A comprehensive Q&A guide to icariin supplements. Providing a fact-based analysis of what icariin is, how it works & its most common uses. Get a vital look into which types of icariin extract are the most effective to buy, along with which icariin product is rated best overall in terms of potential health benefits.
The key questions addressed are as follows:
- What is icariin?
- How does icariin work?
- In what ways can I benefit from taking icariin extract?
- Are there any possible adverse side effects from taking icariin?
- What are the different strengths of icariin extract available?
- What is the recommended dosage of icariin extract?
- Which factors determine a top-quality icariin supplement?
- Which is the best icariin product available to buy?
1. What is icariin?
Icariin is a very powerful active flavonol found naturally within all members of the Epimedium plant family. The extracts produced using Epimedium plants have long since been coined under the name ‘Horny Goat Weed’.
Horny Goat Weed is now recognized around the world as the best natural sexual enhancement supplement available, and this famed recognition all came about thanks to the potent ingredient within Horny Goat Weed called icariin.
2. How does icariin work?
There are many complex answers to the question: how does icariin work? However, it’s really very simple!
Taking icariin in the form of an orally administered Horny Goat Weed extract supplement works by increasing and improving two vital processes that naturally occur within the human body.
The first of these two processes is an increase in the efficient transmission of a naturally occurring free radical called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide (or ‘NO’ for short) is a vital cellular signaling molecule and its primary signaling purposes lay within the successful delivery of blood around the body, where and when required.
The second process which occurs within the body from the consumption of icariin via Horny Goat Weed, is an increase in the level of free-form circulating testosterone hormones i.e. the primary male sex hormone.
Testosterone hormones can only exhibit their useful properties by connecting to the androgen receptors on the cell walls. In order to achieve this successfully, the testosterone hormones have to be in their free-form and therefore circulating the body via blood flow. For this very reason; increasing testosterone levels as a whole is not a good enough sole indication as to whether or not an issue relating to low levels of free-form testosterone will be resolved. The focus must be to work specifically on increasing free-form (bio-available) testosterone specifically, and the natural extract that assists best within this particular area of requirement is icariin.
3. In what ways can I benefit from taking icariin extract?
Men’s Sexual Health:
Essentially icariin is the perfect supplement for men, which is why at present men occupy about 80 percent of the Horny Goat Weed supplement market. The reason for men occupying such a dominant share of Horny Goat Weed sales is because the primary two actions of icariin (as discussed above i.e. restored nitric oxide transmission and an increase in levels of free-form circulating Testosterone) are the most crucial contributing factors to the healthy functioning of the male reproductive system.
Healthy levels of nitric oxide transmission are essential for men to gain a strong and solid erection of the penis. Without healthy levels of nitric oxide, the amount of blood in which the body triggers for delivery to the penis becomes significantly reduced.
Testosterone is a vital hormone for male sexual health because testosterone hormones regulate the level of sex drive a man has. Therefore if your circulating levels of bio-available testosterone are low, you quite simply won’t feel as sexually eager and excited towards your partner as previously. Another very worthy benefit of maintaining good strong levels of free-form testosterone is that this hormone is a primary contributor to the healthy production of sperm.
In summary, the sexual benefits in which a man can gain from taking high icariin strength Horny Goat Weed capsules daily, are as follows:
- Phenomenal increases in the solidity of penile erections.
- The ability to have more consistent and more frequent erections.
- Substantially higher levels of sex drive i.e. an increase in the desire to initiate sexual intercourse with your partner.
- Increased sexual stamina, in terms of both the frequency and duration of a ‘session’ of sexual intercourse.
- Healthier sperm production.
Women’s Sexual Health:
Although as stated above; that icariin is the ideal supplement for male sexual health in all facets of that topic, this does not mean that icariin isn’t beneficial for women or a good sexual remedy for women to take, as the fact is that icariin is also a hugely effective herbal remedy for women too.
