Introduction of Yin Yang Huo:Epimedium Herb, Horny Goat Weed or Herba Epimedii.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Epimedium Herb, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its officially defined botanical source four plant species, ①.Epimedium brevicornum Maxim., ②.Epimedium sagittatum (Sieb.et Zucc.) Maxim., ③.Epimedium pubescens Maxim., ④.Epimedium koreanum Nakai., and another usable plant species, ⑤.Epimedium wushanense T.S.Ying., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of these five plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of these five plant species, the features of the herb Epimedium Herb, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Herba Epimedii(Epimedium Herb).

Herba Epimedii:herb photo Pin Yin Name: Yín Yánɡ Huò.
 English Name: Epimedium Herb, Shortened Epimedium Herb, Horny Goat Weed.
 Latin Name: Herba Epimedii.
 Property and flavor: warm nature, tastes pungent, sweet.

 Brief introduction: The herb Herba Epimedii is the dried aerial part of Epimedium brevicornum Maxim., Epimedium sagittatum (Sieb.et Zucc.) Maxim., Epimedium koreanum Nakai., Epimedium pubescens Maxim., or Epimedium wushanense T.S. Ying, used (1).to replenish kidney Yang for the treatment of impotence, sterility, and frequent micturition, and (2).to strengthen the tendons and bones and dispel wind-damp for rheumatalgia, contracture, and numbness. The herb is commonly known as Herba Epimedii, Epimedium Herb, Herb of Shorthorned Epimedium, Herb of Sagittate Epimedium, Herb of Pubescent epimedium, Yín Yánɡ Huò.

 Botanical source: Common official herbal classics and other famous herbal classics defined the herb Herba Epimedii (Yin Yang Huo) as the stem and leaves of the Berberidaceae family plant species, including (1). Epimedium brevicornum Maxim., (2). Epimedium sagittatum (Sieb.et Zucc.) Maxim., (3). Epimedium wushanense T.S.Ying., (4). Epimedium pubescens Maxim., (5). Epimedium koreanum Nakai. The latest official herbal classics(2020 Edition) defined the herb as the dried leaves from botanical source (1),(2),(4),(5). They are plants of the Epimedium Linn. genus, the Berberidaceae family (barberry family) of the Ranales order. Although the herbal classics not defined the root as a useful part, the root of the Epimedium is also could be used. These 5 commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Epimedium brevicornum Maxim.


 Epimedium brevicornum Maxim.:flowering plant Botanical description: The plant, Epimedium brevicornum Maxim is commonly known as Yín Yánɡ Huò (means horny goat weed), Horny Goat Weed, Xiǎo Yè Yín Yánɡ Huò (means small-leaves Epimedium), or Xīn Yè Yín Yánɡ Huò (means cordate-leaves Epimedium), it is a plant of the Berberidaceae family (barberry family) and Epimedium L. genus. A perennial herb, the plant grows up to 30–40 cm high. Rhizomes are amphitropous, the diameter is 3~5 mm, the texture is hard, has many fibrous roots. Stems are upright, ribbed(has ridges), glabrous, and usually have no basal leaves. 2 cauline leaves, grow on the tip of the stem; have a long petiole (long stalk); biternate compound leaves, 9 lobules (leaflets), broad-ovate or orbicular (subrotund), 3~7 cm long, 2.5~6 cm wide, the apex is sharp-pointed or shortly acuminate, the base is deeply cordate, the margin is spiny-serrate, the upper surface is green, glossy, glabrous, the under surface is pale, sparsely pubescent, retiform veins (reticulated veins) on both surfaces are conspicuous; basal lobes of apical lobules are rounded, equal, basal lobes of ambilateral lobules are asymmetrical (non-symmetrical), the interior is rounded, the exterior is sharp-pointed.

 Panicles are apical, narrow, 10~35 cm long; inflorescence axis and pedicels have glandular hairs (glandular trichome); basal bracts of the peduncle are ovate-lanceolate, membranous; flowers are white, and 1.5 cm in diameter, 20–50 flowers, pedicels are 5~20 mm long; 4 outer sepals, narrowly ovate, dark green (sap green), 1~3 mm long, 4 inner sepals, lanceolate, white or faint yellow (pale yellow), about 1 cm long, 2~4 mm wide; 4 flower petals, small, calcar is 2~3 mm long; 4 stamens, 3–4 mm long; anthers are about 2 mm long; 1 pistil, style is long.

 Follicles are 1 cm long, and the front end has a rostrum (beak). 1~2 seeds, brown. Its flowering period is from May to June, and the fruiting period is from June to August.

 Epimedium brevicornum Maxim.:nine leaves on three branches Ecological Environment: The plant grows in dankish places on mountain slopes or in forests in valleys. It is mainly distributed in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, in the northwest, west, and southwest areas of China.

