Alternatives To Tribulus: Horny Goat Weed

Horny Goat Weed or Epimedium is an alternative to Tribulus that is found in many natural herbal testosterone boosters. We dive deep into this ingredient and see if the science supports it’s use as a herbal sexual aid, testosterone booster, phyto-androgen and/or pSARM.

Horny Goat Weed, like Tribulus is often touted to boost testosterone, but from a quick literature search, we find no real evidence that horny goat weed boosts testosterone at all. In rats, Epimedium (horny goat weed) did not show in increase in testosterone levels. This makes horny goat weed a no show on testosterone boosting (1) in one study and a testosterone boosting effect in another study (7). Similar to Tribulus, these seem to be effects of “legend” since sexual stimulants can be mistakenly viewed as testosterone boosters.

As a phyto-androgen Horny Goat Weed has very little data on it, but it doesn’t appear to be harmful, since it isn’t an estrogenic herb to any significant level (2). It does however show some suppression of the androgen receptor, meaning it will make the androgen receptor less sensitive to your body’s own testosterone (3). This isn’t a really good thing, since you want to increase androgen sensitivity with things like sodium caprylate and carnitine tartrate. There is one paper showing icariin to be a natural phytoandrogen, so it is possible that it can build muscle (7).

Horny goat weed probably got the belief that it was a testosterone booster because it upregulated eNOS which is responsible for erections (4,5,6). This upregulation of Nitric Oxide is useful and cool, but it doesn’t really help you build any muscle. It is great to increase erections, so as a “penis pill” it is a good ingredient. The main component icariin seems to be responsible for this effect (5). As an ingredient to increase erections it seems to have some good data behind it, but that is about all it seems to be good at doing. There is one paper showing an increased testosterone effect in castrated rats, which is something but it is not a great paper (7).

Horny Goat Weed isn’t going to increase sperm quality as far as we know from the literature search we conducted, so it’s not a good ingredient for fertility or “larger loads” as it is often marketed.

A Better Way To Gain Muscle!

You need to first decide if you want to stay natural or go with prohormones. If you stay natural, you can boost testosterone by reducing your estrogen using ingredients found in Formadrol by LG Sciences.

You can also use a natural phyto-androgen like Natadrol from LG Sciences which acts like testosterone without actually being a steroid.

Finally, the prohormone 3b-Hydroxyandrost-5-en-17-one can boost testosterone by giving the body more raw materials to work with.

1. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 1989 Dec;9(12):737-8, 710. [Effects of yang-restoring herb medicines on the levels of plasma corticosterone, testosterone and triiodothyronine].

2. J Sex Med. 2010 Apr;7(4 Pt 1):1518-28. Epub 2010 Feb 5. Erectogenic and neurotrophic effects of icariin, a purified extract of horny goat weed (Epimedium spp.) in vitro and in vivo. Shindel AW, Xin ZC, Lin G, Fandel TM, Huang YC, Banie L, Breyer BN, Garcia MM, Lin CS, Lue TF.

3. Int J Oncol. 2002 Apr;20(4):681-9. Effects of herbal preparation Equiguard on hormone-responsive and hormone-refractory prostate carcinoma cells: mechanistic studies. Hsieh TC, Lu X, Guo J, Xiong W, Kunicki J, Darzynkiewicz Z, Wu JM.

4. Urology. 2006 Mar;67(3):631-5. Effect of Epimedium brevicornum Maxim extract on elicitation of penile erection in the rat. Chen KK, Chiu JH.

5. J Sex Med. 2010 Apr;7(4 Pt 1):1518-28. Epub 2010 Feb 5. Erectogenic and neurotrophic effects of icariin, a purified extract of horny goat weed (Epimedium spp.) in vitro and in vivo. Shindel AW, Xin ZC, Lin G, Fandel TM, Huang YC, Banie L, Breyer BN, Garcia MM, Lin CS, Lue TF.

6. Int J Impot Res. 2006 Jul-Aug;18(4):335-42. Epub 2006 Jan 5. Epimedium brevicornum Maxim extract relaxes rabbit corpus cavernosum through multitargets on nitric oxide/cyclic guanosine monophosphate signaling pathway. Chiu JH, Chen KK, Chien TM, Chiou WF, Chen CC, Wang JY, Lui WY, Wu CW.

7. Asian J Androl. 2006 Sep;8(5):601-5. Epub 2006 Jun 5. The testosterone mimetic properties of icariin. Zhang ZB, Yang QT. Department of Urology, Second Affiliated Hospital, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou 515041, China.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website reflects the opinion of our staff and manufacturer’s and should not be interpreted as medical advise. The information is not unbiased or independent and is the opinion of the owners of tribulus4testosterone.com The descriptions and statements accompanying these products and vitamin supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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5 Responses

  1. Oat Grass Says:

    If you don’t like something about yourself, change it. If you can’t change it, accept it.

  2. colon cleanse Says:

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  3. Ron Berries Says:

    Horny Goat Weed isn’t going to build muscle, but it might make you perform better sexually. You just have to find a quality source and then take the right dose. It’s not a great supplement like everyone keeps saying. It’s not going to put any muscle on you, just increase sex drive and fertility.

  4. Trib Hater Says:

    Horny Goat Weed with icariin sucks for building muscle. You should find something better that will give you an even more comprtehensive testosterone boosting effect. You can boost testosterone by much better supplements and get a higher level of androgen support. You can get good alternatives out there like long jack and others.

  5. salina Says:

    Horny goat weed has a long history of use in traditional Chinese and Herbal supplements.Horny Goat Weed is an all-natural botanical sexual enhancer…

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