Horny goat weed and maca are two herbal supplements with a wide variety of touted health benefits and a long history of use.
The herbs have similar uses and are commonly combined in supplements and pills to increase their natural potency.
Many supplements simply called horny goat weed also contain maca root. Although they are most commonly used to improve sexual performance, both horny goat weed and maca have other potential health benefits.
Consult your doctor before beginning use of these herbal treatments. Horny goat weed is an important herb in traditional Chinese medicine where it is called yin yan huo. This name refers to three species of plants called Epimedium sagittatum, grandiflorum and brevicorum, herbs that are all used interchangeably.
The green leaves of horny goat weed were traditionally brewed in a tea and used to treat erectile dysfunction, stress and many other health conditions. A major component of horny goat weed is a flavonoid called icarin that is also present in Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.
Maca is a root vegetable related to potatoes that is native to the mountains of Peru. The herb is commonly ground into a powder and added to drinks as both a flavor and nutrient boost.
Maca is rich in various amino acids, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium and iron. Maca powder has a strong, slightly sweet flavor. Both maca and horny goat weed have been touted as adaptogens, substances that help your body cope with various stresses.
Horny goat weed has been used to treat disorders of the kidneys, joints, liver and back but is most widely used for its ability to stimulate sex drive. Maca has traditionally been used in Inca culture to increase male fertility. These result have been contested and much of the evidence provided for horny goat weed in particular is anecdotal.
You should discuss these herbs with a professional. High doses of horny goat weed could cause an increase in heart rate or a disturbance in the heart's natural rhythm. The stimulating effects of horny goat weed can also increase your anxiety, difficulty sleeping and blood pressure.