How icariin is beneficial for women in terms of sexual health comes down to the fact that women also rely heavily on nitric oxide for the successful delivery of blood flow to the clitoris, allowing for a fully stimulated clitoris during sexual intercourse.
The difference however for women taking a Horny Goat Weed supplement to benefit sexually from the effects of icariin, is that women can get away with taking either a lower icariin percentage of Horny Goat Weed supplement or a lower dosage of a high icariin percentage Horny Goat Weed supplement. This is of course due to the fact (as mentioned earlier) that high icariin purity ‘standardized’ Horny Goat Weed supplements (such as those in the 50% & 60% icariin class) work on increasing levels of free-form testosterone, which is not a hormone that women typically require for sexual health, at least not to the same degree that men do.
In summary, every day women use Horny Goat Weed (and therefore icariin) to benefit their sexual health in terms of low female libido and for boosts in clitoral stimulation — heck there are even Horny Goat Weed products out there labeled specifically for women — it’s merely that women don’t require as much icariin as men do.
Bodybuilding & Athletic Performance:
The use of icariin based supplements by bodybuilders and athletes of all types to improve sporting performance is something that has been happening for many years, with the results obtained being incomparable to any other ‘single extract’ natural herbal supplement.
Despite this long history of icariin’s use within bodybuilding and sports supplements, the majority of athletes who have a good foundation of knowledge regarding dietary supplements don’t generally have in-depth knowledge of Horny Goat Weed/Epimedium/Icariin. The reason for this is due to the fact that the majority of performance-enhancing sports supplements consist of a very large mixture of different ingredients — coupled with the fact that these sports supplements brands/manufacturers by default then give the products a fancy ‘branded up’ name that they think best markets the product to the type of consumer they are targeting. The point here is such that; unless you are a person who carefully studies the exact ingredients/content of all your chosen sports performance supplements, then you may have overlooked the potential that some of your current and/or previous performance-boosting supplements have in fact contained Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium) extracted to a standardized percentage of icariin.
When you take into consideration that icariin based supplements at high standardized purity percentages (such as 50% & 60% icariin) are very powerful natural NO (nitric oxide) boosters and testosterone boosters, it becomes immediately obvious as to why these particular plant extracts hold a very heavy presence in this field of sports supplements, especially in the area of endurance sports and bodybuilding where participants are constantly pushing to get even more performance out of themselves.
The benefits obtained by athletes who take an icariin based supplement daily include the following:
- Gains in endurance levels, obtained from the improved delivery of blood and oxygen to the muscles.
- Reduced post-activity recovery time, due to the more efficient delivery of nutrients to the repairing muscle tissue.
- The faster building of lean muscle mass.
- Hugely improved stamina and increased mental drive.
- Vastly intensified muscle ‘pump’ due to the effects of nitric oxide.
Bone Health & Osteoporosis
People tend to look at you in a funny way when you mention the fact that Horny Goat Weed is good for the health of one’s bone tissue! Granted the term ‘bone’ doesn’t help and often leads to various double-entendres…
However within the area of bone health; icariin is receiving a very large amount of attention and investment, therefore each year there are several new positive findings regarding its beneficial effects on bone tissue and more specifically towards the prevention and treatment of degenerative bone conditions such as osteoporosis. There have been many scientific studies carried out over the last decade which have shown conclusively that when icariin is taken regularly, it is extremely good at maintaining strong and healthy bone tissue.
Speaking in regards to osteoporosis; icariin has been found to be an excellent alternative treatment for those who suffer from degenerative bone-related health issues such as osteoporosis. Not only can icariin reduce the risk of onset with osteoporosis, but it can also prove very helpful with slowing down and/or halting the progression of the destructive bone condition. The science behind this, when simplified, is that icariin has shown to apply an osteoprotective effect meaning that it helps promote the healthy growth and development of the osteocyte cells, thereby contributing to the regulation of bone remodeling.
