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Sunday, 20 September 2015


Icariin is a flavonol glycoside, a type of flavonoid. It is the 8-prenyl derivative of kaempferol 3,7-O-diglucoside. The compound is derived from several species of plants belonging to the genus EpimediumBerberidaceae, which are commonly known as Horny Goat Weed or Yin Yang Huo.[1] Extracts from these plants are reputed to produce aphrodisiac effects, and are commonly used inChinese herbal medicine to enhance erectile function,[2] as well as for several other indications.
It is thought that icariin is likely to be the primary active component of Epimedium extracts, as it has been shown to share several mechanisms of action with compounds used in Western medicine to treat impotence and improve sexual function. In particular, icariin has been demonstrated to act as a PDE5 inhibitor[3][4][5] and to enhance the production of bioactive nitric oxide,[6] as well as mimicking the effects of testosterone.[7] It also shows antioxidant,[8][9] antidepressant[10][11][12] and neuroprotective[13][14] effects in animal studies, as well as stimulating osteoblast activity in bone tissue which has been linked to a possible therapeutic role in the treatment of osteoporosis.[15][16][17][18][19][20]

Systematic (IUPAC) name
Clinical data
Legal status
  • US: OTC
  • Legal
Routes of
CAS Registry Number489-32-7 
ATC codeNone
PubChemCID: 5318997
ChemSpider4477421 Yes
Chemical data
Molecular mass676.662 g/mol

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