What is icariin?

If you've previously read about the herbal aphrodisiac known as Horny Goat Weed extract, then you will more than likely have seen the word ‘icariin’ pop up on numerous occasions. This is because icariin is the most prevalent active flavonol found within the Epimedium (Horny Goat Weed) plant family and is also the primary flavonol responsible for all of the best-known health benefits associated with Horny Goat Weed.

This article will show you how icariin works and what male sexual health benefits can be gained from taking a Horny Goat Weed supplement that contains a good standard of icariin flavonols. It will also cover the other lesser-known benefits of icariin (such as bodybuilding, bone health, etc.). To top it off we will take you through which purity and which quality of icariin extract is the most effective at yielding these benefits.

How does icariin work?

Icariin is contained within all species of the Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium) plant family and it works in two distinct ways to improve the sexual health of men.


1) Nitric Oxide Booster > Erectile Dysfunction/Male Impotence

The first major sexual health benefit of icariin originates from this flavonol’s ability to naturally boost the successful transmission of Nitric Oxide signaling.  A boost in Nitric Oxide is vitally important for healthy male erectile function because quite simply; Nitric Oxide is the primary chemical transmitter for the successful and ample amount of blood delivery to the penis tissue, so if for example, Nitric Oxide transmission is to become degenerated; the correct amount of blood will not be adequately supplied to the penis, making it difficult for a man to achieve an erection, even when fully sexually stimulated.

Icariin provides a powerful boost in the levels of Nitric Oxide when taken over a period of weeks/months, and as a result, restores the blood delivery to the penis when a man becomes sexually aroused. Male impotence is the greatest fear of many sexually active men around the world, however, with natural Nitric Oxide boosters such as icariin being readily available in most countries, there’s simply no longer any excuse for letting ED get the best of you!


2) Testosterone Booster > Sex Drive/Sperm Production

The next major sexual benefit of taking a supplement containing icariin, is the ability of it to increase the natural circulation of free-form testosterone hormones around the body, thus improving the overall efficient utilization of all the testosterone hormones naturally available within the body.

Testosterone is the dominant male sex hormone and thus controls many facets of a man’s sexual characteristics. Testosterone is primarily responsible for the level of ‘sex drive’ a man has. Sex drive is also sometimes referred to as 'male libido' and when a man loses his libido, it essentially means that he no longer wishes to be sexually active, regardless of whether or not he can gain a healthy erection. Testosterone is also crucial for the health of a man’s prostate and plays a dominant role in the healthy production of sperm. Icariin has you covered with regards to Testosterone, as it greatly boosts the efficient use of all the free-form testosterone hormones within your body, giving you back all that masculinity and sexual prowess you once had!

In Summary

Due to icariin proving beneficial with both the boosting of ‘Nitric Oxide’ and ‘Testosterone’, it not only vastly improves erectile function but also increases the sex drive on a mental and physical level. This is exactly why Horny Goat Weed has such a widely renowned reputation for being known as the ‘all-in-one sexual health supplement’ for men of any age, tackling the majority of male sexual health issues all under the one roof.

What other benefits does icariin offer?

Icariin/Horny Goat Weed is most famously celebrated for its benefits within sexual health however to assume that it is limited solely to this area of health would be a very foolish mistake. Icariin flavonols have proven in various medical journals to yield a wide number of other benefits, some of which include the following:



Contrary to what the majority of bodybuilders actually realize, Icariin/Epimedium/Horny Goat Weed has been an ingredient within many different brands of ‘Testosterone Booster’ supplements and ‘Nitric Oxide Booster’ supplements for decades.


Icariin benefits bodybuilders in various ways, including; increasing lean muscle mass, improved muscular ‘pump’, increased levels of stamina and improved levels of endurance. All these athletic benefits gained from taking icariin, equate to vastly improved overall strength and performance.


Bone Health

In more recent studies icariin flavonols have shown to provide a huge benefit to those suffering from various bone-health related ailments including Osteoporosis and Arthritis. Icariin can benefit people here through its unique ability to promote bone remodeling and healthy cartilage formation.

Not only can icariin help provide relief for those who are already suffering from Osteoporosis and/or Arthritis, but it can also be of benefit to those aiming to reduce the possibility of such bone abnormalities occurring to them in the future.


Mental Health

Icariin has also through recent studies shown huge progression in the area of mental illnesses, such illnesses include depression, chronic stress, memory loss, and Alzheimer’s disease.

The reason in which scientists were encouraged to carry out research into the area of icariin and its benefit for mental health illnesses, came about when those who were taking Horny Goat Weed extract for issues of a sexual nature, unanimously noted that not only had their sexual health improved but they also they felt mentally sharper and happier within their day-to-day life and activities.

How can I separate a good icariin supplement from a bad one?

OK, so we know what icariin is and how it works, we also know about the major benefits that have been discovered to date, therefore we will now show you how to select the most powerful and most effective icariin/Horny Goat Weed supplements available.

The key to getting the best icariin supplement boils down to the ‘percentage’ and ‘quality’ of the icariin contained within:


Icariin Percentage

‘Icariin percentage’ is a term which refers to the percent of icariin flavonols that any given Horny Goat Weed ‘extract’ contains (Note: importantly that the word ‘extract’ refers to the finished Epimedium powder after the extraction process has taken place).