4. Are there any possible adverse side effects from taking icariin?
Taking Horny Goat Weed extract (containing icariin) can result in some very mild side effects, however, such side effects are very seldom experienced, occurring in less than 1% of people who take Horny Goat Weed extract daily.
Generally speaking; as long as you follow the correct dosage instructions stated by the manufacturer, then you shouldn’t experience much in the way of adverse side effects. Most issues occur when people take a substantially different dosage to the one which is advised on the product packaging.
For the few people who have reported adverse side effects from taking Horny Goat Weed/icariin, said side effects have consisted solely of mild headaches, and in some very rare cases (with men only) a slight increase in levels of aggression, most likely resulting from the boost in levels of circulating testosterone.
The aforementioned side effects will typically occur only for the initial 1–2 weeks of daily intake, basically until your body becomes accustomed to the active icariin flavonols.
One thing worth stating (which applies to any concentrated vitamin or dietary supplement) is that if you are someone who has any pre-existing medical conditions, then it is always a best practice to consult your doctor/physician before taking health supplements of any sort.
5. What are there different strengths of icariin extract available?
There are various strengths of icariin extract available and understanding ‘icariin strength’ may initially seem very obvious, however when you dig a bit deeper, things become slightly less cut-and-dry as first thought.
Icariin strength is fundamentally represented by the percentage of actual icariin flavonols contained within any Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium) supplement after the extraction process has been fully completed. That’s the more obvious part.
The effectiveness of icariin at treating health conditions, however, is not linear with an increase in icariin content percentage. The reason for the lack of linearity between the increase in icariin percentage and the increase in effectiveness is due to the fact that; like most plant extracts and the flavonols therein, icariin is most active when it is still embodied within a portion of its original constituent elements/parts. Meaning that if all the constituent parts are removed thus leaving solely 100% pure icariin flavonols, then those flavonols will be both very unstable and mostly inactive due to the result of over-extraction. The bottom line here is that the flavonols will be less effective at producing the desired health benefits.
Categorized below are the various icariin percentage range groups, listed from most effective first, down to the least effective at the bottom:
The standardized 60% icariin purity level is by far the strongest and most effective, being the optimum percentage whereby the content of icariin is very high along with all the icariin flavonols remaining 100% active due to the constituent parts of Horny Goat Weed extract still being present by the remaining 40% of plant matter. If you are buying Horny Goat Weed to get the maximum possible effect, then 60% icariin is the best percentage available. Men use this particular grade of Horny Goat Weed to tackle chronic erectile dysfunction. And both men and women use 60% icariin for the benefit of enhanced sports performance.
Second place for effectiveness goes to 50% icariin standardized, which while not as potent as the 60% icariin, it still does pack a good solid punch in terms of effectiveness. 50% icariin is used for similar purposes as previously mentioned in terms of the uses of 60% icariin. For some, 50% is ample strength, while others will go the whole hog and bag the most effective 60% icariin extracts instead.
The standardized 40% icariin strength is viewed as a sort of happy medium, which is the reason why it’s relatively difficult to come by. What we mean by this is that because 40% icariin neither ticks the ‘most effective’ box or the ‘lowest price’ box, it simply doesn’t tend to be a popular strength percentage in the retail market. Most people either want the strongest icariin that is available, or they don’t require much of a health boost and therefore will simply pick-up a cheap 10% or 20% icariin product from their local Walmart or GNC shop.
As with the 40% icariin strength range, standardized 30% icariin supplements are generally few and far between, in fact, they are harder to find than 40% icariin supplements. This is for the very same reasoning as with the 40% icariin products i.e. that they too neither fit the bill of being the most effective or the cheapest, making them a strength that is in low demand.
