Is Horny Goat Weed Safe?

Many people want to know more about the safety of horny goat weed. Although the supplement is a natural product, it can cause certain side effects. Theoretically, it could increase the risk of bleeding (including dangerous internal bleeding) and cause dangerously low blood pressure. Not much information is currently available about the safety or effectiveness of horny goat weed products.

Horny Goat Weed Safety: An Overview

Horny goat weed (Epimedium) is a popular dietary supplement, claimed to be beneficial for a variety of different uses. You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking horny goat weed if you:
 
  • Have any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • Have a bleeding disorder
  • Have problems with low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Have any chronic or severe medical condition
  • Are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding.
     
You should also be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
 

Specific Warnings and Precautions

Warnings and precautions to be aware of concerning the safety of horny goat weed include the following:
 
  • Theoretically, horny goat weed could increase the risk of bleeding, including dangerous internal bleeding. This risk is probably most significant for people with bleeding disorders or who take "blood thinner" medications (see Horny Goat Weed Drug Interactions).
     
  • Theoretically, horny goat weed could cause dangerously low blood pressure. This is probably most important for people who already have a problem with low blood pressure. Let your healthcare provider know if you notice any low blood pressure symptoms, such as lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting.
     
  • As dietary supplements or food products, horny goat weed products are not as closely regulated as prescription (or non-prescription) drugs. They can be marketed without any proof that they are either safe or effective. Do not assume that just because a product is sold or advertised in the United States that it is safe or effective. Be sure to look for horny goat weed products from a reputable manufacturer. Your pharmacist is a good resource for information about which manufacturers are most reputable.
     
  • If you have a chronic or severe medical condition, it is always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before taking any medication or supplement, including horny goat weed.
     
  • It is not clear if horny goat weed is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women (see Horny Goat Weed and Pregnancy and Horny Goat Weed and Breastfeeding).
     
5 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About ED

Horny Goat Weed Supplement Information

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