Chinese Name: Yin yang huo
Medical Name: Herba Epimedii
Latin Name: Epimedium sagittatum (Siebold. & Zucc.) Maxim., Epimedium brevicornum Maxim., Epimedium sinense, or Epimedium grandiflorum Morr., of the barberry family (Berberidaceae)
Origin: Dried leaf
Taste: Pungent and sweet

Quotes from Chinese historical sources

THE HERBAL CLASSIC OF SHEN NONG: "Useful in the treatment of feminine flaccid paralysis, traumatic injury and pain within the channels. Promotes diuresis, increases physical strength, and strengthens respiration."

RI HUAZI MATERIA MEDICA: "Treats cases of cold-wind with depleted energy, spasms of muscles and bone, and numbness in the arms and legs, and nourishes the loins (kidney) and knee."

Western Research

Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi 2001 May;26(5):293-5
Advances in study on pharmacological effects of epimedium [Article in Chinese]
Ye LC, Chen JM.
PLA 202 Hospital Pharmacy Department, Shenyang 110003, Liaoning, China.
Review of effects of Epimedium on the cardiovascular system, circulatory system, immune system, genital system and bone marrow system. The results provided a rational foundation for the further development and utilization of Epimedium.

Fitoterapia. 2005 Jan;76(1):35-40.
Estrogenic activity of a polyphenolic extract of the leaves of Epimedium brevicornum.
De Naeyer A, Pocock V, Milligan S, De Keukeleire D.
Ghent University, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Laboratory of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, Harelbekestraat 72, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium.
The estrogenic activity of a polyphenolic extract of the leaves of Epimedium brevicornum and five fractions obtained by solid-phase extraction were investigated using estrogen-responsive bioassays, a yeast cell assay and the Ishikawa Var-I assay. The extract was found to exhibit significant estrogenic activity in both assays. Furthermore, bioassay-guided fractionation led to localisation of the estrogenicity in the relatively non-polar fractions of the polyphenolic extract.

Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2004 Dec;24(12):1094-7
Experimental study on effect of epimedium flavonoids in protecting telomere length of senescence cells HU [Article in Chinese]
Hu ZW, Shen ZY, Huang JH.
Institute of Integrative Chinese and Western Medicine, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 200040.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the mechanism of senescence delay of human diploid fibroblast (2BS) and protecting telomere length by epimedium flavonoids (EF). METHODS: The drug sera of EF were used to treat the 2BS. The population doublings of 2BS cells were observed, the mRNA expression of p16 gene were determined by fluorescence real-time quantitative RT-PCR, the telomerase activation of 2BS cells were determined by TRAP-Hyb, the total retinoblastoma (Rb) and phosphorated Rb protein content were detected by ELISA, the telomere length of 2BS cells were determined by telomere restriction fragment (TRF) Southern blot assay. RESULTS: EF could significantly extend the population doublings of 2BS cells, the expression of p16 mRNA was decreased and the content of phosphorated Rb protein were increased by EF. The telomere lengthening of 2BS cells were improved by EF, but the telomerase was not activated. CONCLUSION: In senescence human fibroblasts 2BS cells, p16 gene mRNA expression increased, content of phosphorated Rb protein decreased and the telomere length of 2BS shortened, EF might delay the aging of cells through inhibiting the p16 gene expression, promoting the production of phosphorated Rb protein and to protect the length of telomere, but not activating the telomerase.

Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi 1999 Apr;24(4):249-51
Advances in the study on the treatment of osteoporosis with Epimedium brevicornum and its compound prescription [Article in Chinese]
Gau S, Fu D, Zhang H.