Side Effects of Epimedium

Vomiting, dry mouth, dizziness, and thirst are some of Epimedium's possible (although usually not serious) side effects. The supplement could also theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, including dangerous internal bleeding. Other serious Epimedium side effects that could occur include a rapid heart rate and any signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives, itching, or difficulty breathing.

Does Epimedium Cause Side Effects?

Even though it is a natural product, Epimedium (horny goat weed) may cause side effects. People often assume that natural products are always safe and free of side effects. However, this is simply not the case. It is reasonable to assume that any natural product with the capability to have medicinal properties may also have side effects.
 
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Epimedium. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of Epimedium side effects with you.)
 

Possible Side Effects

Possible bothersome (although not usually serious) side effects of Epimedium may include:
 
  • Dizziness
  • Thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Dry mouth.
     

Serious Side Effects Seen With Epimedium

Theoretically, Epimedium could increase the risk of bleeding, including dangerous internal bleeding. This risk is probably most significant for people with bleeding disorders or who take "blood thinner" medications (see Drug Interactions With Epimedium). Let your healthcare provider know if you develop any signs of bleeding, such as:
 
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Easy bruising
  • Cuts or scrapes that are slow to stop bleeding
  • Black, tarry stools; bright-red blood in the stool; or vomiting of blood (signs of gastrointestinal bleeding)
  • Signs of a hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding in the brain), such as vision or speech changes, weakness or numbness in an arm or leg, or a severe headache.
     
Other possible serious side effects include:
 
  • A rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:

 

    • A rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Swelling of the mouth, lips, tongue, or throat
    • Wheezing or other difficulty breathing.

 

It should be noted that it's possible that there are serious side effects that have not yet been discovered. With herbal remedies, such as Epimedium, the careful studies designed to test safety (and efficacy) are rarely performed, so most side effect information is based on small studies (which are usually not designed to truly measure side effects) or individual case reports.
 
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