 Epimedium brevicornum Maxim:herb of prepared leaves Characters of herbs: The aboveground part is 20–40 cm long. The stem is thin rod-shaped, smooth or slightly ridged, and glossy. Biternate compound leaves, the middle petiolules are about 10 cm long, ambilateral petiolules are about 5 cm long; lobules are oval (egg-shaped), 3–7 cm long, 2–5 cm wide, ambilateral lobules are smaller, the apex is acutate, the base of middle lobules is deeply cordate, the base of ambilateral lobules is deflected cordate, exterior lobes are bigger; margin is spiny-serrulate; the upper surface is green or yellowish green, slightly glossy, glabrous, the under surface is celadon (grayish green), has sparse trichomes, more along leaf veins, the junction between the base of main leaf vein and petiole has pilose. Leaf blades are more or less coriaceous, and crisp. The herb has a mild or grassy odor, and it tastes slightly bitter. The herb of a better grade has few stems, foliose (many leaves), is yellowish-green, is intact (complete), and is not broken.

(2).Epimedium sagittatum.


 Epimedium sagittatum:growing plant Botanical description: The plant, Epimedium sagittatum is also known as Epimedium sagittatum (Sieb.et Zucc.) Maxim., commonly known as Jiàn Yè Yín Yánɡ Huò (means sword-leaf epimedium), or arrow leaf epimedium herb, is a plant of the Berberidaceae family (barberry family) and Epimedium L. genus. A perennial evergreen herb, the plant grows up to 25–50 cm high. The rhizome is stubby (short and thick), slightly tuberculiform (nodular), firm and hard, the root bark is brown, and the fracture surface is white. Stems have ribs, glabrous. 1-3 basal leaves, primary trifoliolate leaves; petioles are thin, 4~18 cm long; 2 cauline leaves, often grow in the tip of the stem, and homotypical as basal leaves; lobules (leaflets) are coriaceous, narrowly ovate to lanceolate, 15~19 cm long, 3~8 cm wide, the apex is sharp-pointed or acuminate, the base is the cordate, arrow bunch-shaped, the base of ambilateral lobules are asymmetric cordate, shallowly lobed, margin has fine bristles, the under surface is glabrous at the initial stage, later has sparse unicellular short hirsute; the basal lobes of apical lobules are orbicular (subrotund), equal, the basal lobes of lateral lobules are asymmetric, interior lobes are smaller, circular (rounded), exterior lobes are bigger, triangular, sharp-pointed.

 Panicles are apical, upright, inflorescence axis and pedicels are usually glabrous, sometimes covered with few glandular hairs (glandular trichome); flowers are white, about 6 mm in diameter, 20–60 flowers; pedicels are about 1 cm long; 4 sepals in out whorl, oblong-ovate, 3–4 mm long, 1.5–2 mm wide, purplish; 4 sepals in the inner whorl, oval (egg-shaped) or ovate-triangular, about 4 mm long, width is about 2 mm, apex is sharp-pointed, white; flower petals are nearly equal length as sepals in inner whorl, brownish, has short calcar; 4 stamens, about 5 mm long, anther is valvular dehiscent, about 3 mm long.

 Follicles are about 1 cm long, and have a rostrum (beak); seeds are reniform oblong, about 4 mm long, bistre (seal brown). Its flowering period is from February to March, and the fruiting period is from May to June.

 Ecological Environment: The plant grows in mountains, jungles, cracks in the rocks, stream sides, or dankish damp places. It is distributed from the center to the west and northeast areas of China, mainly in the northwest, the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the Zhujiang River area, and the southwest area of China.

 Epimedium sagittatum:herb of prepared leaves Characters of herbs: The above-ground part is about 40 cm long, the leaves are primary trifoliolate leaves, three leaves grow from one branch, the leaves are long arrow-shaped ovoid to ovate-lanceolate, coriaceous, 4~12 cm long, and 2.5~5 cm wide; the apex of the leaf is spinous, lobules are 4–10 cm long, the base of the ambilateral lobules is conspicuously skewed, the outer side is arrow-shaped, and the leaf base is arrow-shaped; the leaf margin is serrate stiff-like, about 2 mm long; the undersurface is sparsely covered with thick pubescence or glabrate. Leaf blades are coriaceous, hard, and crisp. The herb of a better grade has few stems, foliose (many leaves), is yellowish-green, is intact (complete), and is not broken.

(3).Epimedium wushanense T.S.Ying.


