Cactus Botanics rolls out horny goat weed extract

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Shanghai-based Cactus Botanicals has launched an extract from the Epimedium herb, also known as horny goat weed, for formulators of bone health or ‘male energy’ products.

The herb is most commonly associated with sexual health with numerous species of Epimedium reported to be aphrodisiacs, but an increasing number of studies are reporting that the herb’s flavonoids may exert bone health benefits.

"Epimedium has been utilized to combat erectile dysfunction in traditional Chinese medicine for many years,"​ said Carol Cheow, general manager of Cactus Botanics.

"Modern pharmacology studies and clinical practice have demonstrated that Epimedium and its active compounds possess wide pharmacological actions to promote health."

Supply

According to the company, sufficient raw material has been collected to cover one year’s production, and sufficient inventory exists in its New York warehouse of the Epimedium powder extract icariins 10 percent specification.

The company added that other specifications could be produce at its facility in China according to customers’ specific requirements.

A spokesperson for Cactus Botanicals told NutraIngredients-USA that the company has seven years of experience in the Epimedium market and that is has inventory in both China and U.S. "We deliever goods for U.S clients from New York,"​ added the spokesperson.

In terms of formulation, the spokesperson added that they "have not seen any related news and reports says epimedium can not be used with other ingredients"​.

Science

Results of a 24-month randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial suggested that Epimedium brevicornum maxim ​may also have benefits for bone health, with supplementation resulting in increases in bone mineral density of about 1.5 per cent after two years, while placebo led to weakening of the bones.

The results were published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research ​(July 2007, Volume 22, Pages 1072-1079).

Like soy and red clover, the herb contains isoflavones like daidzein and genistein, as well as a flavonol glycoside called icariin.

A recent study from China (Journal of Cellular Biochemistry​, Feb. 2011, Vol. 112, pp. 916-923) also reported that icariin is more potent than genistein for promoting various markers of bone health.

Both of the studies listed above used Epimedium extracts from other suppliers.

Commenting on the J. Cell Biochem​. study, Cheow said that “future in vivo studies are required to investigate whether icariin is more efficient in improving bone mass and or staving off bone loss”​.

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