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Herb works like Viagra

Oct 02, 2008

The Chinese call it Yin Yang Huo, which loosely means "licentious goat plant." Researchers in Italy report that this ancient Chinese herbal remedy commonly known as “horny goat weed” or Epimedium sagittatum shows potential to treat erectile dysfunction (ED). The study provides additional scientific evidence supporting the herb’s well-known use as a natural aphrodisiac,
Several prescription drugs are available for treating ED, or male impotence. ED affects an estimated 18 million men in the United States alone. However, these drugs often cause side effects such as headache, facial flushing, stomach upset and visual disturbances.
To find better treatments, the scientists studied herbal extracts reputed to improve sexual performance. Scientists exposed the substances to an enzyme that controls blood flow to the right spot in men and whose inhibition results in engorgement. Of the extracts tested, “horny goat weed” was the most potent inhibitor of the enzyme. By chemical modification of Icariin, the active ingredient purified from the extract, the scientists obtained a derivative with activity similar to Viagra and a potential for fewer side effects because it targeted the protein more precisely than sildenafil. The study will be published in the October 24 issue of ACS’ Journal of Natural Products.