Horny Goat Weed is a powerful aphrodisiac, but we also know why. 

Horny Goat Weed for Erections (A Scientific Perspective) 

The first thing you need to know about Horny Goat Weed is that it – sadly – isn’t actually called that.

Its scientific name is Epimedium, but it’s also known around the world by names like barrenwort, bishop’s hat, and fairy wings. It’s a flowering plant that’s endemic to China and other parts of Asia. 

As we’ll discuss later, the plant is remarkable for containing icariin, a known PDE5 inhibitor. 

It also contains a wide range of flavonoids and chemical compounds, some of which have been identified as having health benefits. 

But here’s the thing: while science remains somewhat “unimpressed” with horny goat weed for erections studies, other studies seem to suggest they’re not looking close enough. 

Indeed, as you’ll see in this article, HGW works to improve your erections and your sex drive in a huge number of ways. 

In fact, many experts think there’s enough evidence to prove that high-quality Horny Goat Weed extract is a great way to get better morning, afternoon, and nighttime wood.

Here are nine reasons why it works so well.

1. Horny Goat Weed Inhibits PDE5

We mentioned this in the previous section, but now it’s time to get into it in much more detail. 

You see, PDE5 is an enzyme that breaks down nitric oxide.

If you remember from our many other articles about erectile function (and dysfunction), you’ll remember that you need high levels of nitric oxide to get an erection. More on that in a minute. 

PDE5, on the other hand, is responsible for clearing NO from your system. Obviously, this isn’t so useful if you’re struggling to get hard in the first place. 

So, what Horny Goat Weed does for erections (or, rather, what icariin, the active ingredient in the plant, does) is inhibit your body’s production of PDE5. 

Think of it as playing defense for your dong. 

By consuming more HGW, you can ensure more nitric oxide stays in your system longer. So, when you need to get (or stay) hard, you have the reserves necessary to pull it off. 

But it’s not quite that simple…

You see, not all PDE5 is the same. Within that same enzyme, there are actually three different isoforms. In fact, most synthetic ED drugs are PDE5 inhibitors designed to work against just one type of isoform.

But unlike those products, icariin acts on all three types of isoforms, taking a more well-rounded (and much more natural) approach to the problem. 

Let’s take a few minutes and look at some science: 

A study completed on rats found that the icariin in Horny Goat Weed inhibited all three types of PDE5 equally well and about three times as well as zaprinast, a failed ED drug.

The reason Horny Goat Weed is so effective isn’t just its PDE5 inhibition, though. 

Studies looking at the impact of Horny Goat Weed on other important neurological factors for an erection have found a slew of positive effects, including improved arterial pressure, better nitric oxide synthase, and improved smooth tissue function. 

Now, you don’t need to be a genius to understand how improved arterial function can assist erections, but the other two can play a big role as well. 

In the end, researchers in these studies concluded that Horny Goat Weed might have neurotrophic effects in addition to known its phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibiting effects. 

Essentially, they’re saying that there may be additional positive side effects of taking Horny Goat Weed for erections that go beyond your boner and benefit your general health. 

2. Works a Nitric Oxide (NO) Booster

nitric-oxide-graphic

As I mentioned earlier, Horny Goat Weed is a powerful nitric oxide booster. 

In fact, this is probably the effect that gets the most press in ED circles. After all, a simple Google search for the two terms will return about 901,000 results, so you know there’s plenty of information out there.

But how does it actually work? 

Well, for starters, if you need a refresher on just why NO is important, you can read about it here

Once you have that down, return back and keep reading because Goat Weed works in two different ways. 

First, it elevates nitric oxide production. In fact, in the rat study we mentioned in the last section, it’s mentioned several times that Horny Goat Weed increased nitric oxide synthase, making it easier for your body to make NO. 

Now, this happens through multiple pathways. 

For instance, it helps improve what’s known as the “L-arginine to NO pathway,” which relaxes the corpus cavernosum in the penis and allows erections to take place. 

Second, Horny Goat Weed also inhibits NO breakdown. This is basically attacking the problem from both sides. 

By producing more NO than you normally would while also minimizing loss, you can ensure you’re always maximizing the amount of NO in your system. 

