|Systematic (IUPAC) name|
|CAS Registry Number|
|Molecular mass||676.662 g/mol|
|(what is this?)|
||This article needs more medical references for verification or relies too heavily on primary sources. (April 2015)|
Icariin is a flavonol glycoside, a type of flavonoid. It is the 8-prenyl derivative of kaempferol 3,7-O-diglucoside. The compound is derived from several species of plants belonging to the genus Epimedium, Berberidaceae, which are commonly known as Horny Goat Weed or Yin Yang Huo. Extracts from these plants are reputed to produce aphrodisiac effects, and are commonly used in Chinese herbal medicine to enhance erectile function, as well as for several other indications.
It is thought that icariin is likely to be the primary active component of Epimedium extracts, as it has been shown to share several mechanisms of action with compounds used in Western medicine to treat impotence and improve sexual function. In particular, icariin has been demonstrated to act as a PDE5 inhibitor and to enhance the production of bioactive nitric oxide, as well as mimicking the effects of testosterone. It also shows antioxidant, antidepressant and neuroprotective effects in animal studies, as well as stimulating osteoblast activity in bone tissue which has been linked to a possible therapeutic role in the treatment of osteoporosis.
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- Yin XX, Chen ZQ, Liu ZJ, Ma QJ, Dang GT (February 2007). "Icariine stimulates proliferation and differentiation of human osteoblasts by increasing production of bone morphogenetic protein 2". Chin. Med. J. 120 (3): 204–10. PMID 17355822.
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- Qin L, Han T, Zhang Q et al. (July 2008). "Antiosteoporotic chemical constituents from Er-Xian Decoction, a traditional Chinese herbal formula". J Ethnopharmacol 118 (2): 271–9. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2008.04.009. PMID 18501540.