Epimedium is a flowering plant found mostly in China, though it grows in other parts of Asia and around the Mediterranean, as well. The shape of its flowers earned it the moniker "Bishop's Hat," but its fame comes from claims about its powerful properties rather than its beauty. Traditional medicine cites various therapeutic uses for epimedium, chief among them its value as an aphrodisiac.

Famed as an aphrodisiac

Records from ancient civilizations show their interest and belief in the use of certain plants for aphrodisiacs. These beliefs persist after the passage of thousands of years, and they provide the principal motivation for twenty-first century epimedium buyers. The plant contains a compound known as icariin, and this apparently stimulates desire. While most people who want to use the plant in this way should not experience unpleasant side effects, some groups need to exercise more caution, for example, pregnant women and people who suffer from illnesses with a connection to low blood pressure.



Helps to slow down the aging process

A desire to find some way of stalling the aging process is another concern today's humans share with their ancient predecessors. Is it possible that doses of epimedium could provide that magic potion? Tests done on laboratory animals encourage some to believe that the powers of the plant also extend to this area of life. These scientists discovered that changes in body acids linked to aging were reversed in animals that received epimedium. It is still unclear if it is possible to get the same results in humans, but at least there is a glimmer of hope that maybe it is going to be beneficial.



Could epimedium help in the fight against cancer?

The struggle to find more effective cancer treatments has become a major object of medical research projects around the world. Conventional treatments have many unpleasant and health-threatening side effects. Studies suggest that epimedium extracts could help halt the spread of certain cancer cells. It is too early to say if these preliminary findings might provide the basis for developing a new drug. It is going to take a number of years of extensive research to prove its effectiveness and safeness.



The prospect of relief for people with asthma

Many millions of people around the world suffer from this respiratory problem. Most of them manage to keep it under control with the use of inhalers and medications, but sometimes asthma attacks still end in tragedy. Chinese researchers have made some trails to see if epimedium brings relief to people living with asthma. They found evidence that it reduces lung inflammations and this helps to decrease the severity of the asthma condition.



Strengthens memory capabilities

Whether you are a student busy preparing for exams or an older person whose memory has begun to weaken, the idea of a memory booster is very attractive. Some research indicates that the icariin compound found in epimedium improves the blood flow to the brain. This enhances the individual’s abilities to absorb knowledge and retain it. Instead of burning the proverbial midnight oil before an important test, a dose of epimedium might offer a more reliable way to academic success.



Brings effective relief from menopause distress

The hormone changes a woman goes through during the menopause are very stressful. Believers in the efficacy of epimedium claim that women can safely take it to relieve menopause symptoms, and they get some support from the results of laboratory tests on animals. Once again, in this context, the icariin chemical compound appears to be the most valuable part of the plant. Studies show that it assists the body in achieving a good balance of estrogen and estradiol levels. This moderates the impact of menopausal changes, and these positive effects continue longer than those standard treatments can deliver.



Helps athletes achieve their best performances

Those with sporting and athletic interests are always on the lookout for ways to improve their performance. Doses of epimedium could answer this need. The rich deposits of icariin the plant contains help to boost the body's testosterone and nitric oxide to raise fitness levels and build up muscles. The recommended dose varies between the sexes and according to weight. For example, women usually require epimedium with lower concentrations of icariin



Could be useful in treating Osteoporosis

This bone disease causes bones to be so fragile that sufferers are at a much higher risk of fractures. Preliminary studies show that the icariin chemical has a positive effect on osteocyte cells, and Epimedium is an excellent source for icariin. It seems that it might have a role in stimulating healthy bone development. However, it is going to take further clinical trials before a pharmaceutical company can produce a drug, and additional time to get it approved by the relevant authorities.



Look for the icariin content in the epimedium

The buyer needs to pay special attention to the icariin content to get the maximum benefit from the epimedium. This content needs to match the strength of dose the user requires but it also ought to be undiluted. As a rule, the less diluted, the more expensive the product is likely to be since it is costly to produce. However, if you buy epimedium with icariin mixed with other supplements while you pay less, you lose some of its effectiveness.



Hopes for those suffering from joint pains

Relief of joint pains is one of the areas where Chinese medicine seems to be particularly strong. It is worth noting how traditional Chinese doctors use epimedium in joint pain treatments. Some experiments made with laboratory animals lend support to the value of this practice. This is another example where western medicine might be able to draw on Chinese knowledge to develop better treatments for arthritis and other joint pain sufferers.



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