Horny Goat Weed plants are extracted to yield different amounts of icariin flavonols content, for example, some Horny Goat Weed supplements are produced to contain only 10% icariin, while others at the maximum purity level are extracted down to contain a rather staggering 98% icariin.


When it comes to icariin capsules, to get the 'best bang for your buck' you need to be focusing your main attention on the amount of 'standardized' icariin flavonols that are contained within the Horny Goat Weed extract powder itself. In terms of 'standardized' Horny Goat Weed supplements, you will be able to find extracts from as low as 10% icariin content, right up to the top strength at 60% icariin content. Yes as mentioned before, there are strengths above 60 percent, those being 70%, 80%, 90% and 98% icariin, however, there is a substantial setback with the 70% to 98% icariin strength range. This problem is simply that; once the Horny Goat Weed plant is extracted to the 70% icariin purity level or above, it quickly begins to lose its potency for the reason known as "over-extraction", which essentially means that the extract is stripped of it's natural composition to the point whereby the active elements start to lose some of their 'active' attributes and as a result become redundant in terms of beneficial effectiveness. For this very reason, Horny Goat Weed extracts containing 70% to 98% icariin content cannot be certificated as being 'standardized' to their given icariin percentage, and for example, we have tested some 98% icariin Horny Goat Weed extracts which have packed far less of a punch than some good quality 'standardized' 20% icariin extracts.


60% icariin being the maximum ‘standardized’ icariin percentage available, is the strongest in terms of the amount of "active" icariin flavonols being present within the extract powder, and thus the most effective in terms of health benefits.


Icariin Quality

‘Quality’ in terms of icariin, initially refers to the format in which the icariin is consumed. The various means of 'taking' icariin include via 'free-flowing extract powder in capsules', hard-compressed tablets, beverages, and food products. The most effective and beneficial way to consume icariin flavonols is via 'free-flowing powder in a capsules' (i.e. gelatin/vegetarian capsule shells), this is due to the fact that ‘extract powder’ is far more potent than that of a say a 'tea' type drink or food which is essentially consuming Horny Goat Weed leaves in their raw form. As regards 'hard-compressed tablets', they are still very effective, however, the compression process can affect the icariin flavonols depending on the type of machinery used in manufacturing.

Another aspect of ‘quality’ with icariin, is that there are two different formats that icariin is sold in. These two formats are hugely different from each other, but the way to spot the difference is actually very easy to miss! The most powerful and pure format and the one we have been discussing is referred to simply as ‘icariin’, however, there is a very much lesser beneficial variant on the market too and this is variant is referred to as ‘icariins’. Did you spot the difference there? (Clue: the latter has an ‘s’ on the end). ‘Icariin’ as a percentage refers to the actual amount of pure icariin flavonols within the Horny Goat Weed extract, this is the format to buy and as by far the most effective of the two. Icariins (with the ‘s’) is actually a very cheap alternative and is essentially a low-quality Epimedium compound which is rated on the percentage of plant matter that may contain icariin flavonols, NOT the tested percentage of icariin flavonols in the extract. Needless to say, for the best results always steer well clear of any product that contains ‘icariins’ and always opt for one that contains a standardized percentage of ‘icariin’ (i.e. those within the 10% to 60% icariin range).

Which icariin supplement is the most effective?

Best Rated Icariin Supplement

We have trialed all the 'standardized' and 'non-standardized' Horny Goat Weed extract percentages, from 10% to 60% icariin in the 'standardized' range, and from 70% to 98% icariin in the 'non-standardized' range. We tried to get at least two different products for each percentage i.e. in order to get a true picture of each strength.


Trial Specifics:

  • Population sample: 50 men aged 25 to 65 - all 'sexually active'.
  • Two different manufactures products from each separate percentage mark, consisting of: 2 x 10%, 2 x 20%, 2 x 30%, 2 x 40%, 2 x 50%, 2 x 60%, 2 x 70%, 2 x 80%, 2 x 90% & 2 x 98%.
  • Total duration of trial: 4 months.

From the trail laid out above, the one product we found to be the most consistently effective with each candidate who took part in the trial, was a product called Icariin 60™ Horny Goat Weed by the brand known as World A.B.S supplements.

Icariin 60™ capsules are a very powerful and high-quality Horny Goat Weed extract supplement and as the name would suggest, the capsules contain purely standardized 60% icariin Horny Goat Weed extract, meaning that they haven't been partnered with any sub-par plant extracts (such as ginseng or maca), leaving a robust and effective supplement.

The trial itself was carried out over a period of four months and the good news here is that the benefits of icariin 60™ kept on increasing right through the entire 4-month course, making it a truly impeccable extract with beneficial results that seem to carry on building up throughout the dosage period.

Icariin 60™, as with all standardized 60% icariin Horny Goat Weed capsules, is not a supplement you are going to find in the bargain bin at your local supermarket, it's a highly effective thus highly sought-after supplement and thus priced accordingly. Nonetheless, when one considers the level of benefit that can be gained from such a strong supplement as this, it suddenly becomes a great value purchase and has most likely saved a sizable number of marriages over the years it's been on the market!


To obtain an even greater understanding of how exactly standardized 60% icariin Horny Goat Weed extract works to improve men's health, please take a read of the following in-depth icariin guide to gain a good grounding of the science behind the best icariin supplements available:


What is 60% icariin? & Why is it the best Horny Goat Weed?