About Epimedium Side Effects


Epimedium is a type of herb. It is also known by various other names, such as Horny Goat Weed, Barrenwort and Bishop's Hat. Epimedium is often taken as a dietary supplement, with many different treatment purposes, the majority of which are related to sexual issues (such as erectile dysfunction and impotence). As with the majority of medications and herbal supplements, there are some side effects that could occur from taking Epimedium.

Minor Side Effects

There are several side effects of Epimedium that are relatively common and usually considered to be minor. These side effects include dry mouth, vomitting, excessive thirst and dizziness. If you have any of these side effects, or they get worse with time or do not go away, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Bleeding Risk

Epimedium has the possibility of increasing your chances of bleeding, particularly internal bleeding, which can be extremely dangerous. Those with bleeding conditions or those who take anti-coagulants (also known as blood thinner medicines) are particularly at risk for this. If you notice any symptoms of bleeding, you need to inform your doctor as soon as possible. Some signs to look out for include bruising easily, frequent nosebleeds, tarry and dark stools, bloody stools, vomitting blood, extreme headaches, numbness or weakness in a leg or an arm and speech or vision changes.

Severe Side Effects

Apart from signs of bleeding, there are some other severe side effects of Epimedium, such as a rapid heart rate (also known as tachycardia). If you are experiencing this side effect, you need to seek emergency medical assistance as soon as possible.

Allergic Reaction

Serious allergic reactions to this herb are uncommon, but can occasionally happen. These allergic reactions can have harmful consequences, so it is vital to get emergency medical assistance immediately if you notice any signs of them. Some signs to be aware of include swelling of the throat, tongue, mouth or lips, skin rash, itchiness, hives, trouble with breathing and wheezing.


It is necessary to be very careful when considering taking this herbal supplement. You need to speak with your doctor beforehand, especially if you have any type of bleeding disorder, have allergies to any medicines or foods, have low blood pressure (also known as hypotension), are nursing or pregnant (or thinking about becoming so) or have any serious or chronic ailments. It is also crucial that your doctor is aware of any other supplements or medications that you are presently taking.

Keywords: Epimedium, horny goat weed, herbal supplement

About this Author

Isabel Prontes is a freelance writer and traveler residing in Manhattan, NY. She has traveled to five continents and counting. Her work has appeared on a number of websites, such as Travels, eHow.com and "Happy Living Magazine." Prontes has a professional background in public relations; she received a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Pace University.