 Epimedium wushanense T.S.Ying.:growing plant Botanical description: The plant, Epimedium wushanense T.S.Ying is commonly known as Wūshān Yín Yánɡ Huò (means Wushan Mountain Epimedium Herb), is a plant of the Berberidaceae family (barberry family) and Epimedium L. genus. A perennial evergreen herb, the plant grows up to 50–80 cm high. The rhizome is tuberculiform (nodular) and hard, the surface is covered with brown scales, surrounded by many fibrous roots. Primary trifoliolate leaves, basal or cauline, have long petioles; 3 lobules (leaflets), lobules are stipitate, leaf blades of lobules are coriaceous, lanceolate to narrowly lanceolate, 9~23 cm long, 1.8~4.5 cm wide, the apex is acuminate or long acuminate, base is cordate, the margin is spiny-serrate, the base of apical lobules has equal circular lobes, the basal lobes of lateral lobules are oblique, interior lobes are small, rounded, exterior lobes are big, triangular, acuminate, the under surface is covered with whooly hairs (tomentose) or glabrescent; long stems have 2 opposite leaves.

 Panicles are apical, 15–30 cm long, occasionally reaching to 50 cm long, have many flowers, the inflorescence axis is glabrous; pedicels are sparsely covered with glandular trichomes or are glabrous; flowers are faint yellow (pale yellow), 3.5 cm in diameter; 4 outer sepals, orbicular (subrotund), 2~5 mm long, 1.5~3 mm wide, inner sepals are broadly elliptic, 3~15 mm long, 1.5~8 mm wide, apex is obtuse; flower petals are in cornu, faint yellow, sometimes base is purplish, 0.6~2 mm long; pistils are 2~4 mm long; carpels are obliquely cylindrical, have long styles, and contain 10~12 ovules (seed buds).

 Follicles are about 1.5 cm long. Its flowering period is from April to May, the fruiting period is in June.

 Ecological Environment: The plant grows at stream sides, cleuch, ditches, and valleys. It is mainly distributed in the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River, the western reaches of the Zhujiang River, the southwest area, and the northwest area of China.

 Epimedium wushanense:herb of prepared leaves Characters of herbs: Primary trifoliolate leaves, the lobules (folioles) are lanceolate to narrowly lanceolate, 9–23 cm long, and 1.8–4.5 cm wide, or 2-4 cm wide, length is about 5 times width; the apex is acuminate or long acuminate, the margin is barbed, the lobes at the base of lateral lobules are oblique, the inner lobes are small and round, the outer lobes are large, triangular and tapering. The undersurface is tomentose (covered with woolly hairs) or glabrous. The herb of a better grade has few stems, foliose (many leaves), is yellowish-green, is intact (complete), and is not broken.

(4).Epimedium pubescens Maxim.


 Epimedium pubescens Maxim.:drawing of plant parts Botanical description: The plant, Epimedium pubescens Maxim is commonly known as Róu Máo Yín Yánɡ Huò (means pubescent Epimedium), or Flocculent Epimedium Herb, is a plant of the Berberidaceae family (barberry family) and Epimedium L. genus. A perennial herb, the plant grows up to 20–60 cm high. The rhizome is podgy (short and thick), tuberculiform (nodular), 3~5 mm in diameter. Stems are slightly ribbed, and glabrous, or the junction with the petiole has fine pilose. Primary trifoliolate leaves, 2 cauline leaves are opposite; lobules are coriaceous, oval (egg-shaped) to lanceolate, 3~20 cm long, and 2~8 cm wide, apex is short acuminate or acuminate, the base is deep or shallow cordate, lobes are often rounded, edges are spiny-toothed, the upper surface is glossy, the under surface is densely covered with gray pilose or curly pilose, especially many along leaf veins and petioles.

 Panicles are apical or axillary, inflorescence axis and pedicels have glandular hairs (glandular trichome); flowers are white, diameter is l cm; pedicels are 1~2 cm long; 4 outer sepals, broad-ovate, 2~3 mm long, purplish, inner sepals are lanceolate, length is 5~7 mm, width is 1.5~3.5 mm, white, have several veins; flower petals are small, shorter than the inner calyx, about 2 mm long, sarciniform (fasciculated); stamens are 4 mm long, anthers are about 2 mm long.

 Follicles are oblong, and the front end has a long rostrum (beak). Its flowering period is from April to May, and the fruiting period is from May to July.

 Ecological Environment: The plant grows on hillsides or mountain slopes, grass in forests, and likes dankish zones. It is mainly distributed in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, northwest, southwest, and northern areas of China.

 Epimedium pubesens Maxim:herb of prepared leaves Characters of herbs: Primary trifoliolate leaves, the undersurface of leaves and petioles are densely covered with white pilose. Leaf blades are thinly coriaceous. The herb of a better grade has few stems, foliose (many leaves), is yellowish-green, is intact (complete), and is not broken.

(5).Epimedium koreanum Nakai.