For instance, during a 2006 study on rabbits , researchers found that the Horny Goat Weed led to increased relaxation of soft muscle tissue compared to the control group. 

This is a combination of both the acceleration of NO synthase and thus an improved cGMP signal pathway as well as inhibiting PDE5, your body’s natural signal to bring your erection to an end.

Finally, Horny Goat Weed also works to help up-regulate the gene relating to NO production. Basically, everything in your body is ultimately controlled by genes. 

Upregulation is the process by which a cell increases its response to a substance or signal that tells it to perform a specific function. 

And it turns out, the specific genes that manage NO production can actually be “trained” to produce more nitric oxide with regular HGW dosage.

3. Horny Goat Weed is a Testosterone Mimetic

It’s basic science: men need testosterone to build the sex drive that gets the erection process started in the first place. 

After all, testosterone issues are some of the primary culprits behind physiological erectile dysfunction of all kinds. 

Unfortunately, as we get older, our testosterone levels drop naturally, leaving us less and less prepared to perform when “duty calls.” 

Now, if there’s one topic I’ve covered a million times on this site, it’s how to boost your testosterone levels with supplements, dietary changes, and more. 

Well, I’d love to tell you this discussion is going to be different, but that’s not the case. The active ingredient in Horny Goat Weed, icariin, can effectively boost your T levels by pretending to be testosterone.

It sounds a bit fanciful, but – according to the research – your body can’t tell the difference.

For instance, one study exploring this topic looked dosed one group of rats with icariin and compared the results with a control group. 

Interestingly enough, they found that the icariin group had both improved reproductive organ function and higher testosterone levels.

Another study on rats found that icariin tripled testosterone levels without increasing either luteinizing hormone (LH) or follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). 

This is important because it not only means that testosterone went up by a factor of three, but also that the ratio of testosterone to other hormones improved significantly.

From these studies and more, we can conclude that Horney Goat Weed acts as what we call a medical “mimetic.” 

This is a substance that imitates the effects of another, usually completely unrelated, substance. 

In this case, that substance is testosterone. 

Now, it’s worth noting that nobody is quite sure why HGW works as a mimetic. But one theory suggests that it might drive up T levels by lowering cortisol. 

Which brings us to our next point…

4. Goat Weed Lowers Cortisol

horny-goat-weed-for-erections

I’ve written extensively on cortisol in the past. If you aren’t familiar with this substance, it’s the hormone responsible for the human stress response. 

While there’s no such thing as “good” and “bad” hormones per se, these chemical messengers are just doing their job.

However, we can pay attention to the messages they send (and how often they send them). 

Essentially, cortisol is the physical manifestation of mental stress that comes with psychological stress. 

It’s produced by our adrenal glands, which are situated on top of our kidneys. In the caveman days, they helped us manage our “fight or flight” response. 

Now that we’re rarely in life-or-death situations every hour, they can pump out cortisol in response to far less serious matters. 

But here’s the problem: cortisol and testosterone have a see-saw relationship. When cortisol is elevated, your testosterone production dips in response. 

And we all know what that means for our sexual abilities, right? Well, that’s where Horny Goat Weed comes in.

One study on animals in a lab setting found that Horny Goat Weed reduced exercise-induced cortisol. 

This sparked the question: could Horny Goat Weed also reduce stress-induced cortisol? 

As it turns out, the answer is “yes.”

Scientists then stressed out their rats to cause their cortisol to spike and found that those who had been given Horny Goat Weed did indeed have lower cortisol levels.

Of course, this information is hugely beneficial for you and your erections. 

With the ability to reduce cortisol levels through regular supplementation, you can retain more testosterone and preserve your overall sex drive. 

Second, with less cortisol, you have less physiological reinforcement for your psychological stress and, thus, less potent stress levels. 

In short, you’ll be more relaxed about whatever is stressing you out. And since stress is also a major psychological cause of ED, less stress means better quality erections.

5. Goat Weed Elevates Dopamine Production

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter and hormone that has a number of functions in the body. 

You might, for instance, be thinking about its various neurological duties, such as balancing your mood and regulating your temper. 

Well, I’m here to tell you that dopamine also hugely affects your sex life. In fact, it’s one of the main drivers of your erectile response.

