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Epimedium pubescens Maxim. Berberidaceae. Horny (sic) Goat Weed. Distribution: China. Marketed as an aphrodisiac, with the ability to act like sildenafil and for osteoporosis. Side effects reported include dizziness, dry mouth, vomiting and cardiac irregularity. It is not listed in Wiart (2006) or Wichtl (1994). Its reputation began, apparently, when a Chinese farmer observed increased sexual activity in his goats after they had been eating Epimedium. Given the enormous profits made by medicines such as sildenafil, it is indicative of its therapeutic value that it has not been taken up by a pharmaceutical company. Poor absorption from the gut and lack of information on toxicity may be responsible. It is not licensed for sale in the UK as a Traditional Herbal Remedy (Traditional Herbal Medicines Registration, January 2013) and has not been assessed or approved by the European Medicines Agency's Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC). Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London.

Dr Henry Oakeley

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view Epimedium pubescens Maxim. Berberidaceae. Horny (sic) Goat Weed. Distribution: China. Marketed as an aphrodisiac, with the ability to act like sildenafil and for osteoporosis. Side effects reported include dizziness, dry mouth, vomiting and cardiac irregularity. It is not listed in Wiart (2006) or Wichtl (1994). Its reputation began, apparently, when a Chinese farmer observed increased sexual activity in his goats after they had been eating Epimedium. Given the enormous profits made by medicines such as sildenafil, it is indicative of its therapeutic value that it has not been taken up by a pharmaceutical company. Poor absorption from the gut and lack of information on toxicity may be responsible. It is not licensed for sale in the UK as a Traditional Herbal Remedy (Traditional Herbal Medicines Registration, January 2013) and has not been assessed or approved by the European Medicines Agency's Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC). Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London.

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Credit: Epimedium pubescens Maxim. Berberidaceae. Horny (sic) Goat Weed. Distribution: China. Marketed as an aphrodisiac, with the ability to act like sildenafil and for osteoporosis. Side effects reported include dizziness, dry mouth, vomiting and cardiac irregularity. It is not listed in Wiart (2006) or Wichtl (1994). Its reputation began, apparently, when a Chinese farmer observed increased sexual activity in his goats after they had been eating Epimedium. Given the enormous profits made by medicines such as sildenafil, it is indicative of its therapeutic value that it has not been taken up by a pharmaceutical company. Poor absorption from the gut and lack of information on toxicity may be responsible. It is not licensed for sale in the UK as a Traditional Herbal Remedy (Traditional Herbal Medicines Registration, January 2013) and has not been assessed or approved by the European Medicines Agency's Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC). Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London. Credit: Dr Henry Oakeley. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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