xian ling pi, yin yang huo, Epimedium grandiflorum, Complementary and Alternative Healing University

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xian ling pi 仙靈脾          (in English and Chinese 中英文)

yin yang huo 淫羊藿

Edited by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu

Pharmaceutical name:

英 文藥名:

Herba Epimedii

Biological name:

拉 丁名:

Epimedium grandiflorum Morr.,

Epimedium brevicornum Maxim.,

Epimedium sagittatum (Sieb. et Zucc.) Maxim.,

Epimedium pubescens Maxim.,

Epimedium wushanense T. S. Ying,

Epimedium koreanum Nakai

Pron. in Japanese


inyokaku, also called 碇草

Pron. in Korean



Pron. in Cantonese:


sin1 ling4 pei4 (仙靈脾); jam4 jeong4 fok4 (淫羊藿)

Common Name:

epimedium, horny goat weed.



Shaanxi, Liaoning, Shanxi, Hubei, Sichuan.


Properties (characteristics)


Acrid, sweet, warm


Channels (meridians) entered:


Kidney, Liver

入 肝 ﹐ 腎 經

Actions & Indications:


Tonifies the kidneys and fortifies the yang: for shenyangxu (kidney yang deficient) patterns with such symptoms as impotence, spermatorrhea, frequent urination , forgetfulness, withdrawal, and painful cold lower back and knees.

Expels wind-damp-cold: for wind-damp-cold painful obstruction (pain and water retention) with such symptoms as spasms or cramps in the hands and feet, joint pain, and numbness in the extremities due to bad circulation.

Tonifies the yin and yang and harnesses liver yang ascending, for lower back pain, dizziness, and menstrual irregularity from deficiency of liver and kidneys (shenxu) and subsequent causes liver yang ascending, (gan yang).

Hypertension during menopause.

陽 萎 早 泄,腰膝痿弱, 風濕痺痛,筋骨攣急,半身不遂,神經衰弱,健忘症, 肝 陽 上 昇﹐婦 女 更 年 期 高 血 壓 。

Medical Function:


Medical Function:

  • Improves endocrine system. Improve axle: hypothalamus, pituitary,  sex hormones and adrenal cortex .

  •  Improves DNA metabolism.

  •  Improves immune system.

  •  Anti-aging effect.

  • Improves effect of nitrogen oxide in dilating the blood vessels

  •  Improves circulatory system.  a. Improve function of the heart. b. Lower blood pressure by dilution of peripheral blood vessels.

  • Improves blood flow to the penis and causes erection

  •  Improves the blood system. a.. Prevent platelet coagulation.  b. Lower viscosity of the blood. c. Improve production of white blood cells.

  •  Improves ability to resist lack of oxygen.

  •  Anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine

  • Anti-bacterial. 

  • Lower lipoprotein and cholesterol.

  •  It inhibits asthma caused by increased histamine.

  •  Small amount: promotes urination

  •  Large amount: inhibits urination

  • Reduces the number of estrogen receptors, prevent spreading of cancer cells, and destroy cancer cells.

  •  Prevents and reverses bone loss

  • Antibiotic effect: inhibit polio virus and Staphylococcus aureus.


Chemical ingredients:


The main ingredients are flavone type of compounds, fat, saponins and essential oil.

Ceryl alcohol, hentriacontane, phytosterol, palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, bilobanol, magnoflorin, glucose, fructose, icariin, icariside I ), Icariside II (epimedoside A).

 Epimedin A, Epimedin B, Epimedin C, Epimedokoreanoside I, Epimedokoreanoside II, Epimedoside A, I-karisoside A, (quercetin), 4'-methoxy-5-hydroxy-8-3, 3-dimethylallylflavone-3-glucosyl (1--2) rhamnoside-7-glucoside), 4'-methoxy-5-hydroxy-8-3, 3-dimethylallylflavone-3-xylosyl (1--2) rhamnoside-7-glucoside), 4'-methoxy-5-hydroxy-8-3, 3-dimethylallylflavone-3-rham-nosyl (1--2) rhamnoside-7-glucoside.

Isoquercetin, icaritin-3-O-α-rhamnoside, hyperin, sagittatoside A, sagittatoside B, sagittatoside C, sagittatin A, sagittatin B, Anhydroicaritin-3-O-α-rhamnoside, Icariside E6, Icariside E7, Icaride A1, Icaride A2,  Icariside D3, Icariside H1, Icariside B9.

Epimedoside C, baohuoside VI, baohuoside I,  rouhuoside.




6-15 g.


Samples of formulae:


  1. With  wu wei zi , gou qi zi   and sha yuan ji li ,for shenxu (kidney deficient)   impotence and infertility. 【1】

  2. With sang ji sheng for painful obstructions, especially paralysis and pain of the lower extremities, or muscular contraction and numbness of the extremities.【1】

  3. With xian mao 仙茅, huang bai 黃柏 , and  zhi mu 知母 for menopausal symptoms such as facial pallor, lower back pain, nocturia, menstrual irregularity, and dizziness from  liver deficient and shenyinxu (kidney yin deficient)   and subsequent ascendant Liver yang. This combination is also used for the above mentioned liver yang ascending  symptoms in men.【1】

  4. er xian tang 二 仙 湯 for : premenopausal, irregular menses with shenyangxu (kidney yang deficient),  or shenyinxu (kidney yin deficient), and xu huo (deficient Fire) condition.

Today's Usage:

1. For impotence:

  • A. Use yin yang huo 15 g. with tu si zi15 g. Grind into powder. 5 g a day in  3 servings. To be taken with yellow rice wine. 20 days is one treatment.  Take every day first thing in morning and before bed.  Massage the perineal area from left to right and right to left about 10 times .

  • B.  Every night use chuan xiong 15 g and xi xin 15 g. Boil a decoction and put in bathtub and sit for 20 minutes. Avoid intercourse for 100 days. Avoid over exertion and getting chilled. 7 days is one treatment.

Total cases: 38. 8 cases got better. 20 cases completely healed. After 2 years, no patients had recurring problems. Total effectiveness: 92 per cent.

2. For white patches of vagina.

3. For neurasthenia .

4. For coronary disease.

5. For viral infections of the heart muscle.

6. For chronic bronchial infection and asthma.

7. For treating the decrease of white cells.

8. For treating inflammation of the gray matter of the spinal cord.

Modern Research:

Often steeped in wine for both kidney yang deficiency and painful obstruction.  Traditional preparation by stir frying with fat of goat is an effective method. Although stir frying with goat fat does not increase the total saponin in the leaves but the total saponin that dissolves by boiling in water increases; thus , improve the efficacy of the herb.

This herb improves the quality of life and cellular immunity in patients of hemodialysis maintenance.



Contraindicated in patients with fire from yin deficiency.  This herb should not be taken as a decoction, over prolonged periods. This herb can damage the yin. In some people, ingesting it can lead to dizziness, vomiting, dry mouth, thirst, and nose bleeding.

This herb from Japan can increase the activity of lab mice and causes hyper-reflexia even mild spasm. Very large doses can cause respiratory arrest.


日產仙靈脾(淫羊藿) 能致反射亢進甚至痙攣。大劑量可致呼吸停止。

 [1] Bensky and Gamble.

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Last update: Oct 6, 2013; 11 p.m. LAH