So, maintaining positive dopamine levels is essential if you want a healthy and happy life in and outside the bedroom.

But here’s the problem: lots of things can lead to reduced dopamine production. Good examples include sleep deprivation, obesity, drug and alcohol abuse, stress, porn consumption and even certain dietary deficiencies. 

To make matters worse, these issues can build up in your body to the point where they’re savaging your dopamine levels on a daily basis. 

Again, Horny Goat Weed to the rescue! 

HGW has been shown to significantly increase your dopamine production. For example, a group of scientists performing rodent research on Parkinson’s Disease found that icariin positively impacted dopaminergic neurons. 

Specifically, the researchers found that the Horny Goat Weed helped activate the PI3K signaling pathway, which is the pathway that eventually leads to endothelial nitric oxide synthase.

We already talked about Nitric Oxide, but now we’ll connect some of the dots. 

By increasing dopamine production and lubricating specific neural pathways at the same time, Horny Goat Weed makes NO synthase easier. In turn, this makes getting an erection easier as well. 

6. Goat Weed Reverses Diabetic Penile Damage

horny-goat-weed-diabetic-penile-damage

Some ED isn’t psychosocial or physiological in the general sense. In some cases, it’s simply the result of physical damage done to the body. 

One example of a disease that can contribute to physical ED is diabetes. 

You see, long terms sufferers of this disease can end up experiencing severe damage to the blood vessels and nerves in their penis. 

This can slow or even block blood flow while making it difficult for the penis to register (and react to) sensations. 

Now, with diabetes rates rising all around the world, diabetic penile damage has become increasingly common (and difficult to fix). 

Indeed, a recent study on the topic found that more than 50% of men who have diabetes suffer from some form of erectile dysfunction. 

That’s half of a population that gets bigger every day. But as you probably guessed, Horny Goat Weed might be able to help.

For example, the bulk of diabetic penile damage is caused by damage to the penile dorsal nerve bundle.

This is the collection of nerves that run all over your penis and testes, grooving between the two hemispheres of your corpora cavernosa. 

Like all nerves, the job of the PDNB is to send signals to your brain. In this case, those signals typically involve a sexual reaction. 

Knowing that, it’s not hard to see why suffering damage to the penile dorsal nerve bundle can be very distressing. 

Fortunately, studies completed on diabetic rats suggest that icariside II, another active ingredient in Horny Goat Weed, has a positive effect on a range of erection-related problems. 

More specifically, it can help increase the density of the penile dorsal nerve bundle. 

This effect is likely the result of improved nerve growth factor (NGF). And while it sounds a bit fanciful, the more nerves you have, the better off you are (and the more sensation you’ll experience). 

So essentially, we’ve found out that regular doses of HGW can repair some of the damage done by diabetes and get your penis game back on track.

But that’s not all; the same study also suggested that Horny Goat Weed could:

  • Improve neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS)
  • Improve spongy tissue, specifically repairing damage caused by diabetes
  • Improve the major pelvic ganglion (pelvic nerves) needed to get an erection

The end result is that Horny Goat Weed can help repair the various erection-related problems caused by diabetes, particularly those that deal with nerve damage. 

This is great news for anyone who suffers from either Type 1 or Type 2 versions of the disorder, especially older men who might have other factors contributing to their erection issues.

7. Horny Goat Weed Improves Sperm Quality

Sperm is produced in your testicles, a process that we’ve discussed hundreds of times at length. 

But here’s the thing: the overall health of your sperm can vary according to a vast array of factors. 

As you’ve probably guessed from the other topics so far, men tend to stop making as much “healthy” sperm as they get older. 

Now, sperm health basically comes down to two things: quality and quantity. 

You don’t only want to maximize the amount of sperm present in every release of semen, but you want to make sure as many of those little swimmers as possible are built to do their job: carry genetic material to the egg. 

This matters whether you’re trying to have kids or not, as it’s a huge indicator of one’s general health. 

Fortunately, Horny Goat Weed improves both quantity and quality. 

For example, a study on male rats found that those dosed with icariin had significantly more sperm than those who hadn’t. 

As we mentioned, research has also suggested that Horny Goat Weed can improve sperm quality. 