Horny Goat Weed supplements in the standardized 20% range are very popular, which is not down to their level of effectiveness, as they are 3+ times less powerful than a 60% icariin supplement. The popularity of 20% icariin stems from the simple fact that they can be purchased for a relatively low price at a large number of retailers — as mentioned above you can stroll into any GNC shop and pick up a 20% icariin product with ease, so this percentage proves very popular in the Horny Goat Weed/icariin supplement market due to good accessibility.
This, as the number suggests, is the lowest standardized strength of extract one can acquire and hence is sold at the cheapest prices (sometimes as low as $10 for a 1 month supply), therefore although 10% icariin is the least effective standardized extract available it is probably the biggest seller, due to its low price point and widespread availability. 10% icariin supplements work well as a good introductory-level product that many people take simply to find out how well they gel with the plant extract as a whole, graduating to stronger more effective extracts shortly following.
70% — 98% icariin
The 70% to 98% icariin strength category is where the lack of linearity (as regards efficacy) mentioned above comes into play.
Compared to the 10% icariin to 60% icariin range, there aren’t a great deal of Epimedium extract products available within the 70% — 98% icariin percentage range. This is due to the fact that icariin flavonols have shown to lose their stability and effectiveness at the 70% mark and above. This drop in effectiveness is the result of over-extraction and the subsequent loss of structure within the Epimedium extract and icariin flavonols. This occurrence means that many of the active icariin flavonols are left in a state whereby they are inactive.
There are a limited number of shops selling extract powders of the 90% icariin strength and the 98% icariin strength for example. However, due to these extracts suffering from the aforementioned over-extraction issue, they cannot be classified as ‘standardized’, meaning that these extracts cannot be stabilized nor guaranteed to a specific purity level of the active icariin flavonols. Point being that any Horny Goat Weed supplements comprising of these 90% icariin and 98% icariin extracts, should not ever be legitimately labeled as being ‘standardized’ products.
6. What is the recommended dosage of icariin extract?
Icariin dosage is something which can never be truly pinpointed to one single milligram per day figure.
The reason for this is because many factors determine how much of a particular quality of icariin extract should be taken by a particular individual.
Manufacturers of extracts should always carry out dosage testing with their products using a broad-sized range of participants, paying particular attention to groups in respect of; age, weight, gender, and lifestyle.
Equally within said testing, there should be a substantial effort made to trial various other factors relating to the best dosage suggestions. These factors include; the best time of day to take the icariin extract, the most advantageous means of intake (e.g. with or without food) and the dosage frequency throughout each day (e.g. take the recommended daily dose in one single sitting, or take the recommended daily dose in multiple different sittings spaced throughout the day).
To wrap up this section on icariin dosage, in terms of the amount of an icariin product which should be consumed per day, the best (and the only viable) advice is to follow the dosage instructions as stated by the manufacturer on the product packaging information, as each dosage stated by the manufacturer should of been derived from thorough testing carried out to establish the optimal (most effective) dosage averages within the test-group population.
7. Which factors determine a top-quality icariin supplement?
When buying Horny Goat Weed, to gain the most benefit from the effects of icariin there are several factors to consider, including a set of rules to abide by, rules that will enable you to get the best quality supplement for your money. These rules for buying icariin supplements are as follows:
- Firstly, check the icariin percentage of the Horny Goat Weed supplement that you are interested in buying. Meaning that if for example, you are looking to buy a 60% icariin Horny Goat Weed product, then check that the ‘supplement information label’ states that the extract is actually of the 60% icariin strength. Also, as mentioned earlier in this article, check that the supplement you are interested in states that it is comprised of a ‘standardized’ Horny Goat Weed extract.
- Check that the supplement contains Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium) extract only, and not lots of other extracts and ingredients bundled together. This pointer may seem very obvious however there are many so-called Horny Goat Weed products on the market that in fact consist of many other ingredients, leaving only about half of the supplement being made up of actual Horny Goat Weed extract.
