What is Icariin?
Icariin is a naturally occurring biologically active compound. Due to its structure, it belongs to the flavonoid subclass – prenylflavanoid glucoside. This structure contains sugar moiety linked to the flavonoid unit in conjunction with the prenyl unit.
Icariin is most commonly found in Chinese traditional medicine. It is the main constituent in the Chinese herb Horny Goat Weed (Ying Yang Huo) but can be found in other sources as well.
Typically extracts and pure icariin powder are used as an aphrodisiac and as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, however many other scientific research points out, that icariin is able to impact other biological functions as well like:
- anti-oxidant properties
- neuroprotective functions
- anti-atherosclerosis properties
- dietary improvements
- anticancer properties
- and many more
For the treatment of erectile dysfunction
The effect of icariin to improve male sexual performance has been known since Chinese traditional medicine. Currently, several studies have expressed the use of Horny Goat Weed and pure icariin as such.
Scientists have pointed out, that icariin is especially promising in the case of cavernous nerve damage. The effects of icariin extract are not only its ability to inhibit the PDE5 enzyme, but also scientists have pointed out that it increases nNOS and eNOS expression enhancing the vasodilatation effect.
Scientists believe that daily, low-dose administration improves penile hemodynamic parameters after a sustained nerve injury. Furthermore, they hope, that apart from increased measurable numbers of nNOS and inhibition of enzymes, icariin could possibly be used to treat nerve injuries in humans.
Anti-oxidant properties of icariin
Typically to hydroxylated flavonoids, icariin also exhibits anti-oxidative potential. Its structure is able to absorb highly reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, that might damage our cells, DNA, and other metabolic components of our body.
Interesting research has been done on duck virus hepatitis. Scientists observed that hepatitis causes high oxidative stress to the bodies of the affected. However, the survival rate was increased for those, who had been administered icariin.
They pointed out, that icariin was able to reduce the expression of nitric oxide synthase and reduce liver damage. This suggests that icariin can also participate in many metabolic pathways to reduce oxidative stress.
Neuroprotective properties of icariin
Scientists have done several studies on icariin and its neuroprotective and enhancing properties. Model studies on rats showed that icariin is able to significantly improve spatial learning and memory retention. This was done due to increased cell activity by enhancing levels of brain metabolites like N-acetyl aspartate and the purest form of energy in our cells – ATP.
Another study identifies icariin as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists have identified several metabolic pathways that can eventually lead to Alzheimer’s, that icariin can inhibit like oxidative stress-mediated effects and neuroinflammatory cascades.
Icariin as anticancer agent
There are numerous studies on icariin as an anticancer agent. Scientists have identified several metabolic pathways through how icariin can inhibit the growth, spread, or formation of new cancer cells.
Being a phytoestrogen, icariin can participate in many hormone-regulated pathways. Icariin has shown some results in the cases of breast and prostate cancer.
Other studies have looked and the induction of apoptosis – programmed cell death. For example, icariin has shown the ability to activate mitochondrial-dependent cell apoptosis. An increase in Bax/Bcl2 enzyme ratio has been observed in various kinds of cancer types.
Many other effects have been screened and showed effects as well like: inhibition of angiogenesis, cell-cycle modulation, metastasis inhibition, and more.
Icariin health benefits have been known in Chinese traditional medicine for a long time. Apart from its most commonly known use in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, scientists have identified many other use cases for this compound like anti-oxidant potential, neuroprotective effects, and anticancer agents.
We believe that this is still a field to explore, therefore we encourage you to visit our store for high-quality icariin sales to fast-track your novel research.