Specifically, this study looked at the effect of icariin on oxidative stress (the imbalance between free radicals and your body’s ability to deal with them). 

Sperm are natural antioxidants, so keeping them healthy benefits you by keeping your free radicals in check. 

But when the researchers looked at sperm that had been exposed to icariin and compared it to sperm that hadn’t, they found that the icariin-dosed sperm were much more resistant to damage caused by free radicals.

Essentially, icariin acts as a shield, protecting sperm from oxidization while they themselves help keep free radicals in balance throughout your body. 

This has widespread implications beyond just the health of your sperm. 

However, for older men or those who have already witnessed a decline in sperm motility or quantity, Horny Goat Weed seems like a great treatment candidate.

8. Horny Goat Weed is an Antidepressant

depressed-man

We’ve talked before about the long-term damage that commercial SSRI antidepressants can have on your erectile function. 

From the inability to ejaculate during sex to erection problems to lack of penile sensitivity, these drugs may help with your mood, but they’re murder on your wood. 

To make matters worse, this damage can persist even long after you’ve dropped the meds. 

While it might seem like it the way they’re overprescribed in the States, SSRIs are not the only option for treating depression. 

So, before you reach for the hard stuff and risk damaging your sex life for good, you should give Horny Goat Weed a try. 

Among the many other brilliant side effects on this list, HGW can also work as an antidepressant.

One study induced mice into a depressed-liked state and then forced the depressed (and lethargic) mice to swim and lift their tails (this sounds a bit silly but is actually a standard measure for this sort of experiment). 

They soon found that the group that had been receiving Horny Goat Weed for 21 days in a row prior to the experiment did better in both the swimming and the tail lifting tests than the controls. 

In the end, researchers concluded that icariin possessed potent antidepressant-like properties.

Another study looked at chronic mild stress (CMS) in rats and the impact of taking icariin on reducing CMS. 

They found that when rats are exposed to chronic mild stress, the amount of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) increases. 

However, when dosed with icariin, the rats with CMS totally reversed the increase in CRF.

So that’s pretty fascinating, right? Essentially, it means that the icariin in Horny Goat Weed can work as an antidepressant whether the issue is actual, medical depression, or merely stress and anxiety-induced. 

And, since we know that SSRIs are a huge problem for your baby maker, avoiding them is the best policy.  

9. Goat Weed Increases Sexual Activity

Finally, in addition to all the other benefits, many of which will have aphrodisiacal spinoff effects (e.g. increased T, dopamine, and sensation, and reduced cortisol), Horny Goat Weed works as a straight-up aphrodisiac. 

In the end, for all our research and data, the old Chinese goat herder was actually right. He observed the most basic cause and effect scenario and got it right. 

The goats eat the plant and they get horny!

Now, there are a million different reasons why we, as human men, might lose interest in sex. 

But it’s important to remind ourselves that sex isn’t just a method or procreation or a chance to have a bit of fun. 

Sex is a human need, and depriving yourself of it can have significant mental and physical ramifications. 

But with a little HGW in your corner, you might find the encouragement you need to get back in the saddle. 

Horny Goat Weed for Erections – Conclusion:

Horny Goat Weed is talked about in ED circles a lot – and for good reason. It can be enormously beneficial to your sex life, not to mention keeping your mind and body in tip-top shape. 

Usually, the focus is on the fact that Horny Goat Weed is a natural PDE5 inhibitor like Viagra.

However, there are many other benefits and positive side effects as well, including lower cortisol levels, more testosterone and NO, and better-quality sperm.

Plus, since it’s an aphrodisiac, you’ll just be hornier in general. So, if you’re a guy who’s getting older and you’re worried about your erections… 

Or if you just want to make sure you’re as sexually fit as you can be, Horny Goat Weed is definitely an herb you should try.

About the Author Mark


Article edited by Mark Wilson. Mark currently owns 5 sites in the men's sexual health niche and has published more than 5,000 articles and blog posts on dozens of websites all over the world wide web.

Related Posts

Natural Vasodilators For Harder Erections

Natural Vasodilators For Harder Erections

Overtraining and Erectile Dysfunction

Overtraining and Erectile Dysfunction

Milk and Testosterone

Milk and Testosterone

Male Erection Problems

Male Erection Problems