- Make a mental note of this next tip as it’s crucially important. Icariin and icariins are two very different things! Icariin is the pure flavonol, so the percentage dictates exactly the amount of icariin flavonols you are getting for your money. Icariins ← this time with an ‘s’ is a very low-grade compound that contains Epimedium substances that only consist of very small traces of actual icariin flavonols. As an example to solidify this point; if you were to see a product claiming to contain 50% icariins, the reality is that you would probably be better off buying a 10% icariin product instead — that’s literally how ineffective extracts made of icariins really are.
- Avoid strangely cheap products claiming to consist of high strength percentages of icariin. The reason for saying this is that Horny Goat Weed containing high amounts of standardized icariin (i.e. the 50% and 60% icariin extracts in particular) are very expensive to extract and produce. Therefore it is simply not possible for a legitimate retailer to buy a high strength icariin extract at trade cost and then retail that product at say $30 per 1 month supply. The retailer would be making a huge loss. The bottom line is that with Horny Goat Weed and icariin (as with the majority of health products), you pay for what you get!
8. Which is the best icariin product available to buy?
The most effective and by far the best-rated icariin based supplement on the market is a ‘standardized’ pure 60% icariin Horny Goat Weed supplement called icariin 60™ by World A.B.S. brand name.
icariin 60™ scores high in reviews because it’s a zero-gimmicks Horny Goat Weed supplement, meaning that it’s not a multi-herb supplement that’s been dolled-up with lots of other “supporting” herbal extracts (as we so often come across these days), but rather is a straight-to-the-point pure 60% icariin Horny Goat Weed extract from the ground up.
World A.B.S icariin 60™ is targeted at men more so than women (even though women can gain various benefits from it too), which is due to how powerful of a testosterone booster this supplement has shown to be, along with its unmatched ability to boost up your nitric oxide levels. These huge increases in both nitric oxide and testosterone are the reason that this all-natural health supplement has become a remedy adopted by various male health clinics across the globe, used in a professional capacity to treat erectile dysfunction and low sex drive in men.
Not only does the icariin 60™ Horny Goat Weed product dominate the herbal male sexual enhancement world, but this extract also quite remarkably rules the roost in the athletic performance booster market too, considered as one of the top-ranking bodybuilding and performance enhancement supplements.
With regards to dosage; this maximum-strength Horny Goat Weed extract from World A.B.S is sold in 30-day size bottles, with each bottle containing 90 capsules. This means that it’s a supplement to be taken consistently at a dosage of 3 capsules per day. The good news in respect of the daily dosage requirement is that there’s no stipulated need to spread the intake of the 3 capsules out throughout each day, meaning that all 3 capsules can be taken at the same time. Therefore we found it very hassle-free to maintain a consistent daily dosage.
In terms of the capsules themselves, World A.B.S has used a plant-based capsule shell as opposed to gelatin, making icariin 60™ a supplement friendly for use by both vegetarians and vegans alike.
Regarding availability, the icariin 60™ Horny Goat Weed supplement is primarily available to buy from an online shop called ‘Icariin Health’, which is a trusted retailer endorsed by the World A.B.S brand themselves. To the best of our knowledge, the ‘Icariin Health’ shop has in fact been on the scene for a very long time and has been selling 60% icariin Horny Goat Weed supplements long before World A.B.S even launched the icariin 60™ product.
With that said, in recent years we have noticed a few other online stores selling the World A.B.S icariin 60™ Horny Goat Weed product, therefore it’s always worth having a quick shop around for the best price, as some retailers of the product may offer bulk-buy discounts, while others may instead offer free shipping — >click here to search Google.com for shops selling World A.B.S icariin 60™
The name ‘icariin’ (especially when compared to the name ‘Horny Goat Weed’) is seldom known. We therefore hope that this guide has served to provide you with a good understanding of not just icariin itself, but also as to how Horny Goat Weed gained recognition for its benefits in the first place. Icariin is the lesser-known muscle within Horny Goat Weed, or rather — the real horsepower behind Horny Goat Weed!