 Botanical description: The plant, Epimedium koreanum Nakai is commonly known as Dōng Běi Yín Yánɡ Huò (means northeast epimedium), it is a plant of the Berberidaceae family (barberry family) and Epimedium L. genus. A perennial herb, the plant grows up to 20–40 cm high. Rhizomes are amphitropous, long and hard, and have many fibrous roots. Stems are upright, slightly ascending, and ribbed, the base is wrapped with 2~3 circular lodicules (scale leaves). Basal leaves are usually absent, rarely 1~2, nearly the same length as stem; cauline leaves are biternate compound leaves, 1 leaf, grows on top of the stem, has long petiole, has nodes and joints at the junction with stems; 9 lobules (leaflets), petiolule is shorter than primary petiole, leaflet blades are oval (egg-shaped), about 5 cm long in anthesis (flowering period), width is about 3 cm, and turns bigger after florescence, about 10 cm long, width is about 7 cm, the base is deeply cordate, often skewed, the apex is sharp pointed, margin has setiform serrature, the upper surface is glabrous, the under surface is covered with appressed hairs in seedling stage, later hairs gradually fall off.

 Racemes are shorter than leaves, grow with cauline leaves on both sides of the stem tip, are single or divaricate at the base, have long petioles, nodes and joints, are glabrous, the base has 2 bracteoles (bractlets), 4~6 apical flowers; small pedicels are about 1 cm long, flowers are bigger, diameter is about 2 cm; 8 sepals, ovate-lanceolate, length is 3~4 mm, mauve (lilac), 4 sepals are in out whorl, smaller, 4 sepals are in the inner whorl, bigger, 6~9 mm long; 4 flower petals, faint yellow (pale yellow) or yellowish-white, orbicular (suborbicular), 7~8 mm long, apex is pointed; ovary has 1 loculus, style is elongated, stigma is capitate.

 Follicles are fusiform (spindle-shaped), about 6 mm long (with style), have 2 valves cleft, small valves fall off, big valves are persistent, and contain 6–8 seeds inside. Its flowering period is from late April to mid-May, and the fruiting period is in May.

 Ecological Environment: The plant grows in shady forests or bushes, and prefers humus-rich and moist soil. It is distributed in the northeast and other areas of China.

 Characters of herbs: Biternate compound leaves, the lobules (leaflets) are large, 4~10 cm long, and 3.5~7 cm wide, lobules are broad-ovate (broadly ovate), apex is caudate, marginal serrature is fuzz-like. The leaves are thin, membraneous. The herb of a better grade has few stems, foliose (many leaves), is yellowish-green, is intact (complete), and is not broken.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.increase semen secretion and stimulate sensory nerves; ②.increasing androgen; ③.thicken seminal fluid, increase the volume of semen and increase the level of testosterone in plasma; ④.effect on the cardiovascular and endocrine systems; ⑤.antitussive; ⑥.expectorant; ⑦.anti-asthmatic effect; ⑧.anti-hypoxia protection effect; ⑨.lowering blood lipid and blood sugar; ⑩.anti-pathogenic microorganisms (significantly inhibit Staphylococcus albus, Staphylococcus aureus, mild inhibition of Neisseria catarrhalis, Diplococcus lanceolatus, Hemophilus influenza, inhibition of tubercle bacillus in vitro, inhibit poliovirus, Coxsackie virus A9, B4, B5 type and ECHO virus 6, 9 types.), etc.

 Medicinal efficacy: Tonifying kidney yang, invigorate the kidney and to strengthen yang, strengthen muscle tendon and bones, expelling wind-damp. It is indicated for decline and weakness of kidney-Yang, impotentia and could not erect, asynodia and spermatorrhea (impotence and nocturnal emission), deficiency cold and infertility, kidney deficiency and dyspnea cough(dyspnea and cough due to deficiency of the kidney), flaccidity of muscles tendons and bones, contracture and spasm of muscles tendons and bones, dribbling urination, polyuria and uroclepsia (frequent urination and urinary incontinence), hemiplegia (half-paralyzed), weakness and feebleness of waist and knees (weakness and lack of strength in waist and knees), aching softness of waist and knees, rheumatic arthralgia pain, numbness of limbs (numbness of arms and hands, legs and feet), numbness and muscular constricture, etc.

 Administration of Herba Epimedii (Yín Yánɡ Huò): 
 
Reference: Administration Guide of Herba Epimedii (Yín Yánɡ Huò)
TCM Books: ①.Internally: 6~10 grams; ②.Internally:water decoction, 1~3 qian (about 3~9 grams);infusing in wine, prepare an ointment, or prepare to pill, powder. Externally:wash with water decoction; ③.Internally:water decoction, 3~9 grams, big dosage could be up to 15 grams;or infusing in wine, prepare an ointment, or prepare to pill, powder. Externally:proper amount, mouthwash with water decoction.

 

 
  

 

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References:
  • 1.Introduction of Yin Yang Huo:Epimedium Herb, Horny Goat Weed or Herba Epimedii.

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