Historically Epimedium has long been utilized as an aphrodisiac in Chinese medicine. After his goats grazed on the herb, the herder noticed an upsurge in sexual activity in his herd. Modern science has discovered that icariin, a component in Epimedium, behaves similarly to the medicine (sildenifil) in relaxing the smooth muscle and increasing nitric oxide activity (Viagra). Icarin has also been found in animal trials to stimulate osteoblastic activity, suggesting that it may be useful in the treatment of osteoporosis.
Today, it’s widely used as an aphrodisiac.