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WTF Is Horny Goat Weed?

Low key good for your grandma.

Ab Hanna

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WTF Is Horny Goat Weed?

Horny goat weed isn’t a name you forget. You may have seen pouches of it on the shelves of your local bodega or gas station and wondered, WTF is horny goat weed? Well, we’ve finally got you some answers. It’s an herb, but you won’t want to smoke this one. They usually come in pills. You can even find bottles of them on the shelves of vitamin stores now. The plant has been sold in the United States for decades as an aphrodisiac. However, it does more than that and its use dates back centuries in other countries.

Name Origin

The history of the name horny goat weed goes way back. In fact, the Chinese have been calling it that in herbal supplement guides since the Northern and Southern dynasties (420-589).

Legend has it, the Physician Tao Hongjing began studying the herb after a goat herder told him about a grass that was making his male goats overly sexually active. He noticed something every time his goat or sheep chewed on a certain patch of grass. They became excited and mated several more times a day than usual. This led him to name the plant “Yin Yang Huo,” which loosely translates to “licentious goat plant.”

Licentious means promiscuous with no sexual manners AKA horny. When American supplement companies wanted to market the herb, they went with the name that’d forever be ingrained in our brains: horny goat weed.

What Does It Do?

WTF Is Horny Goat Weed?

The name and their placement next to male enhancement pills at the bodega are a hint at only one the capabilities this ancient herb has. After the goat herder brought it to his attention, Tao Hongjing began prescribing horny goat weed to patients with erectile dysfunction with positive results.

A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology used an extract of the horny goat called Epimedium on rats to see if its traditional use to treat erectile dysfunction is true. They concluded that the rat’s sexual activity and performance was enhanced after they took the extract.

According to the University of Michigan Medical School, “people with kidney failure being treated with dialysis had improved sex drive after taking horny goat weed” when compared to another group that didn’t take any.

The problem is this supplement is not regulated by the FDA. They need to be proven to be safe for consumption before they can be sold. However, claims on the bottle don’t need to be approved by the FDA. As a result, you don’t know exactly what you’re getting and in what quantities. There are several different species of epimedium just like there are with growing weed strains. Some are great for your sex drive while others are better for other health benefits.

We assumed horny goat weed was targeted to males but it may impact women’s sex drive as well. On top of an increased libido, there is preclinical evidence that one of the plant’s extracts called Icariin can help manage the bone loss from osteoporosis and other symptoms of menopause.

Final Hit: WTF Is Horny Goat Weed?

Horny goat weed is an unregulated eastern medicine that is used to treat sexual issues, heart disease, liver disease, bronchitis, joint pain, osteoporosis and more. If you don’t have any of those problems, you probably won’t have a use for horny goat weed. Don’t let the name confuse you, there’s no association with the weed we know and love. If you were looking for something to get you high,  save your wallet and lungs some trouble and don’t bother. Stick to the regular stuff.

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