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Yin Yang Huo

English Name: epimedium, horny goat weed

Pharmaceutical Name: Herba Epimedii

Medica Category: Yang-Tonifying Herbs

Properties: Yin Yang Huo enters the Kidney and Liver channels; it is acrid and sweet in nature and warm in temperature.

What is Yin Yang Huo?:

The Chinese Herb Yin Yang Huo is the dried above ground parts of what is commonly known as horny goat weed—more precisely, one of several different species of epimedium, itself a big, leafy plant with large, shovel-shaped leaves which are harvested in the summer and fall (Epimedium grandiflorum Mor.; and several others).

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Therapeutic Actions of Yin Yang Huo:

Yin Yang Huo tonifies Kidney yang and strengthens the libido. In men it is used to address Kidney yang deficiency that presents with sexual disorders such as impotence, lack of sexual desire, incomplete erection, premature ejaculation, spermatorrhea, and low sperm count. It also treats various manifestations of cold and deficiency in the Kidney such as soreness of the lower back/weakness in the knees and infertility in women.

Yin Yang Huo dispels wind-damp-cold attacking the channels and collaterals and preventing the normal circulation of qi and blood. This can present with pain, cold, and/or numbness in the limbs and extremities (fingertips and toes) or as bi zheng (painful obstruction syndrome), which shows up as muscle spasms and cramps.

–safety/clinical notes:

Use with caution in persons with yin deficient fire.

Yin Yang Huo is a straight yang warming herb (i.e. without the qualities of nourishing jing (essence), yin, or blood) and so one may want to combine it with other herbs in formula to achieve balance (i.e. avoid rising Kidney fire and damage to the yin).

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